Mother of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd's first son breaks her silence
EXCLUSIVE: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd and Jasmine Bentami fell in love, moved to Australia and had a baby boy before the rock star’s cocaine addiction destroyed everything… 39 years later, she has one heartbreaking message for him
- Jasmine Bentami met Phil Rudd, the drummer of famed rock band AC/DC, at a party in Paris in June 1981
- The pair had a whirlwind romance as the band recorded in Europe, and returned home to Melbourne with him
- But the volatile musician was gripped by a cocaine addiction that soon spiralled out of control
- Ms Bentami fled back to France with their baby son Tommy when she was too scared of his drug dealers
- She struggled as a single mother and, penniless and in poor health, is asking Rudd for help
Gazing out the window of her cramped public housing flat with a sorrowful stare, Jasmine Bentami’s eyes mourn what might have been.
Scrawled on a blackboard balanced under the microwave in her cluttered kitchen is ‘life is too short to be miserable’, yet miserable she is.
Her apartment in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands is a far cry from two years of glamour, parties, and cocaine-induced strife as the girlfriend of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd.
Life was thrilling and exciting – until it all went horribly wrong and the French woman fled Australia, penniless with just a suitcase and their eight-month-old baby Tommy in her arms, fearing for their lives as Rudd’s drug addiction spiralled out of control.
The legendary rocker was sleeping with a gun under his pillow and talking to people who weren’t really there, while their home in Melbourne was ‘under siege’ by dangerous drug dealers who were linked to bikies.
Now 39 years later as Rudd, 68, cruises in one of his 11 sports cars to his mansion half a world away, Ms Bentami, 66, strains her arthritis-ridden joints as she pushes a rickety bicycle to her run-down building.
Gazing out the window of her depressing 35sqm public housing flat in Amsterdam with a sorrowful stare, Jasmine Bentami’s eyes mourn what might have been. In 1981-83 she was the girlfriend of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd
Now 38 years later as Rudd, 68, cruises one of his at least 11 sports cars to his mansion half a world away, Ms Bentami, 66, strains her arthritis-ridden joints to trundle a rickety bicycle to her run-down building
Her ‘suffocating’ apartment has a bathroom ‘so small you can barely get to the shower’ while the living areas are cluttered with drawings by her grandchildren and what relics of bygone eras she has left.
‘I’m just trying to survive. I don’t have much interest in myself anymore, I just want to see my grandchildren grow up as much as I can,’ Ms Bentami told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But with the condition and poverty I’m in, I don’t know if that will be very long.
‘I don’t want my grandchildren to think I am poor but I’m ashamed of how I live now, I’m trying very hard to keep any kind of dignity.’
When Rudd made a triumphant return to AC/DC in late 2020 after six years of battling drug charges, Ms Bentami wrote him a desperate email begging for help.
‘A small place under our grandchildren’s names, where I could live until I am gone, would get me out of poverty while assuring the little ones a good future,’ the letter shared with Daily Mail Australia reads.
She is still waiting for a reply.
Rudd declined to comment and, after being contacted three times, explained to Daily Mail Australia that he was writing a memoir that would ‘go all the way back’ and didn’t want to spoil it.
‘You can read it in the book!’ he said.
The young couple met in Paris in the summer of 1981 and stayed together through two years of glamour, parties, and cocaine-induced strife
Ms Bentami in 1983 with their baby son Tommy, who was Rudd’s first of six children, at their home in Melbourne
Welcome to the AC/DC WAGs club
The ill-fated love story began on a warm summer night in June 1981 when Ms Bentami was dragged to a party at Rudd’s apartment in Paris by her cousin, who worked for famed music promoter Albert Koski.
She had resisted meeting the mysterious but ‘very nice Australian musician’ several times, but she was convinced to come along with a group of friends – a decision that changed her life.
‘To my greatest surprise he opened the door and welcomed me with open arms, a hug, and a lovely smile. I was immediately touched by his genuineness and spontaneity,’ she said of the 5ft, 6in rock star with ‘piercing blue eyes and a mischievous smirk’.
