Inside a rock-chick pad: Jo Berryman tells all to the Times

Looking at the Helmut Lang photograph of an Amazonian nude on one wall, and artwork for the Joy Division album Unknown Pleasures on another, it doesn’t take long to narrow down the home of Joanna Berryman to one belonging to a rock chick. Berryman, 30, bought the Victorian terraced house in Hampstead, London, following her 2007 divorce from the brooding Coldplay bassist, Guy Berryman. The couple married in 2004 at Claridge’s, an event attended by Coldplay, A-Ha’s keyboard player, Mags Furuholmen (who is the godfather of their daughter, Nico, 2½), and Gwyneth Paltrow, who all remain friends. “Gwyneth is lovely,” says Berryman. “Essentially, she’s just a working mum, trying to do her best to juggle her life as rock’n’roll wife, busy actress and mother of two small children. I can relate to that, even though she’s such an A-list celebrity. But she’s not at all starry — she’s really very lovely.” Berryman, who exudes effortlessly sexy cool, is very much a girls’ girl, so it is no coincidence that she has designed her own home to be as female- friendly as possible. Her bedroom will give you divorce envy: only a woman without a man in her life could afford to be so fabulously selfish about her living space. She has an entire floor to herself, with a separate room devoted to her wardrobe, and a free-standing bath in the window, overlooking the street. “It’s not the most practical arrangement, but I love it,” she says. Yet it would be wrong to conclude from this ostentatious femininity that Berryman has rejected her ex. On the contrary, their divorce seems more civilised than most people’s marriages. “We’re not Patsy and Liam,” she says. “We’re very involved with each other’s lives. We go on holiday together a couple of times a year, and I take Nico on tour. I’d say we were happily divorced.” Guy has just bought a house down the road in order to have easy access to their daughter (who was named after the Velvet Underground singer), and has asked her to do it up for him. They’re even looking for a house together to renovate and sell — Berryman has just launched her own interior design and styling company, Matrushka. Can there really be no prospect of a rapprochement? “Oh, no,” she says. “It’s nice to spend time on my own. I’ve been with him for such a long time, I need to chill out and spend some time alone. I think our relationship is far stronger now we’re not together. We just met for breakfast this morning — Guy’s off to Japan, so it’s important for Nico to see him off.” Berryman, who is half-Filipina, was born in Hong Kong and came to London when she was eight. She first met Guy at boarding school in Canterbury; at the time, he wanted to become an architect. “We were mates, we had similar likes and dislikes: music, art, fashion.” They got together in their early twenties, but everything changed when Guy met Chris Martin at University College London. “It was a bit peculiar to start with, being invited to awards ceremonies, and hearing them on the radio,” she says. “One of the seminal moments was going to a Wembley gig and realising there were 30,000 people watching my husband on stage. You’re proud, but there are ownership issues. You do think, ‘Hang on a minute, he’s mine.’ ” Were groupies a problem? “They’re not Rolling Stones fans,” she laughs. “They might possibly throw Fairtrade chocolate knickers on the stage.” When pushed, Berryman is at a loss to say why she and Guy broke up. “What splits anyone up? We were babies when we got together; we needed to separate to find ourselves. We had our time together and it was wonderful, and this is a new phase and it’s equally lovely. “Guy will always be a bit of a loner and muso — he’d rather be on his computer than in a family household. That was never his thing.” For Berryman, by contrast, creating a beautiful, funky and practical living space was top priority. Now, with the launch of her company, she is turning her talents to other people’s homes — probably, she thinks, doing up the pads of rock stars, given her cool aesthetic — though she’s about to start on the home of the shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood. “The recession might be good for business,” she says cheerfully. “People will always want beautiful spaces to live in.”


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