Andrew Lloyd Webber "dreaded" writing about his affair with Sarah Brightman, which led to a marriage and ultimately a divorce, he writes in his new memoir. But write about it he did, revealing that after first meeting when Brightman auditioned for Cats in the early 1980s and their shared success with The Phantom of the Opera, their relationship was "sealed" during a trip to Italy together, People reports. "Sarah wore a white miniskirt that elicited whistles from windows of houses that I swore were uninhabited. I was somewhat embarrassed, even more so than I had been by the astonishing white fur coat that she had worn on the plane over which La Bohème aficionados might say was more Musetta than Mimi," he recalls. "But I loved talking music with Sarah and yes of course I loved the vicarious looks I got from the waiters in our deserted hotel and of course I loved the sex."
He says he ultimately realized he had just one option: "In truth it wasn’t so much a proposal as a 'we’re in love, we’re both married, what the f--- do we do about it?' We decided that Sarah would meet my mother, I would meet her parents and if we survived that test I would break the news to my first Sarah [his first wife]." They told both sets of parents the news and Lloyd Webber divorced his first wife, with whom he has two children, though he writes that she first suggested she would turn "a blind eye" and allow him to "lead a double life to keep the marriage intact." He and Brightman—13 years his junior—married in 1984. Lloyd Webber says Brightman was "great with the kids," who were 5 and 3 at the time, but "it was a horrible year" when he moved out and started seeing them just every third weekend. The marriage wasn't to last; they had divorced by 1990. Unmasked was released Tuesday.