‘I found him touching and thoughtful and kind, and after an hour of conversation we forgot about everyone else and I decided to stay when they all left. From that moment we were never apart.’
Rudd as he was when Ms Bentami met him in their 20s. Their romance started at a party at his apartment in Paris
Phil Rudd, Bon Scott, Angus Young, Mark Evans, and Malcolm Young during their early success with AC/DC
The young couple fell madly in love and even Ms Bentami’s mother adored him. They soon moved into a four-bedroom apartment in Paris while the band recorded its eighth album, For Those About to Rock.
Rudd and Ms Bentami had the biggest home of the five musicians and often hosted the band and its entourage after recording sessions where they would play cards, drink, and smoke.
Ms Bentami formed a kind of AC/DC WAGs group with the wives of fellow members – guitarist brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams, and singer Brian Johnson – who would ‘look after the guys’.
‘It was just like a big family. Wives, girlfriends, relatives, kids all together… we used to cook a lot, go shopping together, have lunches – nothing fancy or glamorous,’ she recalled.
‘Never did it feel like I was living with famous people.’
She showed the band members and their families around Paris, and even went shopping with Johnson’s mother when she visited.
Ms Bentami and Rudd at a social event in Melbourne during their time together. The band often drank and socialised together with their crew during recording
Ms Bentami recalls these months in Paris on either side of the band’s US tour as the best days of their two years together. Happy, carefree, hopeful for the future, and surrounded by love and camaraderie.
It didn’t last.
After the tour was complete in February 1982, Rudd asked her to move back to his hometown of Melbourne with him because he ‘couldn’t imagine leaving her behind’.
So the young lovestruck woman quit her job as a modelling agency booker, abandoned her law and French literature degree, left behind her family and friends, and hopped on a plane to Australia.
She had no idea of the joy, heartache, dread, and terror that awaited her – all at once.
Rudd was well-versed in holding a baby six years before Tommy was born, in this backstage photo from 1976
Rock ‘n’ roll damnation
Rudd wasn’t quite prepared for the fame and fortune that came with being part of the biggest band in the world, or the profound impact it would have on him.
Born to German and Irish parents named Hugh and Ivy, he had a modest upbringing in suburban Melbourne.
He bought his first drum kit, a Boston, for $250 with his first pay cheque and worked as an apprentice painter, electrician, and air conditioning installer to fund his musical obsession, until he joined AC/DC in 1974 aged just 20.
The prolific performers soon found success and became one of the biggest bands in Australia, but true global superstardom, and the cash to match, didn’t come until Highway To Hell charted at #17 in the US in 1979.
‘He was just a simple young Australian guy, money didn’t change him too much at first. But eventually this new big wealth was quite disorienting for him,’ Ms Bentami recalled.
‘Phil suddenly became very wealthy but he had no idea what to do with the money. He got mixed up with all the wrong people all the time.
Rudd and Bentami party together on a boat in Australia early in their relationship before their child was born
Rudd with Ms Bentami and another woman on a boat. The couple were happy but Rudd’s drug abuse was a persistent issue
‘He spent his money on flashy things. When he wanted a new watch he always wanted the most expensive one even if it wasn’t the nicest one. He developed a passion for flashy cars as well.
‘I never cared about all the glamour of a rock and roll life, quite on the contrary. I just wanted a normal family life.’
Rudd bought a house in Beaumaris in Melbourne’s southeast that Ms Bentami decorated while she dealt with the huge culture shock of suddenly being in a strange country where she knew almost no one.
‘But we were so in love, we had a great relationship even though we were so different,’ she said.
However, with money and fame came an army of hangers-on, many harmless but others offering a variety of chemical assistance to Rudd’s musical brilliance.
‘The moment I turned my back, someone who was supposed to be a “good friend” was trying to sell him cocaine,’ Ms Bentami recounted with some bitterness.
Rudd had more than dabbled in drug use before, and in 1978 the band’s first lead singer Bon Scott wrote to his sister Valerie that the drummer almost had to be replaced after suffering a nervous breakdown.
