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CONCEIVED during a night of passion on a Scottish island between the 60s singer Donovan and a sultry American model, it's no wonder Ione Skye turned out to be a little eccentric.

So, even after four years of marriage to a rugged male rock star, maybe we shouldn't be too surprised that she announced she's a lesbian.

The actress admitted that, when her marriage to Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz fell apart, she was smitten by striking Japanese model called Jenny Shimizu.

Jenny - said to be one of Madonna's former lovers - met Ione, 28, on the set of Quentin Tarantino's movie Four Rooms.

Although the affair was short-lived, it has had a lasting effect and has left the stunning actress questioning her sexuality.

And now - three years after she separated from her husband - she is not sure if she is a lesbian or just bisexual.

Ione, who stripped off when she starred in The Rachel Papers, said: "I guess I was just looking for love. I was reeling, I didn't know what I wanted. When Adam and I split up, I was making Four Rooms with Madonna.

"She had this whole gay entourage. She introduced me to them. And I have to admit, I dallied."

It's not surprising that Ione's recent history has been so eventful. She was born after a night of lust between Scots folk singer Donovan Leitch and Enid, a former New York model, in a caravan on the Isle of Skye.

But after Donovan walked out on Enid, Ione didn't speak to her Glasgow-born father for 20 years.

Her mother had been left to bring up Ione and her brother Donovan Leitch, the Calvin Klein model now married to Scots supermodel Kirsty Hume.

It was a very different model that caught Ione's eye - tattooed Jenny Shimizu. Jenny had already made a big impression on Madonna. One of the singer's friends revealed that when Madonna saw her, she said: "I gotta meet her. I gotta have her."

Jenny shows off her muscular physique in tight leathers as she rides around on her 1971 Triumph motorbike. She loves the tag she was given by the Los Angeles Times - "lesbo-punk biker-dyke".

And, though she is a world away from the super-waif stereotype, top designers love her. She gets pounds 5000 a day modelling for Calvin Klein, Versace and Gaultier.

Ione, too, fell under Jenny's spell. She said: "Of all Madonna's friends, I liked Jenny Shimizu in particular.

"We went out together. We went to this lesbian club. There was dancing, lots of energy and beautiful girls.

"And it just happened. You know, lesbians are kind of a trend right now."

Ione admitted that the attraction came as a surprise to her. She wasn't looking for a long-term relationship. She said: "I just needed some nurturing. I was trying to figure out what went wrong in my marriage and I am always so full of dread before bedding someone. This seemed easier.

"And so much cleaner. Girls make a special effort when they are going to go with another woman. They shower and stuff." She describes Jenny as being "kind of boylike, kind of dykey" with "a great figure".

And their relationship changed her life in more ways than one.

Ione said: "Jenny was very fit. I tried to get into fitness. I even joined a women's basketball team to be close to her."

Despite her efforts, the relationship was short-lived. Jenny dumped Ione for another woman. Ione said: "She said I was for later and went off with someone else. She was looking for a long-term relationship - I wasn't."

Despite her lesbian affair, the young star was not initially attracted to the gay scene, in vogue in the States.

In fact, bisexuality is a style statement in fashionable circles in America.

Since Madonna flaunted her liaison with comedienne Sandra Bernhard, having a lipstick lesbian lover has been all the rage.

But it wasn't Ione's style. She had actually stayed away from the scene. But, having met Madonna, Ione could not escape the influence of the former Material Girl's notorious entourage.

However, Ione admitted: "My mother always had gay men hanging around. I grew up not trusting gay people."

Jenny changed all that, though, and Ione is not ashamed of her affair. She even told her ex-husband about the fling, but knew he wouldn't have approved. She explained: "He is kind of a fuddy duddy."

Ione and white rap artist Adam were married for seven years. She only filed for divorce in California last month, though they separated three years ago.

She confessed she is likely to get a huge divorce deal, but she maintains it is important to her that they salvage a friendship from the marriage.

She said: "I have an attorney. We are trying to work it out. We want to survive it and still be friends. We talk on the telephone more than we did - because now we are divorcing."

But she is still confused about the break-up. She sees a psychiatrist three times a week to help her get over the split. She said: "I keep trying to examine what went wrong."

But she is adamant that it wasn't affairs that ruined their marriage.

She said: "It wasn't fans or anything. Adam doesn't have girl groupies, it's mostly a college boy following. I think I was mad that he spent all this time on the road."

Horowitz and Ione married in 1991, when Ione had already made her name as an actress with acclaimed performances in Say Anything and River's Edge and Horowitz was renowned as a hellraising rap artist.

His career had thrived in the 80s, when the Beastie Boys took rap from the streets and turned it into a multi-million-pound commodity. Their 1986 album, License to Thrill, sold more than six million copies.

They sold out stadiums and were hand-picked by Madonna to appear on her Like A Virgin tour.

They wore VW insignias as pendants and were notorious as the bad boys of pop, featuring girls dancing in cages onstage at gigs. But, by 1990, it looked as if they were all washed up - ironically, at the point where they were finally receiving critical acclaim.

But a year later, with the release of Check Your Head, they became the hippest of the cult bands.

Their music had grown up, but Horowitz hadn't. In 1994, he was put on probation for two years after he attacked a cameraman at a memorial service for actor River Phoenix, who died of a drugs overdose.

Horowitz and Ione were last seen together in Scotland at the Loch Lomondside wedding of her brother and Kirsty Hume, where Horowitz was DJ for the night. Other guests included Paul McCartney's fashion designer daughter Stella and actress Sophia Coppola.

Cinema audiences, too, have been seeing a lot of Mrs Horowitz.

As well as stripping for The Rachel Papers, she played several steamy, bed-hopping roles for TV and even her most recent project, the film Mascara, features a naked Ione in the opening titles.

But then, as the child of hippy freethinkers who practised what was preached about free love, she doesn't have too many inhibitions.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Paterson, Roz
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 15, 1999
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