Ruth Streeting for The Daily Mail
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 8 11:06:22 UTC 2009
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The Who star Pete Townsend finally divorcing wife 15 years after split so he can marry girlfriend half his age
By Richard Simpson
Last updated at 8:48 PM on 07th April 2009
Pete Townshend is fighting to save his £40million fortune after his wife of 40 years filed for divorce.
Karen Astley, who has been separated from The Who guitarist for 15 years, has hired Fiona Shackleton, the formidable lawyer who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his split from Heather Mills.
The couple's decree nisi, the first stage of the divorce process, was announced in the High Court yesterday.
Court papers stated Miss Astley found her husband's behaviour 'no longer tolerable'.
The divorce paves the way for Townshend, 63, to marry girlfriend Rachel Fuller, 35.
Townshend first met Miss Astley, the daughter of composer Ted Astley, at Ealing Art School in West London in the early 60s.
They married in 1968, by which stage The Who had made a name for themselves with hits such as My Generation and Substitute.
Miss Astley, now 62, stuck by Townshend through drug and alcohol addiction through the 1980s. The couple separated in September 1994 but remained friends.
In 2003, she supported him after his arrest for viewing child porn on the internet.
The couple have three children together, Emma, 40, Aminta, 37, and Joseph, 19. The size of the settlement will be bolstered by the longevity of the marriage.
Miss Shackleton will have built a case based on Miss Astley being Townshend's guiding hand through the bulk of his money-making career.
The divorce could be finalised within eight weeks.
Townshend lives with Miss Fuller in Richmond, South West London, where they are frequently spotted out together.
The pair also work on music together in their Richmond studio by the Thames.
Townshend's publicist last night said he had been unable to contact him since The Who's recent Australian tour.
Miss Astley's lawyers Payne Hicks Beach refused to comment last night.
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