ONE is an eight-time Grammy winner worth £230million after selling out stadiums around the world – the other a struggling guitarist 38 years his junior, who plays classic rock covers in bars.
Now legendary drummer Phil Collins, 69, and part-time strummer Thomas Bates, 31, are on opposite sides of an extraordinary spat over one very un-Easy Lover.
Orianne Cevey, 46, is facing an eviction lawsuit from Collins – her ex-husband – who is trying to force her out of his £25million mansion in Miami, Florida.
He claims that Cevey – whom he had reconciled with in 2016 – wed Bates behind his back in Las Vegas earlier this year, in a bizarre ceremony featuring Elvis Presley.
In response, his jewellery designer ex-wife is said to have threatened to release “false and embarrassing” claims against Collins, if he does not renegotiate their mammoth divorce.
One source told The Sun last night: “Both sides seem equally determined not to give in to the other. The fairytale reconciliation between them is well and truly over.”
Record divorce payout of £25m
Cevey was just 21 years old when she met Genesis rocker Collins while working as his translator during his tour of Switzerland in 1994.
He was 44 and in the process of divorcing his second wife, American Jill Tavelman – the mother of their child, actress Lily Collins, whom he infamously dumped over fax.
The pair wed in 1999 before going on to have sons Nicholas, now 19, and Matthew, 15.
But the relationship ended in 2006 and they divorced in 2008.
Collins later admitted he was “a bit of a bastard” to his third wife when she fell into postnatal depression after the birth of Matthew.
He paid out an eye-watering £25million in their divorce – then a British record settlement.
Cevey then swiftly remarried to businessman Charles Mejjati and the couple bought a £7million home in Miami.
But in 2015 the marriage began to fall apart, with Mejjati complaining in court papers that his wife had ditched him for the chance of reuniting with Collins.
Reconciliation after eight year split
The Genesis star had already bought a huge seven-bed mansion in Miami Beach that year so he could be closer to his two young sons.
Their reconciliation was aided when Collins supported his ex following surgery on a slipped disk in her neck – which left her partially paralysed due to complications.
They then began living back at his pricey pad together as a family.
Cevey said at the time: “Our separation was the wrong decision. I now call Phil my husband again.
“We are so close that it does not actually make a difference if we are married or not, but we are determined to get married for a second time one day.
“We were always very close, because of the children…just last year, I realised that he is indeed the man of my life.”
Collins added: “We went back because we realised we had made a mistake. A lot of people don't have that chance, or don't give themselves that chance.
“Our young sons Matthew and Nicholas are like a dog with two tails. They're just so happy. They've got their mum and dad back together, so it's a good place to be at the moment.”
Shock wedding on Vegas 'business trip'
The couple seemed to still be on track this year, supporting their charity the Little Dreams Foundation – with Cevey calling herself Orianne Collins.
Hitmaker Collins was said to be “fully devoted” to her, despite some of his friends being skeptical of her motives.
But now, suddenly, the pair are said to be over for good after their romance fizzled out during the coronavirus lockdown.
On Saturday, sources close to Collins accused her of getting married to Thomas Bates in Las Vegas in the summer – after telling him she was going there on business.
A marriage certificate obtained by The Sun shows that she did indeed wed the 31-year-old – who is 38 years younger than Collins – in the Graceland Wedding Chapel on August 2.
The chapel is the same one where popstar Lily Allen got hitched to American actor David Harbour last month.
Reverend Brendan Paul Duffy, who officiated the 15-minute evening ceremony between Cevey and Bates, told The Sun that the couple showed up with their dogs.
The groom is said to have looked sharp in a Tom Ford suit at the venue, which offers ‘Viva Las Vegas’ packages that include an ‘Elvis’ escorting the bride down the aisle.
Rev Duffy said: “She told us that she was a jewellery designer. She didn't say she had been married to Phil Collins that’s for sure!
“I always thought he was a good drummer. I wasn't a big fan of Genesis, but he seems like a nice guy.”
Toyboy lover played rock classics in bars
Pals of Bates, who lives in Delray Beach, Florida, were stunned by the news he had wed the ex-wife of a world-famous rockstar.
They revealed that Cevey’s toyboy husband was a struggling musician who went out to Los Angeles to seek success – but returned to Florida when the Covid 19 pandemic hit in March.
Prior to that, the talented strummer was in a band called Two Kings with pal Max Accetta, playing cover versions of classic rock numbers around Florida.
Bandmate Max, 31, said: “We have only spoken a couple of times since he got back from LA. I heard he had a girlfriend, but no idea he had married Orianne. Like, wow!
“I’m kind of blown away by that news. Definitely a shock to think Thomas has wed the ex-wife of a rock star. But good for him.
“He’s a very laid-back dude, super guy. Good musician too. He sings and plays guitar. I heard he was not performing at the moment though, and was hoping to do some recording instead.
“We had the band for a couple of years and used to play bars and smaller clubs around Fort Lauderdale, but ended about four years ago. It was fairly small stuff, but a blast.
“Thomas going to LA was a change of scenery for him, and obviously he was ambitious and wanted to see what the move could do for him.
“He has long-term girlfriends in the past, but this is completely out of the blue to me. I would have no idea how he met Orianne. It’s intriguing.”
Videos on YouTube show Bates playing guitar and singing along to Rolling Stones hit Miss You at a local gig – a far cry from Collins’ sell-out stadium shows.
I heard he had a girlfriend, but no idea he had married Orianne. Like, wow!
In another clip, on Facebook, they belt out hits at an Italian restaurant, encouraging punters to join them for ‘meatballs and martinis’.
Max, who is now in a five-piece rock band called Tasty Vibrations, said the drummer’s monster hits were not the kind of music they played.
He added: “When we had Two Kings, we loved playing all the classic stuff. But I don’t recall us playing any Phil Collins. It wasn’t really our thing.”
Bates has an apartment in a smart, modern block in the seaside resort of Delray Beach, where one-bedroom homes rent for up to £2,755 and two-bedroom flats are up to £3,700.
No one responded when The Sun called round and messages to Bates went unanswered.
The £465,000 family home belonging to his parents Douglas, 75, and Sherry, 63, is in a quiet street in a neighborhood of similar houses.
A man who answered the door of the property declined to comment.
Six days to leave Miami mansion
Both residences are a world away from Collins’ ten-bathroom mansion facing open water in Miami Beach.
The star’s next door neighbour is Bee Gees legend Sir Barry Gibb, who owns a £19million pile with eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
Over the weekend, various cars including a Range Rover and a Chevrolet Suburban SUV are among those coming and going into the Collins’ mansion.
It is now the focus of the bitter break-up between him and Cevey – after he set her a deadline of 3pm Friday afternoon to leave the pad.
She is said to have changed the locks and threatened to release “false and embarrassing” accusations about him, unless he renegotiates their divorce.
Collins is now set to file an eviction lawsuit against her in court – dragging their ugly fight squarely into the public domain.
His side is said to be preparing to claim that she squandered her fortune through a series of bad investments, along with her second expensive divorce.
Collins’ representatives did not respond to requests for comment last night.
But Cevey seems prepared for battle.
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