Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Zack May be David's Physical Child, New £35,000 nursery
Pictured: Elton & David spending $30,000 on Cashmere at a Californian department store on Christmas Eve.
Sir Elton John declared himself ‘overwhelmed with happiness and joy’ last night after becoming a father at 63.
He and his civil partner David Furnish, 48, fulfilled their dreams of having a child when their son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born to a surrogate mother on Christmas Day, weighing 7lb 15oz.
The singer and Mr Furnish, together for 17 years, successfully kept Zachary a secret from the world until three days after his birth.
They had previously been turned down for adoption because of Sir Elton’s age. And the former drug addict recently said it would not be ‘fair’ on a child because of his advancing years and the amount of travelling he did. He is due to begin a gruelling worldwide tour next month.
Thanks to California’s surrogacy-friendly laws, Sir Elton and Mr Furnish are likely to have become Zachary’s lawful parents straight away.
But the birth raises a number of questions. Nothing is known about the surrogate mother, her background, religion or marital status, and whether she has any rights over the child she carried for nine months.
Another unknown is which man is the baby’s true father – if either of them.
There was also speculation last night that the surrogate mother was merely a ‘gestational carrier’, meaning the egg was not her own but from another mystery woman altogether.
The little boy is likely to have A-list stars as his godparents.
Sir Elton is already godfather to David and Victoria Beckham’s oldest boy, Brooklyn, 11, and last night Mrs Beckham said: ‘David and I are absolutely thrilled for Elton and David. They have so much love to give and will be wonderful parents.’
Elizabeth Hurley, 45, is also lined up as a potential godmother. The actress used the singer’s country estate as a bolt-hole after the arrival of her son Damian, now eight, and made Sir Elton the boy’s godfather as a thank-you.
A spokesman for Sir Elton said the proud fathers were still in Los Angeles, where Zachary was born.
In a joint statement, the couple said: ‘We are overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment. Zachary is healthy and doing really well, and we are very proud and happy parents.’
The identity of the surrogate mother is a closely guarded secret. But unlike elsewhere in the world, it is not illegal in California for a multi-millionaire such as Sir Elton to pay a significant sum of money to buy a baby.
If she was paid, a surrogate mother could in theory have become very rich after successfully delivering Zachary. It is likely she would have signed a strict confidentiality agreement never to speak about the deal.
Nor has it been announced which, if either, of the men is the biological father. However last night friends of the couple speculated that Canadian filmmaker Mr Furnish was the true father.
NHS experts recommend sperm donors should be under 40, because evidence suggest genetic abnormalities are more common in older fathers. If they had followed such advice, it is more likely that Mr Furnish’s sperm was used in the conception.
Sir Elton and Mr Furnish have opted for traditional names for their son. Zachary is of Hebrew origin, and means ‘The Lord recalled’, while Jackson is of Old English origin and simply means ‘Son of Jack’.
The name Levon is the title of a track on Sir Elton’s 1971 album Madman Across The Water, which contains the line: ‘He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day.’
Sir Elton, worth an estimated £175million, met Mr Furnish in 1993 at a dinner party.
On December 21, 2005, they ‘married’ in a civil partnership ceremony at Windsor Guildhall.
Zachary is the first child for both men. The couple made their surprise announcement of his arrival to American magazine Us Weekly, adding that out of respect for the surrogate mother’s privacy they would not disclose any further information.
Sir Elton, previously married to a German woman, Renate, had spoken of his desire to become a father.
When his long-term keyboardist, Guy Babylon, died of a heart attack aged 52 in September last year, Sir Elton said: ‘What better opportunity to replace someone I lost than to replace him with someone I can give a future to?’
But he and Mr Furnish then made a failed attempt to adopt a 14-month-old HIV-positive boy called Lev from an orphanage in Ukraine. They were rejected because of Sir Elton’s age and the fact that the country did not recognise gay partnerships.
Later, the singer suggested that having a child could be inappropriate. He said: ‘David always wanted to adopt a child and I always said no because I am 62 and I think because of the travelling I do and the life I have, maybe it wouldn’t be fair for the child.’
Sir Elton is about to begin an arduous 26-date concert tour of the U.S. and Europe, lasting from January to June – raising the question of who will look after Zachary.
He will also continue to host his lavish, star-studded annual Oscars bash with Mr Furnish in Hollywood on February 21.
The upcoming tour will begin in France on January 26 in Lievin, and finish in Ireland on June 11. As well as travelling to European countries such as Switzerland and Germany, the singer also has scheduled performances in the U.S. and Canada.
The new fathers have already spent £35,000 designing and decorating a nursery for their son.
The pair have enlisted the help of their friend shoe designer Patrick Cox to help them put the finishing touches to the ‘palatial’ room at the their Windsor mansion, Woodside.
They are said to have splashed out thousands of pounds furnishing the room with ‘one-off, tailored furniture items’.
A source said: ‘Elton and David began planning the nursery months ago. They wanted it to be ready for when the baby came home. It will be very lavish when it is finished. They like to make big statements.’
It is a clear indication that the couple plan to bring up their child in Britain, even though they will have to wait a few weeks to bring him home.
The friend added: ‘England is where their heart is. There is no way they would move to America full time.’
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