Sir Elton John’s new baby son Zachary is ‘living like royalty’ in his own £1.3million apartment adjoining the singer’s exclusive Los Angeles pad.
The Mail on Sunday has learned that Sir Elton, 63, and his partner David Furnish have appointed a top Hollywood interior designer to turn the flat beside their luxury home into a dream nursery.
Although the work is not yet finished, several months after it started, eight-day-old Zachary is already installed there, and looked after by round-the-clock nannies.
A New York television star who is a long-time friend of the couple said: ‘Elton and David have wanted this baby for a long time. They bought their first apartment in 2007 and then the following year they bought the smaller one next door.
‘Everyone originally thought they bought the smaller apartment because they wanted extra space, but then I found out they were trying to have a baby.
'They haven’t said whether they have knocked the wall down between the two apartments but I must say at Elton’s age, I wouldn’t blame him if there is no adjoining door. Will he really want to be woken up at night by a screaming baby?
‘From what I understand the baby and his nannies are living in one apartment and Elton and David are living in another.’
The couple have hired ‘interior designer to the stars’ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard to decorate the baby’s apartment. Lawrence-Bullard, who also masterminded Sir Elton’s flat, was overheard telling a friend: ‘I am still decorating it. It is not quite finished yet.’
A source at the building, the 32-storey Sierra Towers, said last night: ‘It seems a slightly odd arrangement when you have waited so long to have a child. It certainly gives a new answer to the question: what do you give the baby
who has everything? His own flat, of course.
‘Everyone in the building has been talking of nothing else but the baby all week.
‘Apparently he is seriously cute with wispy blond hair. He is in his own apartment with a Filipino lady and an African-American nurse, who are with him 24/7.’
Sir Elton’s spokesman Gary Farrow yesterday said of the baby’s sleeping arrangement: ‘It’s private. No comment.’
Sir Elton bought his original two-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment in Sierra Towers in 2007 for £1.6million, according to public records. It is registered in the name of 48-year-old Furnish.
The building, on the edge of Beverly Hills, is no stranger to celebrities, with past and present residents including Cher, Lindsay Lohan, Sidney Poitier and Joan Collins.
The work Lawrence-Bullard did to Sir Elton’s flat was distinctive enough to warrant a glossy spread in Architectural Digest a year ago. The magazine showed off artwork, including a piece by Tracey Emin, and a chandelier in the kitchen that used to hang in the lobby of Milan’s Grand Hotel.
The smaller two-bedroom apartment was bought in September 2008 for £1.3million and is also registered in Furnish’s name.
Lawrence-Bullard, a close friend of the couple, was given an ‘unlimited budget’ to decorate it.
The source said: ‘Apparently Elton said that money was no object. The baby’s flat is decorated in blues and muted greens. Zachary is going to be living like royalty. Martyn started decorating a few months ago and was clearly in on the big secret.’
Today, The Mail on Sunday can reveal exactly how Sir Elton and Furnish meticulously planned baby Zachary, who was born to a surrogate mother on Christmas Day.
In an exclusive interview, Joanne Bubrick, of the Center for Surrogate Parenting in Encino, California, told how the couple, who tied the knot in a civil partnership in 2005, picked an egg donor to match their specifications.
She confirmed the centre has been dealing with Sir Elton ‘for over a year’ and added: ‘Future parents can look for a donor with specific qualities that are important to them.
‘Everything is computerised these days so you can put in what you want – blue eyes, ethnicity, whether you want an egg from someone who enjoys playing the piano or is sporty and then you hit the button and a list of donors comes up.
‘Typically donors are young women in their 20s, who are often educated university students looking to make some extra money. You can be very specific depending on your wishes. If you want a musical baby with blue eyes whose mother went to Harvard you can probably find an egg donor to match.’
Ms Bubrick said her company, whose clients have included Kelsey Grammer and Angela Bassett, had ‘50 to 100 surrogate mothers on tap’.
She said: ‘When a couple like Elton and David come to us we already have a wide selection of surrogates pre-screened and available.
‘If we are matching to a celebrity couple, the surrogate gets extra psychological counselling to ensure she is prepared to see her baby in the newspapers in the coming years.’
She said Sir Elton and Furnish would have met the surrogate ‘several times’ before pregnancy. ‘There is a bonding period and trips to the psychologist to make sure that both parties are happy,’ she said.
‘Prospective parents undergo an initial evaluation of four to six hours with a psychologist, as does the surrogate. Then the contract is signed and the surrogacy moves ahead.’
Lawyer Andy Vorzimer, who handled the paperwork for Sir Elton, said the couple chose to have their baby in California because it is the only place in the world where a couple taking a surrogate baby can be considered its legal parents before it is born.
He said: ‘Once a judge signs a judgment, the baby is the legal child of the intended parents even though it is still in the womb of the surrogate. In the case of a celebrity being involved, all paperwork is sealed by the judge to protect the identity of both the child and the surrogate.’
A source close to the couple said: ‘Contrary to what has been written, they don’t know whether Elton or David is the dad. They also have other embryos available should they wish to have another child.’
Ms Bubrick confirmed: ‘It is quite common in the case of gay couples that both men will both contribute so neither knows who is the father. Of course, as the child grows, sometimes it becomes obvious.’
Neither the surrogacy agency or the lawyers would confirm how much baby Zachary cost Sir Elton although the figure has been placed as high as $1 million (£640,000).
A source said: ‘Between surrogacy fees, legal fees, medical and other costs, a million bucks isn’t too far off. The surrogate will have been paid handsomely to never go public.’
However, Ms Bubrick said the mother did not want to be identified in any case. ‘At first, the surrogate didn’t know she had been paired up with Elton,’ she said.
‘We presented her with the anonymous profiles of three couples, and told her that among them were some high-profile public figures who might attract media attention. We wanted to make sure she was comfortable with that.
‘She selected Elton and David based on their anonymous profile, and only later was she told who they were. She was asked if she wanted to be identified, but decided against that. She is a very sensible lady.’
Ms Bubrick added that parents are encouraged to keep in touch with the surrogate mother.
‘Normal practice is to ask the parents to send pictures and letters of the baby at three, six, 12 and 24 months,’ she said.
‘But often the surrogates form a lasting friendship with the parents and it is quite normal for parents to use the same surrogate for subsequent additions to their families. Often surrogates will be invited to go on vacations and spend Christmas and other special times with the parents and the child.’
Jubilant Sir Elton rang in the New Year on Friday night at the five-star Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel at the end of Rodeo Drive, a ten-minute drive from Sierra Towers.
He and Furnish joined their decorator Lawrence-Bullard and his partner, photographer David LaChapelle and magazine editor Ingrid Sischy at Wolfgang Puck’s acclaimed Cut steakhouse at the hotel.
The group donned fake black plastic top hats and blew cheap trumpets to welcome in the New Year.
As Furnish left he said: ‘The baby is beautiful. He’s back at the apartment sleeping. We’re just so excited.’
- Daily Mail