‘Phil had a bit of a nervous breakdown and had to spend a lot of time with a shrink,’ the famous letter that later sold for $14,000 at auction read.
‘It was really bad but luckily he got over it quickly enough not to upset the band. We had to treat him with kid gloves for a bit but he’s OK now.’
Ms Bentami recalls the months in Paris on either side of the band’s US tour as the best days of their two years together. Happy, carefree, hopeful for the future, and surrounded by love and camaraderie. It didn’t last
Rudd wasn’t quite prepared for the fame and fortune that came with being part of the biggest band in the world, or the profound affect it would have on him
Ms Bentami said the drugs gripped him harder this time, his use becoming heavier and more frequent with bouts of intense paranoia.
‘The first time I saw him after doing cocaine, it terrified me. I thought his heart was going to fail. He was in a panic, imagining cops hiding in the house. It lasted all night long and was exhausting for us both,’ she said.
But amid Rudd’s escalating drug use there was hope, as over the 1981-82 holidays Ms Bentami became pregnant and the overjoyed couple began to plan a family together.
Highway to hell
Bon Scott’s sudden and tragic death from alcohol poisoning on January 20, 1980, hit the whole band incredibly hard, but Rudd arguably never fully recovered.
After an all-night drinking bender in Camden, London, Scott’s friend Alistair Kinnear couldn’t get him out of the car when they arrived home and left him there to sleep it off.
The next morning he was rushed to hospital, but it was hours too late.
The band’s remaining members resolved to carry on in his honour, hiring Brian Johnson as the new lead singer and producing the enormously successful album Back In Black months later.
But Angus Young believes Rudd never got over it and ‘felt the tight family unit of AC/DC died with him (Scott) and he became more focused on living the high life – whatever the consequences’.
‘If he hadn’t stopped, he’d have gone overboard and done something drastic, either to himself or to someone else,’ he told author Mark Putterford in 1992 book A Shock To The System.
The sudden and tragic death of Bon Scott (centre) from alcohol poisoning on January 20, 1980, hit the whole band incredibly hard, but Rudd arguably never fully recovered. The band is pictured here in August 1979, just months before his death
Tommy is now 39 and lives in Normandy, France with his two children
AC/DC moved to London in June 1982 as the base for their worldwide tour, with Rudd and Ms Bentami moving into a townhouse in Belgravia previously inhabited by American actress Faye Dunaway and photographer Terry O’Neill.
‘It should have been more than perfect, were building a family. But as soon as we got there he met up with old acquaintances, who were dealing him drugs,’ Ms Bentami said.
‘But I still wanted to fight for our little family, and I thought when the baby was born, things would change.’
After just five shows in Japan, the tour was suspended and European dates in July to September cancelled due to Rudd’s drug problems, only resuming in Birmingham on September 29.
Ms Bentami said during this time Rudd’s addiction only grew worse and his behaviour more erratic, including disappearing for days at a time on cocaine benders.
Sometimes he would forget about her when they were shopping, suddenly abandoning her while she was trying on shoes because he needed to find more cocaine, and sometimes even forgot to pick her up from pregnancy appointments.
But Ms Bentami hoped the joy and responsibility of fatherhood would level him out and drag him away from drugs so he could spend time with his baby son.
‘Phil was on top of the world expecting little Tommy and promised to stop using drugs when he was a father,’ she said.
‘He was always a big family man who loved his sisters and he was wonderful with kids. He said having children was going to save his life. Everyone was happy for us.’
Tommy was born on October 1, 1982, at the Welbeck Hospital in London, where Ms Bentami claimed he was delivered by David Glyn Evans, who treated The Queen
A family under siege
Tommy, named after Rudd’s Lithuanian immigrant stepfather, was born on October 1, 1982, at the Welbeck Hospital in London, where Ms Bentami claimed he was delivered by David Glyn Evans, who treated The Queen.
AC/DC had just resumed its European tour, which lasted until mid-December, but during and afterwards Rudd’s drug addiction continued to spiral out of control.
