Sue Williams, The Australian Women’s Weekly, June 2003
Elle Macpherson is sitting in her London home chatting to The Australian Women’s Weekly on the phone about the birth of the newest addition to her family when, suddenly, there’s a cry in the background. “Just a moment,” she says, darting off. A few minutes later she’s back with her new, blue-eyed, strawberry blond baby boy, and puts him on the breast again.
“Sorry about this!” laughs Elle. “I’d just fed him but he decided he wanted a bit more. Sometimes you feed him for 15 minutes and he stops and you think that’s it. But then he comes back for a top up …”
Not that Elle’s complaining. She’s been fairly bubbling over with happiness ever since little Aurelius Cy Andrea arrived on time, on February 4, with a name nearly as big as his wriggling 3.2kg frame. And with everyone eager for the first glimpse of the tot, Elle had quite some hesitation in deciding to introduce him to the world.
“I think Australians are keen to see the family together,” explains the woman who also admits she’s been dreaming about returning home to give her kids the kind of sun-kissed outdoor childhood she thrived on. “I’m a very private person and I don’t like sharing the intimacies of my personal life with the press, but I’d rather do it with a photographer and friend that I’ve known for 20 years, than in stolen paparazzi moments.”
As our stunning series of photos taken 10 weeks after Cy’s birth show, mother and baby are doing just fine. Elle, 39, and carrying only an extra 4kg, is glowing with the joy of new motherhood, and looks as fit and healthy as ever she did. And Cy is a beautiful child, born just 10 days before her firstborn son Flynn’s fifth birthday (on
Valentine’s Day), and one week after Arki’s 40th birthday, a baby who adores nothing more than being cuddled by Mum, even as she strides through fashionable Notting Hill on her daily hour-long walk, with him in a baby sling.
The birth went extremely smoothly. After Flynn’s gruelling 24-hour birth, this time Elle chose a water birth at the exclusive Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth – and Cy took only four hours to make his debut. “It was a very easy birth, it was wonderful,” says Elle softly. “The water birth was amazing. It was a dark room with candles and very little distraction. Arki [her partner, French financier Arpad ‘ Arki ‘ Busson, 40] was there, like he was for Flynn. But I won’t go into detail. I haven’t even talked about it with some of my family over the phone, I am waiting to see them to convey the intimate moments. It’s enough to say I gave birth to a beautiful baby in a peaceful environment.”
And Elle recovered quickly, something she puts down to going through the birth with no drugs. “I stayed fit and healthy during the pregnancy, which helped, I think,” she says. “I felt very relaxed and didn’t have any pain killers or epidural for the birth. But I did have my wonderful Indian obstetrician, Dr Gowri Motha, who did reflexology and looked after me. It was a very natural birth, and I think your recovery is very rapid when you have no drugs in your system. When you’re fit, relaxed and happy, that helps, too!”
One of the most excited family members about the birth was, of course, Flynn. The tousle-haired boy was eager for a brother or sister and seemed to understand when Elle and Arki explained mummy had a baby in her tummy. “He’s delighted with Cy,” says Elle, “and so excited to be a big brother. He’s very intelligent and understood the concept of mummy growing a baby in her tummy.”
As for Cy’s name, Elle laughs delightedly at the thought that it’s so unusual, he’s unlikely ever to be lost in a crowd. The Aurelius is after the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (12l-l80 AD), who had the distinction of fighting the most wars in Roman history yet is remembered as a philosopher. Cy, the name by which he will be known, comes from the us painter Cy Twombly, whose work Elle and Arki both adore. “His are such lyrical abstracts,” says Elle. “And Cy is such an easy, romantic name. Aurelius, on the other hand, is very strong. Then we decided to have Andrea, which is in Arki’s name, just like with Flynn we used Arpad.”
The two boys are very different and Elle is surprised by how much motherhood varies the second time around. “It’s so different,” she says. “The first time, the only thing you have to do is to look after the baby and he gets 100 per cent of your attention. With the second, you take everything a little bit more in your stride”
“After Cy, I started appreciating everything more than ever. I look at Flynn and realise how much he’s grown and how much I have to look forward to with Cy. They were very different babies, too. Flynn would sleep at certain hours in certain spots only, and feed at certain times. But Cy is hungry more often and sleeps any time, anywhere. He loves to be snuggled, whereas Flynn was more independent.”
