They were both cast in the film farce Caveman — Ringo was the non-speaking lead. By the time the director called ‘Cut!’ they were an item, with Ringo later admitting that within five days of setting eyes on her, he was deeply in love.
‘I want to live every minute with Barbara,’ he said.
They were married at Marylebone Register Office on April 27, 1981. Barbara told reporters: ‘I love the man, and that’s it.’
But the early years of the marriage were professionally and personally disastrous. Ringo’s 1983 album Old Wave didn’t make the charts.
He said: ‘I got involved with a lot of different medications and you can listen to my records go downhill as the amount of medication went up.
‘I’ve got photographs of me playing all over the world but I’ve absolutely no memory of it. I played Washington with the Beach Boys — or so they tell me. But there’s only a photo to prove it.’
He dragged Barbara down into a pit of lethargy. As Ringo observed in 1989: ‘We would sit around for hours and talk about what we were going to do, and of course I’d get so bleeding drunk I couldn’t move.’
Ringo moved on from Brandy Alexanders to wine and was said to be putting away 16 bottles a day, plus pills, at one stage. One friend said at the time: ‘They’ve both been drinking heavily every day for years. Ringo and Barbara also are cocaine users.
‘Ringo was snorting up to a gram of coke a day, and Barbara said she’d been using about half a gram. In addition, Ringo has a history of freebasing (smoking cocaine).’
He added: ‘Ringo said that since they married, virtually all they’ve done is sit in a room and use drugs. They were convinced they were gonna die unless they got help.’
Bach’s two children were grateful for the refuge of boarding school. Daughter Francesca Gregorini has said: ‘It was their drugs heyday. Their troubles made me a better academic. I was always hidden away in a room reading because Mum and Dad were out of it.’ Barbara and Ringo wrote a foreword to former Beatles press officer Derek Taylor’s 1992 book about alcoholism, Getting Sober.
They said: ‘We used to go on long plane journeys, rent huge villas, stock up the bars, hide and get deranged.’
It was only in 1998, after a period of blackouts and violence, that the couple attempted to quit.
Ringo had reached rock bottom. ‘I came to one Friday afternoon and was told by the staff that I’d trashed the house so badly they thought there had been burglars, and I’d trashed Barbara so badly they thought she was dead.’