‘He was disappearing… off somewhere doing cocaine with these horrible people I tried to keep him away from but I couldn’t, I was too busy with the baby,’ Ms Bentami said.
‘Once I got him sleeping tablets because he couldn’t sleep and he swallowed the whole box and we had to take him to hospital in Chelsea in the middle of the night.
‘He was screaming in the ambulance “do you know who I am? I am the drummer of AC/DC”.
‘Another time when we were having dinner at home with Phil Carson (an executive at Atlantic Records, AC/DC’s distributor), he locked himself in the bathroom and came back half an hour later out of his mind.’
Ms Bentami holds newborn baby Tommy in her arms in what should have been a happy time – but Rudd was unravelling
Ms Bentami claimed their housekeeper once found a bag of coke hidden in the bathroom and another one near the baby formula.
Other than the risk Rudd would overdose or hurt himself was fear the rest of AC/DC would find out the extent of his addiction and sack him from the band.
Ms Bentami found herself frequently covering for him to other band members, their wives, and the crew and felt increasingly isolated.
‘I had to hide everything, pretend it was all fine, and cover for him. I wish I could have told Malcolm and the others that I didn’t know what to do and how bad it was getting,’ she said.
‘Phil was incredibly happy to have become a dad, he adored his baby and still loved me.
‘He had just gone too far and would refuse rehab, insisting he didn’t need any and was too busy playing anyway.’
The couple returned to Melbourne after the tour ended in mid-December, but flush with cash and little to do until recording for the next album started, Rudd’s drug use intensified.
‘He was sleeping with a gun and walking around the house with knives because the drugs made him so paranoid,’ Ms Bentami said.
Though Rudd’s drug-induced paranoia was all in his mind, with his constant need for cocaine came the very real threats from the criminals who supplied them, some linked to bikie gangs.
Ms Bentami claimed she lived in fear of her family being harmed by dealers linked to organised crime who came to the house so often to peddle narcotics she felt like she was ‘under siege’.
‘I sometimes had to put furniture in front of the door and lock myself in because the people who were dealing to him were extremely dangerous – we could have been killed,’ she recalled, her voice reliving the terror she feels to this day.
‘But I loved him so much, I thought I could put up with it and I desperately wanted us to be a family and have more children. I just got terribly frightened for him and for Tommy.’
However, after months of living in fear Ms Bentami became too afraid for her baby son. She decided she couldn’t take it anymore when Tommy turned eight months old.
‘We were sitting in the living room with a gun and I realised it would never get any better,’ she said.
Rudd bought them a house (pictured in 2021) in Beaumaris in Melbourne’s south-east that Ms Bentami decorated
Rudd sold the three-bedroom house in 1984, months after Ms Bentami left and he was kicked out of the band and left for New Zealand. It sold again in 2021 (pictured) for $3.23 million
In several emails and repeatedly during a two-hour interview, Ms Bentami insisted she still deeply loved the troubled drummer and only left him out of fear for their son’s safety.
‘I don’t want people to believe I left Phil and took our son away from him. Phil had lost control of his addiction, I didn’t dare go out any more because there were dangerous dealers around and we were sleeping with a gun,’ she said.
‘I just had to protect the baby. If Tommy had not been there, I would have stayed by Phil’s side and supported him.’
She also went to great pains to ensure Tommy wouldn’t think badly of his father or think he ‘abandoned’ him as a child, and so told him Rudd loved him very much but they couldn’t see him.
‘Phil was absolutely never violent, never ever. He was very caring with Tommy and me when he was lucid, but most of the time he was in another world,’ she said.
‘He would cuddle him and change him, he was a wonderful dad – things should have been going fine.’
Rock and bust
His lover and baby son suddenly gone, Rudd’s life continued to unravel – which carried over into the band’s recording of Flick Of The Switch in the Bahamas weeks after the breakup.
‘It got to the point where he began imagining that there were people in his room and things like that,’ tour manager Ian Jeffrey recalled in A Shock to the System.
Rudd and Malcolm Young also had an escalating animosity dating back to the fallout from Scott’s death that finally came to a head during the new album’s recording.