With two children to look after, the supermodel who went on to build a global business empire with her lingerie lines and who is estimated to be worth some $60 million, has settled quickly into a state of renewed domestic bliss. Her mornings are filled with getting both boys dressed, feeding Cy, taking Flynn to school, then going out for a walk with the baby before returning to do some work. Her evenings are everything in reverse, plus helping Flynn with his homework and taking him to soccer practice, before taking turns to have a bath with each child, since Cy’s too young at the moment to share a bath with Flynn.
Happily, her nights tend to be uninterrupted, since a nurse tends Cy if he wakes and feeds him with expressed milk. Still, the former night-clubbing, jetsetting lifestyle, where Elle could take off around the world at a moment’s notice, has become cosy domesticity.
“I don’t miss that at all,” says Elle, breezily. “I love being a mother and looking after my three boys. All the ambition and passion I used to pour into my career, I now pour into my family.” She admits, however, that there’s only one thing missing from her life these days: Australia. With two children, she finds herself more and more dreaming of the sunny, warm and free childhood that she enjoyed back home, and hasn’t ruled out one day returning with her family, permanently. ” Although I love London, I hate the fact that he plays in a park instead of on a beach after school. It would be nice at times to be back in Australia. We can’t do it right now as Arki’s work commitments are in Europe, but he’s very cool about the idea …maybe one day.”
Elle Macpherson’s Intimates range is going very nicely in Europe, too. The acting career and her role on Friends have been put on hold, but her lingerie business is becoming Australia’s leading lingerie brand. “It’s going so well, in fact, we are up 200 per cent in the UK on last season. I am now directing my campaign for next season …I’m not appearing, but I am involved in design, conceptualisation, art direction and product management. It’s a titillating campaign – excuse the pun. The collection is so sexy I can’t wait to fit back into it!”
Before the birth, Elle was walking almost 10km a day, and resumed that regime just four weeks afterwards. She’s adamant, however, that she doesn’t want to lose the extra weight she’s put on too quickly, in case it might affect Cy’s health. “I put on about 17kg with Cy but, like with Flynn, I lost most of that in the first two weeks. I’ve been left carrying 4kg extra, but I’ll keep that until I stop breastfeeding. One shouldn’t lose too much weight while you’re feeding because then the quality of your milk isn’t so good.
“I love running, and I miss it, but you can’t run at this stage, either. The calories you burn when you’re running should be using to produce milk. It’s quite easy to fall into being vain and to see losing weight after a birth as a kind of competition, to see who can lose weight the quickest. Slow weight loss is so much better for you, the baby, and your skin.” Elle isn’t even worried about The Body being photographed slightly bigger than usual. “I don’t care if I’m a little heaver in photos,” she says. “After 22 years in the public eye, it doesn’t make any difference to me.”
As for having more children, Elle is surprisingly frank. “Yes,” she says firmly, “I’d love to. I’d like another boy. But a girl would be great, too. People asked me if I wanted a girl this time, but I’m really happy to have two boys …I’m happy to end up with whatever God gives me.”
One of the real joys of having had a son is watching Flynn and Arki together. Elle loves seeing them go off on excursions on their own. ” Arki’s a fantastic father,” she says. “Men and newborn babies don’t go so well together, but Flynn has reached the age now where daddy is king, so everything is ‘Papa this’ and ‘Papa that’. They’re so close.”
On the much anticipated wedding, however, Elle refuses to be drawn. Arki went down on bended knee early last year to propose and she joyfully accepted, but there are still few signs of marriage preparations. When the subject is brought up, Elle laughs and changes the subject: “I’m celebrating the birth of a baby, so let’s not get our celebrations confused.”
Elle’s mum Fran stayed in London to help her daughter through the birth, and her sister Lizzie, 20, came to see Cy when Elle and Arki took their sons to the Bahamas, six weeks after Cy’s birth. Her father, Peter Gow, is due any day, and sister Mimi, 36, and brother Ben, 33, plan to catch up soon.
While she misses her family dreadfully, life is so full in other ways now. “Children change everything, ” she says, quietly. “Things that were important, are no longer important. The joy of having a family is so much more intense. As I approach 40, I realise what’s important to me.”
The Australian Women’s Weekly, June 2003