Battling Beans: Will Sean Bean's latest bride last any longer than the rest?
By ALISON BOSHOFF
12th December 2007
Sean Bean's mum, Rita, is overjoyed.
She is preparing to attend her son's wedding to his girlfriend, Georgina
Sutcliffe, later this month in London.
The fact that this will be the fourth time that Rita Bean has found herself a
wedding hat for her son's big day seems not to have dimmed her enthusiasm.
"Sean is very happy and we are absolutely delighted," she says.
"We have met Georgina, and she is a lovely girl."
It is expected that Bean's three daughters - Lorna, 20, Molly, 17 and Evie,
nine - will all attend the nuptials.
Molly and Lorna, from his second marriage to actress Melanie Hill, will thus
be in the unusual position of having attended two of their father's weddings:
they were bridesmaids when he embarked on his third marriage to actress
Abigail Cruttenden in November 1997.
From this day fourth: Sharpe star Sean Bean and Georgina Sutcliffe
Almost exactly ten years on, 48-year-old Bean is preparing to say "I do" once again -
seemingly undeterred by a marital history which might be described as chequered.
But why, one wonders, is he quite so the marrying kind?
And what does it say about Bean, who is one of the most successful movie
actors this country has produced, that none of the unions has so far worked out?
Bean is certainly a rather complex figure.
He has a taste for the finer things in life - he's usually clad in exclusive Italian
designer Zegna suits, with a splash of Gucci aftershave - not forgetting his
Omega Seamaster watch, which retails at over £1,000.
His Edwardian town house in Belsize Park, North London, is stunningly
beautiful, and protected by some serious Hollywood-style security.
But, seemingly, the housewife's favourite actor has never lost touch with his
workingclass Sheffield roots.
Bean trained as a welder, grew up in a house on an estate with an outdoor
toilet - where his parents still live - and left school with only two O-levels.
He is a dedicated Sheffield United fan, and returns home often to watch them
play, and go out with a group of friends he has known since childhood.
Indeed, Bean was at United's homeground in Bramall Lane on Tuesday night
last week when they lost 3-0 to Stoke City.
Those who know him well talk about Bean as a charming but rather old-fashioned
chauvinist; a man who certainly loves women - and Bean has quite a reputation
as a ladies' man - but regards them as a delightfully alien species.
"Thank God men and women are so different," he says in an interview.
"That's the excitement. That's what makes them so irresistible."
Once Bean succumbed to marrying "irresistible" women, it seemed he couldn't stop.
His first wife, Debra, was a hairdresser in Sheffield and they were married when
he was only 19 because it was the "done thing".
It was over quickly: he moved to London to study at RADA, and he fell in love
with fellow student Melanie Hill.
Hill, best remembered as Aveline from TV sitcom Bread, was his wife for 16
years and the more famous half of the couple for much of their time together.
That began to change when Bean was cast as Mellors in a TV adaptation of
Lady Chatterley's Lover.
Suddenly he was a sex symbol.
"I don't have any problems with women seeing me as their ideal bit of rough,"
"Why would I?"
Bean had a reputation for getting too close to his leading ladies, and allegedly
had a fling with a 21-yearold barmaid from their local pub, which wounded Melanie
After they divorced she complained that Bean was the kind of man who left
his clothes where they fell, that he was obsessed with football (he insisted
on watching Sheffield Utd play York on their honeymoon), he constantly was
out drinking with male pals and he was unfaithful more than once.
Soon after they split, it was confirmed that he was dating Abigail Cruttenden,
who played his wife in the TV series Sharpe.
Abigail fell pregnant directly after their wedding, but the marriage seems
to have been a disaster from the beginning.
They split up when Evie was only a few months old.
Abigail has, to this day, never spoken about the marriage.
But new lover Georgina Sutcliffe - who is 19 years Bean's junior - remains
undeterred by his marital history.
The couple met in a bar in Soho where she was working to make ends meet -
for although she is a RADA graduate too, she has yet to make her name as
an actress. Sutcliffe is, however, extremely pretty and blonde, and caught
Bean's attention with ease. The chemistry was instant.