To make matter’s worse, Rudd rebounded from his breakup with Ms Bentami by getting ‘involved’ with a female relative of Malcolm’s.
Rudd was kicked out of the band in June or July of 1983 and Simon Wright (second from right) was brought in to replace him for the Flick of the Switch/Monsters of Rock tour. The new lineup is pictured on tour in November 1983
‘The situation had become complex and embarrassing, causing a lot of friction between the people involved, and the outcome was as abrupt as it was dramatic,’ Putterford wrote in A Shock to the System.
Jeffrey recounted in the same book: ‘In the end, there was a bitter confrontation between Phil and another member of the band (widely presumed to be Malcolm) – physical blows were exchanged.
‘I put Phil on a plane home two hours later. He was out. Gone.’
Rudd retired to New Zealand soon after being ousted from the band in June or July 1983, where he started a helicopter company.
Just a few months later met and married local woman Lisa O’Brien, with whom he had five more children before they separated in 2006.
Rudd later met and married local woman Lisa O’Brien with whom he had five more children before they separated in 2006. He went skydiving with his son Jack and youngest daughter Lucia in February 2021
Rudd with his three daughters Lucia, Tuesday, and Milla, sons Jack and Steven, and two other family member at Christmas 2016
Rudd with his daughters Lucia (left) and Tuesday (right)
How the other half lives
In May 1983, Ms Bentami arrived in Paris to start over with nothing but a suitcase and a baby in her arms.
Her parents had divorced and her mother, all the family she had left besides Tommy, died young.
‘I worked like a lunatic – nights, weekends, long hours, three jobs at a time – I thought why should he not have what every other boy has? But it was never enough as I had to look after Tommy on my own,’ she said.
Rudd did not see his son again until Tommy was 10 and he was on tour in London, having rejoined AC/DC in 1993, and mutual friends arranged for them to spend three days together.
Ms Bentami wants Rudd to buy her a modest home in France near her grandchildren Jade and Ryan (pictured together) whom she rarely sees, and which they can inherit when she dies
Tommy later met his five half-siblings, the older few of whom have also met Ms Bentami, but there has been minimal contact between the two ex-lovers.
‘Phil never wanted me to come to AC/DC concerts when he was in Europe because Lisa would get jealous,’ she said.
Ms Bentami had several ‘disastrous’ relationships that didn’t work out but mainly spent her time raising Tommy until she reached mandatory retirement age.
She now finds herself alone in her tiny, run down flat in Amsterdam with no savings, declining health, and a pension of just €900 ($1,371) a month.
Her hands and joints ache with arthritis, and is she barely able to use them during the Netherlands’ harsh winters. She has a heart condition that needs surgery she can’t afford.
Ms Bentami said she also suffered from PTSD as a result of an accident in 2015, which also left her with claustrophobia which is heightened by her crammed living space.
Heating was only installed in the old building in 2019 and is not very effective.
Ms Bentami now finds herself alone in her tiny, run down flat in Amsterdam with no savings, declining health, and a pension of just €900 a month
Surrounded by books, knick knacks, fraying rugs, and a few ageing pieces of furniture, Ms Bentami also battles crippling loneliness far from the only family she has left
Surrounded by books, knick knacks, fraying rugs, and a few ageing pieces of furniture, Ms Bentami also battles crippling loneliness far from the only family she has left.
‘I don’t have really any friends anymore as all the people I talked to I knew through work and we lost touch after I had to retire. So I am very lonely. I’m very depressed and vulnerable these days,’ she said.
‘I eat the cheapest food and barely buy any new clothes.’
Her son and grandchildren Jade and Ryan are all that bring her joy, but are too far away in France for her to visit often.
‘I can rarely visit the children in France, it’s too expensive for me and even just buying proper food is not easy at the end of the month,’ she said.
‘In the Covid lockdown I was here in my tiny apartment and I got extremely down, I couldn’t visit Tommy and my grandchildren.’
‘The Hugh Hefner of Tauranga’
Rudd’s return to AC/DC a decade after his breakup with Ms Bentami lasted until he run into legal trouble in 2014, again over drugs and also allegations he tried to hire a hitman to kill a former employee.
