Live

Watch CBSN Live

Paul McCartney Winning Publicity War

If a new poll is any indication, Paul McCartney is running away with the battle with his estranged wife for public sympathy in Britain in their bitter divorce dispute.

"The dirt-dishing is only beginning," observes CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, "but so far, the former Beatle is clearly the favorite."

The survey, taken by the major British news channel Sky News, shows 75 percent of the respondents saying they believe McCartney and only 25 percent saying they think Heather Mills McCartney is being truthful.

And that's no surprise to British celebrity publicist Max Clifford, who says: "Paul McCartney is extremely popular. Heather Mills has never been anything but extremely unpopular and, I think, as the last few months have unfolded, her popularity has gone down even further than it was, if that is possible."

The couple's $2 billion divorce fight has representatives of both sides making plays for public sympathy.

"She's loving, she's generous. And those qualities are very evident when you meet her," says Heather's friend, Juliette Gellately. "If you get her talking about her charity work whether it's being against the landmines, whether it being on animal causes, she is very passionate and they are what drive her."

"She is trying to desperately destroy a legend," counters McCartney family friend Peter Price. "She's destroying a national treasure. I don't know what she's playing at. I think she's a very, very wicked sado who needs an awful lot of help."

Meantime, reports Palmer, paparazzi snapped pictures of the Heather's personal trainer out cycling with the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

And a British tabloid claims a suffering Sir Paul is seeing a psychiatrist.

Both, says Palmer, are bound to further polarize support for the warring McCartneys.

Documents leaked to the media earlier this week purport to be claims by Heather that Sir Paul drank, took drugs and physically abused her during their short marriage.

However, there's no proof the document is the genuine divorce petition, but there is lots of speculation that it was a deliberate leak by Heather's camp to damage Sir Paul.

If so, say divorce lawyers, it's a risky strategy — one British courts may well frown on.

"The court will not be happy with her conduct and it could be used as litigation misconduct that could reduce her settlement," remarked family law lawyer Vanessa Lloyd-Platt.

Custody of Beatrice is also at the center of the McCartney battle, along with how much Heather will get from Paul.