Victoria Principal is 36, but her main man is 23-year-old rock star Andy Gibb. They're Hollywood's latest odd couple.
U.S. Magazine April 1981:
By Jayne Reed
At first glance they seem an unlikely pair. He's a sweet-faced,23-year-old rock idol who dropped out of school at 13. She's at least 13 years older than he is - a smoldering sex symbol who plays the seductive Pamela Ewing on "Dallas" and who has quite a past of her own.
But Hollywood never lets us down in the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction department, so its latest, most torrid May-September relationship is in full bloom. Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal are head over heels.
How they met is a story in itself. In preparation for Gibb'sappearance on "The John Davidson Show" last January 6, a researcher unearthed a magazine article in which Gibb confessed that the only reason he watched "Dallas" was to see Victoria Principal.
Coincidentally, January 6 was the night Principal was booked for "The Tonight Show," which was taping next door. Davidson staffers made plans to sneak Principal onto their show to surprise Gibb.
While chatting with him on TV, Davidson mentioned Principal, and Gibb eagerly acknowledged his admiration for her. No sooner were the words out of his mouth than Principal suddenly appeared and proceeded to give Gibb a big kiss on the neck.
He flipped, blushed and managed to stammer a few words. Principal was charmed, and the two hit it off immediately. Soon after, the smitten Gibb composed himself sufficiently to call her and ask for a date. The two have been inseparable ever since.
Their romance became public when they showed up hand in hand at a music awards show in LA. Photographers and reporters had a field day with the unlikely lovers. In early February, Principal and Gibb flew to NY forsome anticipated peace and quiet and time alone for romantic "tet-a-tetes"away from the camera's dread glare.
No such luck. The press sniffed them out at their hideaway in the Waldorf-Astoria and staked out the famous hotel. Gibb and Principal took one look at what awaited them outside and fled in opposite directions. The rest of their NY stay was spent futilely attempting to dodge their persistent pursuers.
Principal was due back in Los Angeles to resume filming "Dallas" and Gibb had to remain in NY to discuss the possibility of taking over for Rex Smith in "The Pirates of Penzance." He was scheduled to stay until after his appearance at the "Grammy Awards," but he apparently missed Principal too badly. He cut short his NY visit and flew back to her in California, returning to the Big Apple in time for the "Grammys."
A friend who had witnessed that first fateful television kiss ran into Gibb during his solo stint in NY and inquired about his new liaison. "It's great!" beamed Gibb. "Things have gone a lot further since the last time I saw you. In fact, I can't wait to fly out to Los Angeles and see her again - she's a lovely girl!"
Now Gibb spends every spare moment at Principal's house in Malibu, and they've been arranging their schedules so that they can travel together when business takes them away from home. But they're still desperatelytrying to maintain some privacy, flatly refusing to talk to the press about their relationship.
Actually, their attachment isn't as improbable as it seems. Principal, divorced in December (1980) from 23-year-old actor Christopher Skinner,has obviously given up her long time attraction for "powerful, self-made men."
Her highly publicized affiliations with Frank Sinatra, the Maharaja of Palitana, Desi Aranaz Jr, ex-football star Lance Rentzel and wheeler-dealer financier Bernie Cornfeld have given her a bad-girl image. (She lived with Cornfeld for two years while attending London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and later accused him of attempting to strangle her.)
"Back then, I spent time with men who had it all because I wanted it all too," she explains. "Now that I have a certain power and independence, I feel at ease. What attracts me in a man is sensitivity and intelligence."
One quoted as saying, "Actresses don't make good wives until they get the career out of their systems," Principal married Chris Skinner when her career was on the upswing with "Dallas". They met when he was hired for a bit part in one episode (an encounter during which, Principal says,"All my genes rose up screaming").
A year into her year-and-a-half-long marriage, she announced that she had found security in the relationship. "I feel like someone who has had the best meal of her life - absolutely satisfied." (A skeptical reporter later remarked that she must have been eating Chinese food.)
For his part, Gibb has a well-known penchant for older women. He has been romantically linkied with Susan George and fellow Australian Olivia Newton-John since his divorce from Kim Reeder, a woman his own age. Reeder left him three years ago after 14 months of marriage and returned, pregnant, to her parents in Australia, where she raises their 3-year-olddaughter,Peta.
"I'm tired of being a teen love object," Gibb insists. "I'm twenty-three going on forty-five." (Principal, who gives her age as "somewhere between Tatum O'Neal and death," can certainly meet him on that level, being no spring "poulet" herself).
"I've had a lot of adventures and I've already traveled to most countries of the world,' Gibb says matter-of-factly. "Sometimes I feel old becauseI 've never mixed with kids my own age. I've always been around older people andbeen accepted as an adult equal. My feelings and my outlook on life are adult experiences."
Gibb was known as the Bee Gees' younger brother before he achieved his own success (two million-selling albums by the time he was 20). Here members returning home from school to find teenage girls surrounding the house, on the lookout for his older brothers, and he's well aware of the pitfalls ofsuccess in show business. Before Principal, he lived quietly near his brothers in Miami Beach and equated the Gibbs' uncomplicated tea-and TV lifestyle with that of "a slightly cool Osmond family."
But now that he's back in the public eye, life isn't so simple,although Gibb realizes that celebrities are often forced to relinquish their privacy.
Recalling the Skinner-Principal marriage, a friend of the couple confided, "Chris is a terribly nice guy who wanted a normal home life, and Victoria, all to himself. But the pressure of becoming successful and staying on top made her a nervous wreck sometimes, and Chris couldn't handle it. Victoria's not a teenager anymore. She knows if she doesn't make it big now she never will. Right now she has no time for babies and keeping house."
Only time will tell whether Gibb, a self-described romantic, is in the market for babies and keeping house at this point in HIS life. He certainly has experienced the pressures of launching a show-business career
While Principal admits, "It sounds tacky to be newly divorced and running around with somebody already," as far as Andy Gibb is concerned, she just might want to be his everything. And he just might take her up on it -on Principal.
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