But before that, the band was having a hard time getting him to rehearsals and recordings and he missed several photo shoots and promotional videos.
‘It’s a hard thing to say about the guy. He’s a great drummer, and he’s done a lot of stuff for us. But he seems to have let himself go. He’s not the Phil we’ve known from the past,’ Angus Young said in 2014.
Rudd’s charge of procuring a murder was dropped after just a day, but two charges of threatening to kill stayed, along with marijuana and meth possession.
Rudd’s return to AC/DC a decade after his breakup with Ms Bentami lasted until he run into legal trouble in 2014, again over drugs and also allegations he tried to hire a hitman to kill a former employee
No one would ever know that AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has to appear in court for threatening to kill a man in a few day’s time as he larked around with a mate out the front of his New Zealand home
Brian Johnson described the moment he saw video of Rudd’s arrest: ‘There was this guy getting led out of a car with no shoes on looking like he was f**king drugged and his head was on backwards.’
His son, Tommy, said at the time: ‘All I will say is that my dad is a good guy. He’s not perfect but wouldn’t harm anyone.’
The next year Rudd pleaded guilty to all but one of the threatening to kill charges and was ordered to pay NZ$120,000 ($109,000) in reparations and spend eight months under house arrest.
Rudd’s lawyer blamed the phone call where he made the threats on ‘meth-induced psychosis’ and paranoia and he had ‘significant addiction problems and abusing substances’.
Just as true in 2014 as it was more than 30 years earlier.
Timeline of Phil Rudd and Jasmine Bentami
Rudd and Ms Bentami meet at a party at his Paris apartment in June 1981 and begin dating
May 19, 1954: Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke is born, later adding Rudzevecuis – which he shortened to Rudd – through his stepfather
1960: Rudd’s parents buy him a toy drum kit, kicking off his musical obsession
1974: Rudd auditions for AC/DC and is hired immediately
1978: Rudd has a nervous breakdown
January 20, 1980: AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott dies of alcohol poisoning, shaking Rudd to his core
June 1981: Rudd and Ms Bentami meet at a party at his Paris apartment and begin dating
November 23, 1981: For Those About To Rock is released
February 1982: Rudd and Ms Bentami move to Melbourne after the album tour is over. He buys a house for them in Beaumaris
June 1982: AC/DC moves to London as a base for a world tour, the couple move into a townhouse in Belgravia
July-September, 1982: After six shows in Japan, European concerts from July 17 to September 19 are cancelled due to Rudd’s drug addiction
October 1, 1982: Tommy Rudd is born at Welbeck Hospital in London
December 1982: Rudd and Ms Bentami return to Melbourne sometime after the tour ends
May 1983: Ms Bentami and Tommy leave and fly back to France
June/July 1983: Rudd is kicked out of AC/DC two hours after a fight with Malcolm Young amid Rudd’s escalating drug addiction. He moves to New Zealand
Late 1983: Rudd marries Kiwi woman Lisa O’Brien, they have five children – Steven, Jack, Milla, Tuesday, and Lucia
November 1991: Rudd is invited by AC/DC to jam with them while they tour New Zealand
Late 1993: Rudd rejoins the band officially
Rudd was invited by AC/DC to jam with them while they toured New Zealand in November 1991, and by late 1993 had rejoined the band
2006: Rudd and his wife Lisa separate
2007: Rudd escapes an assault conviction for pushing his chest into Lisa and holding a clenched fist to her face, before grabbing her arms and pretending to push her overboard from his luxury yacht, the Barchetta
December 1, 2010: Rudd is found guilty of possessing 25g of marijuana but again escapes conviction on the grounds that it may stop him touring with AC/DC
2010: Rudd buys a huge waterfront mansion in Tauranga, in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty
July 30, 2011: Rudd opens ‘Phil’s Place’, an upmarket restaurant at the Tauranga marina
July 2012: Phil’s Place closes until April 2013 after a dispute with several staff. Rudd asked for an antipasto platter to be delivered to his yacht but it was instead sent to his helicopter hangar. He went to the restaurant and yelled, ‘you are all f**king useless’ and ‘you’re all f**king fired.’ He was ordered to pay NZ$72,000 ($65,600) in an unfair dismissal case
