How Elle Macpherson was charmed by anti-vax doctor
Elle Macpherson bought the sob story of her anti-vaccination campaigner boyfriend Andrew Wakefield, a new book about the disgraced British doctor claims.
Author Brian Deer suggests "The Body" was strategically seated next to Wakefield at an anti-vaccination event, with a view she might help his profile.
"He's positioned himself as an aggrieved medical expert who has been treated unfairly, it would be appealing to some people who would say let me protect you, let me come to your aid," Mr Deer told News Corp Australia.
"It's a pack of lies. They were introduced at an anti-vax event that they were both invited to in Orlando (Florida) where they were sat next to each other. It's what anti-vaxxers do, they have put him together with the biggest celebrity they have got at the time and that's how it took off."
Wakefield, who claims he is the victim of a conspiracy that has seen him struck off the medical register, has been telling people to demand "health freedom" in this coronavirus environment.
He was recently videoed at a conference claiming a vaccine would lead to "an extinction event for human kind".
Macpherson has denied that the couple was engaged after a picture emerged of her wearing a ring on her wedding finger.
Mr Deer, a former journalist with The Sunday Times in London, began investigating Wakefield when he interviewed a parent whose child was included in the doctor's controversial 1998 paper that linked MMR to autism.
The paper, based on 12 cases, was debunked and removed by medical journal The Lancet more than a decade after it was published - but not before it has seeded the anti-vaccine conspiracy movement.
Mr Deer warned that views from Wakefield, who was deregistered in 2010, on a COVID-19 vaccination should be ignored.
"People shouldn't be reckless about their enthusiasm for vaccines but they shouldn't be weighing the safety of vaccines with Wakefield's finger on the scale," he said.
"He's not an epidemiologist, he's just a struck off doctor with no relevant qualifications."
Wakefield has compared his legal battles to the plight of the late Nelson Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa.
However, the plush surroundings where Wakefield records his video messages were more comfortable than Mandela's cell in Robben Island, Cape Town, that did not have a bed or plumbing and where the freedom fighter was forced to work in a quarry.
"We have to stand and fight. There are principles and ideals that are worth doing that for, Nelson Mandela said at his trial there are ideals worth dying for," Wakefield said.
"I think this has been said and I don't want to get into dramatic rhetoric but it's better to die a free man than to live as a slave. Our forefathers saw this, the founding fathers of this country (America).
"We have to fight to preserve that freedom because it will be surely stripped from us in a very short space of time."
His wife Carmel, who steadfastly stuck by him when he was dragged through the courts for his fake MMR claims, has now divorced him, with the paperwork finalised in August.
Macpherson, 56, was pictured at the weekend with friend Jim DeCola, who is the Master Luthier at Gibson Guitars in Nashville, Tennessee.
Her left hand is prominently positioned in the photograph, with a large ring on the finger that would usually hold an engagement ring, but she said it was a yoga ring.
Macpherson has been married twice, most recently divorcing billionaire Jeffey Soffer, of Florida.
She reportedly received more than $A100 million in the break up in 2018.
The supermodel was married to Gilles Bensimon between 1986 and 1989.
He posted a picture of her as a younger woman on his Instagram last year saying: #happyeverythingyounglady @ellemacphersonofficial #thisdayeveryday #doyoustillhavethisnotredameTshirt?
Macpherson has two sons - Flynn, 22, and Cy, 17 - from her relationship with French financier Arpad Busson. The couple has remained close and holidayed in the Bahamas together last year.
But her relationship with Wakefield, who is in his 60s, has caused some tension among Macpherson's friends and was linked to a court case in Western Australia over a split in her company WelleCo.
WelleCo founder Andrea Horwood claimed Macpherson and another businessman, former Navitas chief executive Rod Jones, reneged on a deal to allow her to purchase a larger stake in the company - instead selling the promised shares elsewhere.
The case was resolved through mediation in December last year, but the settlement terms are unknown.
Macpherson has increasingly turned to natural therapies in recent years, which has been the basis of her company, which sells a "super elixir" formulated by Australian Simone Laubscher, who has a clinic in London's Harley Street medical strip.
"WelleCo is the result of my personal journey to understand how my bodywork and what works for my body," Macpherson says on WelleCo's website.
"Through trial and error and great advice from specialists around the world, I discovered the body can heal and thrive naturally if given the right nutrients and environment."
Originally published as How Elle Macpherson was charmed by anti-vax doctor