From the day they met, Georgina has understood that Bean is, at heart, a
She is said to be looking forward to playing more of a part in the children's lives
when she becomes the fourth Mrs Bean, and everyone expects that they will
have children of their own.
Friends of the actor - who has starred in Goldeneye and the Lord Of The Rings
movies - say that they are "made for each other".
Sutcliffe, apparently, gives him a lot of space - particularly when he is working,
as he can be very "intense" when getting into character.
"I think she understands him very well," said an associate this week.
When Bean is not working, he and Sutcliffe certainly lead a life of quiet domestic
They frequent local restaurants and like nothing as much as a takeaway curry.
Far from turning up on the red carpet for glitzy showbiz parties, Bean is more
likely to be found in his local Oddbins.
He and Sutcliffe are seen in there often, mostly stocking up on Guinness.
So it is perhaps an understatement to say Bean and Georgina are not stalwarts of the
Indeed, as a rule, Bean does not attend glitzy film premieres or theatre first
nights other than his own.
And to his credit he is very committed to spending time with his three daughters,
and then there's his passion for Sheffield Utd.
So far, so ever-so-slightly dull. But this blissful domesticity belies the sometimes
extreme nature of their relationship, which is deeply full of passion, with Sutcliffe
even buying a rubber fetish dress to wear out on dates with Bean.
And last year they were both tattooed with the other's names as a mark of
the seriousness of the romance.
This passion, however, seems to have the tendency to occasionally boil over.
Over the summer Bean and Sutcliffe broke their selfimposed isolation by
attending the Cartier Polo event.
One fellow guest said it was obvious they had a rather volatile romantic
She said: "Sean came up to me in the VIP section and we started talking. He
was extremely flirtatious and it was kind of obvious that he had been drinking.
"Then his girlfriend came up, who is very pretty, and she said that there were
some people she wanted him to meet, but he didn't want to go and he told her so.
"They started cursing at each other, she far more than him. From what I remember,
she called him a c*** more than once. It was pretty extraordinary. In the end
she went off without him."
Sources close to the actor indicate that the "odd argument" is "part of the
spice of their relationship."
It seems, though, that this spice can be strong at times.
In July last year, while Bean was in America making a film, The Hitcher,
security staff were called after hearing screaming and crashing coming
from the couple's suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.
Georgina had suffered some rather nasty bruises to her face and body, and
also had several scratches on her legs. Bean was not unscathed, with
scratches to his face and arms, which were bleeding.
The hotel's incident log said: "Ms Sutcliffe had numerous bruises on her
upper body, face and scratches in her legs.
"Ms Sutcliffe said she did not want to press charges."
Security manager of the Four Seasons, Ron Murphy, questioned Bean.
Murphy noticed he "had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath".
By means of explanation, Bean claimed he had been attacked by her
during an argument, saying she had started breaking things in the hotel room.
When he asked her to leave, she attacked him.
Despite all this, Bean has managed to pull off the outstanding feat of being on
"pretty good" terms - by his reckoning - with his former wives. Debra is still
close to his mum Rita, and pops over for a cup of tea.
And Melanie Hill, who perhaps has the most to forgive, says what a great dad
he has been, and how much she continues to care about him.
In an interview she said: "He has had a lot of partners but all I care about is
that he is happy.
"Unfortunately, he's away a lot and I think he misses his family and friends.
He is doing very well, professionally, but I'm sure it's tough going for him personally.
"God love him, he deserves every bit of success he gets. He is a very good and
very special person."
Bean seems to be untroubled by his marital failures.
He told an interviewer who asked why he had not been able to stay married
to the same partner: "I don't think you ever really understand women.
You never really know how things are going to turn out, you have to live day by day.
"I just like the fact that I'm fortunate to be in a situation where my life changes
quite a lot.
"Sometimes they might not be great changes, sometimes they are, but at
least it's never unexciting. There's always something happening."
That's been the problem.
But until now, for Sean Bean, something has usually only meant one thing: a new woman.
Return to the Main Features Page
Return to The Compleat Sean Bean