November 6, 2014: Rudd is arrested and charged with trying to hire a hitman to kill a former employee, along with two threatening to kill charges and possessing 91g of marijuana and 0.478g of meth. The procuring a murder charge is withdrawn the next day
November 2014: Several prostitutes detail sordid orgies with up to five women in Rudd’s boat and mansion, some lasting days where he blew thousands on sex services. ‘I would never go there again even if you paid me a million dollars a week,’ one said, calling him ‘a sick bastard, trying to keep up with his image’
Several prostitutes detail sordid orgies with up to five women in Rudd’s boat and mansion (pictured), some lasting days where he blew thousands on sex services
April 21, 2015: Rudd pleads guilty to all but one of the threatening to kill charges and is ordered to pay $120,000 ($109,000) in reparations and spend eight months under house arrest. Somewhere in that time he is dropped from AC/DC
July 2015: Rudd is briefly thrown back in jail accused of breaching his home detention by having alcohol and prostitutes at his mansion
November 28, 2017: Rudd reconciles with Angus Young at Malcolm Young’s funeral and is asked to rejoin AC/DC
August 2018: Rudd is spotted with AC/DC secretly recording Power Up, the band’s most recent album, in Vancouver
Early 2019: Rudd sells his famous mansion for NZ$4.1 million after listing it in November 2018
September 30, 2020: AC/DC announces Rudd has rejoined the band
Late 2020: Ms Bentami sends Rudd an email begging for him to buy their grandchildren a house in France where she can live close to them and Tommy. She is yet to get a reply
A desperate plea
After Rudd was dumped from the band in 2014 due to his legal problems, he declared: ‘I’m going back to work with AC/DC, and I don’t care who likes it and who doesn’t. I want my job back, I want my reputation back and I’m gonna get it back. I’m gonna f**king take it back.’
It took a few years but by the end of 2017 he had secretly returned to the band and recorded AC/DC’s most recent album Power Up, after a conversation with Angus Young at Malcolm Young’s funeral.
The new record was released in 2020 after it was announced on September 30, 2020, that Rudd was back, along with longtime bassist Cliff Williams.
Seeing Rudd get a third chance while she struggled to put food on the table finally pushed Ms Bentami to reach out to her former flame, at her most vulnerable, and beg him for help
Bearing her soul in the letter that was as much a mournful apology for a long-distant past took every ounce of emotional energy she had
Seeing Rudd get a third chance while she struggled to put food on the table finally pushed Ms Bentami to reach out to her former flame and beg him for help.
For almost 40 years refused to take a cent of his enormous wealth, other than the court-ordered child support – refusing to be seen as a gold digger.
‘It is hard for me to write this letter but I believe it will reach your heart,’ she wrote.
But in more than a year since she sent the email, all she received was silence, and as her health and financial situation grew more dire, so did her anger.
Rudd’s net worth is estimated to be at least $US70 million ($100.7 million), including a portfolio of properties in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty and an incredible collection of sports cars.
Rudd’s net worth is estimated to be at least $US70 million, including a portfolio of properties in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty and an incredible collection of sports cars
His beloved roadsters include a rare 1991 Ferrari F40, a Ferrari 599, two Lamborghinis, a 2010 Rolls Royce Ghost, 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, Bentley Continental Supersport, Audi R8 V10, a 2011 Aston Martin DBS (pictured), a 2010 Mercedes SLS AMG, and a rare Can Am race car
His beloved roadsters include a rare 1991 Ferrari F40, a Ferrari 599, two Lamborghinis, a 2010 Rolls Royce Ghost, a 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, a Bentley Continental Supersport, an Audi R8 V10, a 2011 Aston Martin DBS, a 2010 Mercedes SLS AMG, and a rare Can Am race car.
