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Michelle Rocca: Wikis


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Van Morrison and Michelle Rocca: 1995's Days Like This

Michelle Rocca (born Dublin, Ireland, 1961) is a Dublin socialite who initially achieved a degree of fame as the wife of footballer John Devine before becoming for a lengthy period the girlfriend of singer, and later, the wife of Van Morrison. She is the daughter of Paddy and Maureen Rocca[1] and granddaughter of Italian immigrant Egidio Rocca who founded the successful business, Rocca Tiles.



Rocca grew up in a large family with two brothers and three sisters.[2] Rocca attended University College Dublin studying Greek and Roman Civilization and Italian and French Archaeology.

Rocca is fluent in several languages and has earned an MA degree from Trinity College in Dublin and also a degree from Bristol University in Bristol, England.

She entered beauty contests, winning the Miss Ireland title in 1980 [3 ] and was Number 3 finalist in the 1981 Miss International Pageant.[4]

Rocca worked in the family business and also modelled until she joined RTE in 1987 as a television presenter. In 1988, she co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest with Pat Kenny in front of a worldwide audience of 600 million viewers. Despite such a high profile gig as presenter of Eurovision, it didn't lead to a bigger career on television and she continued to juggle her modelling career with occasional presenting jobs, such as the 1990 Miss World contest from London.

Personal life

She began dating Arsenal and Irish International footballer John Devine when she was 17 and they were married in 1981 and lived in England. The couple had two daughters, Danielle and Natasha, but were separated in 1987 and she returned to Dublin with the children.[3 ] They divorced in 1990.

She was engaged to Cathal Ryan, son of multi-millionaire Tony Ryan who co-founded Ryanair and owned Guinness Peat Aviation. After living together for two years, they separated when Michelle was expecting their child, Claudia, who was born in April 1991.[3 ]

1994: Michelle Rocca as album cover model

Rocca met Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison in the summer of 1992,[5] and they often featured in the Dublin gossip columns, an unusual event for the reclusive Morrison. Rocca was the first woman to appear on one of his album covers—1995's Days Like This—since his then-wife Janet "Planet" Minto featured on the cover of Tupelo Honey in 1971. She also appeared on the cover of the October 1994 tribute album, No Prima Donna: The Songs of Van Morrison.

They reunited after a broken engagement in 1996, and Morrison daily attended the court proceedings in 1997 when Rocca sued her former lover, Cathal Ryan, for assaulting her and breaking her nose in 1992. In Johnny Rogan's words, "It was one of the most publicized cases in recent Irish history".[6] The jury awarded Rocca the sum of £7,500. Morrison and Rocca who have two children together, shunned publicity and are seldom seen in public together.

Upon Cathal Ryan's death in December 2007 of cancer, Rocca was quoted as saying, "He was a wonderful father to Claudia; he and I had a very good relationship over the past number of years and he will be greatly missed by all of us."[7] She also has a granddaughter, born in 2002.

On 20 January 2009 her brother, Patrick Rocca, an Irish real estate mogul, committed suicide after his real estate empire collapsed in the global credit crisis.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Bundle of joy thrills Van and Michelle retrieved 29 September 2007
  2. ^ The passionate intensity of mismatched lovers retrieved 22 December 2007
  3. ^ a b c Rogan, No Surrender, p.407
  4. ^ Miss International Pageant 1981
  5. ^ Rogan, No Surrender, p.406
  6. ^ Rogan, No Surrender, pp. 443-448
  7. ^ "Founders son dies aged 48". Retrieved 23 January 2008.  
  8. ^ For a millionaire who saw his world crash around his feet was the pressure too much? Evening Herald


  • Rogan, Johnny (2006): Van Morrison:No Surrender, London:Vintage Books ISBN 9780099431831
  • Where Are They Now? Irish Examiner - 30 August 1999

External links

Preceded by
Viktor Lazlo
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Pat Kenny)
Succeeded by
Jacques Deschenaux & Lolita Morena


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