Lisa Voice interview
by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2008-10-09
It's fair to say that record producer Lisa Voice has had a pretty colourful life. The 54-year-old music publisher - daughter of property magnate Cecil Rosen - first gained notoriety as the long-time girlfriend of the late rocker Billy Fury. The pair were together until he died in 1983, but the decades following his death were turbulent ones for Voice.
Having first escaped an abusive marriage to record producer Steve Voice, she then found herself in the public eye for all the wrong reasons after being ferociously attacked by her daughter's then boyfriend Peter Thomas. Voice was so badly injured that she had to have 11 operations to reconstruct her face - but meeting her now, in her plush St John's Wood home, you'd never guess that she had undergone such gruelling surgery. She's also surprisingly perky, despite having been out partying at the Brit Awards until the small hours.
"It was my friends that got me through that difficult time in my life," she admits, "and also my children, who are my motivation." Voice admits that she only stayed in her marriage to Steve Voice as long as she did for the sake of her son Michael and daughter Kimberley. "The best investment I ever made was the £7m I paid him to end our marriage in 2000," she says. "I was the breadwinner, he didn't have money of his own." Steve Voice died of a heart attack in 2000 but Lisa remains convinced that their paths may still cross at some point.
"When he was alive he tried to shoot me several times, and I've been told that even from beyond the grave he still wants to kill me," she admits, "I've spoken to several psychics who have told me I'm surrounded by a dark aura."
Unsurprisingly, Voice is drawing upon her own experiences to help others, and is currently in the process of publicising a support network for women who have suffered from domestic violence. "I'm working with the charity, National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV), to break the silence surrounding the awful and unnecessary violence women suffer. I'm keen to offer any help I can to others who are suffering the same hell as I experienced."
Fortunately, things are much better for Voice these days, with millions in the bank, a host of showbiz friends (Sharon Osbourne and Stephanie Beacham are among her famous buddies) and her work both in the music industry and helping victims of domestic violence. She still owns the rights to Billy Fury's back catalogue - and has recently seen him return to the top ten of the album charts with the greatest hits album His Wondrous Story.
"His popularity has really endured even so long after his death, and people of all ages are buying his records, which is fantastic," she points out. The pair were together for 12 years, but despite their long relationship, marriage was never an option. "It was something we didn't consider," she confesses, "since Billy knew he was quite ill throughout our relationship and he probably wouldn't live to old age."
Aside from her work in music, Voice has also made her millions from property deals, and is involved in a number of charitable causes, including Jewish Blind and Disabled, an organisation which builds properties for the visually impaired and those with disabilities. The charity has constructed several blocks across London including one named Cecil Rosen Court after her father.
Away from her business interests, she is happily settled in her St John's Wood home. "I love living here," she says. "I have great neighbours, such as Paul across the road for instance." (referring in fact to a certain Paul McCartney). The house has recently been restored to its former glory, following a devastating blaze which she miraculously escaped.
"It was an electrical fire in my bedroom - caused by the plasma screen TV - and it was very frightening," she recalls. "I woke up at 3am and fancied some toast, and when I came back the whole room was in flames." Most of us would find ourselves renting temporary accommodation or sleeping on someone's sofa if this happened to us, but not Voice, who took up temporary residence at the Dorchester hotel while renovations were being carried out on her home.
But despite the property providing the backdrop to some of the more turbulent times of her life, she is staying put." It's my home and my children's home. It's the house I found when I was with Billy, where we settled together and where he died. The terrible memories of that night have been outweighed by thoughts of all the good times I have enjoyed here, the parties and the friends who call by."