Rudd also houses a MD 520N helicopter at Tauranga Airport and owns a restaurant called Phil’s Place at Tauranga Bridge Marina. He sold his waterfront mansion home of nine years for NZ$4.1 million ($3.7 million) in 2019.
Ms Bentami wonders, why could he not throw her a tiny bone, not even for her but for their grandchildren, when he had tens of millions to his name and she struggles in near-poverty?
‘The first and only time in my life I ever asked him for anything, to please give me a roof over my head with something in our grandchildren’s name… I’m not asking for much,’ Ms Bentami said.
‘He didn’t even reply, no reaction at all. I found that very unkind, how can you dismiss the mother of your children, someone who has been fair to you all life long, how is it possible? He has another family whether he likes it or not.’
Ms Bentami said all she wants is to be able to live out her days near her son and grandchildren away from Amsterdam’s cold and wet climate, as her doctor urged but she can’t afford to do
Her hands ache with arthritis, almost unbearably in the Netherlands’ harsh winter where she is barely able to use them, arthritis in many of her joints, and a heart condition that needs surgery she can’t afford
All she wants, she said, is to be able to live out her days near her son and grandchildren away from Amsterdam’s cold and wet climate, as her doctor is urged her to do.
‘I’ve got to a point where I can’t go on this way. I’ve never asked anything of Phil. I worked so hard for 39 years to bring Tommy up by myself. Without Tommy’s help I would be on the street,’ she said.
‘I can’t impose on Tommy’s family, they have their own problems and are struggling to make ends meet themselves.
‘I’m not going to last for many years so it is mainly for my son and grandchildren. But Phil didn’t even bother to reply… he ignored me completely.’
Jasmine Bentami’s desperate letter to Phil Rudd
My dear Phil, the time we were happy and expecting Tommy together is far away.
We have lived so different lives, I understand I might not keep much place in yours.
On my side, because of our boy growing up next to me, you kept very present always.
I tried to rebuild a family but Tommy was too exclusive and I felt I owed him all my love and care.
I just regret we could not achieve what we both aimed at when we decided to have our little boy: a simple family life with kids we would have brought up together.
We deeply loved each others and against all odds shared a lot, gave and protected each others as much as we could. Gone too fast.
I could have kept going through all these ordeals we met with you if Tommy had not been here. I loved you more than enough to do so but I started to see how the baby was affected by what was happening around him.
When it got out of hands, I got scared. Scared that I was not going to be able preserve him and give him the stable life he needed to grow up quiet. That chance you and me didn’t really have.
It was not even a choice and I missed you very bad all along these years I had to struggle on my own.
After my Mum died there was no close family anymore and we both felt very lonely.
I worked very hard to give Tommy a good education and some well being but it kept me away from him. I couldn’t be the full time Mum I wanted to be and I still regret it.
What our son achieved all by himself is my pride and my reward, yours too I am sure.
Our grandchildren are bright and beautiful. Tommy is a loving and very dedicated Dad: any time he can take from work is for them. I still get worried when he is traveling dangerous places for work though.
I reached the age limit and had to stop working. I live on a minimum pension of €900 per month in a rented tiny social studio flat in Amsterdam, pretty cold in winter time.
I only own an old bicycle, I can’t afford a car. I can rarely visit the children in France, it’ s too expensive for me and even just buying proper food is not easy at the end of the month.
I have many health problems, agonizing arthritis that is crippling my hands and knees and a heart condition.
I can’t afford the proper treatments or at least move away from this terrible Dutch place, the worse there is for my condition.
I never asked anything for myself and never will even if now quite helpless.
But there is one thing you can do if you find it right Phil.
Putting a small place under our grandchildren’s names, Jade and Ryan Witschke where I could live until I am gone, would get me out of poverty while assuring the little ones a good future.
I know that in a big city like Paris it would be out of reach but just getting closer to the children, leaving that harmful Dutch country behind for the time I have got left would make me happy. Always willing to work all I possibly can, I would try make a bit of money doing B&B.
It is hard for me to write this letter but I believe it will reach your heart. Please let me know. All my love to you and the children.
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