Raffaella Barker encounters a noteworthy musical marriage.

Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp

Toyah Willcox doesn't introduce herself when you meet her. She doesn't need to: there's no mistaking the 4ft 10in of neatly-parcelled energy which bounces into the room. Following her is the 5ft 10in of Robert Fripp, whom she married five years ago.

With gusto they launch into the story of their marriage. The first two years were hard - Toyah railed against being seen as Mrs Robert Fripp and was furious when bank managers and accountants wanted to speak to the man of the house. 'I had been put on a pedestal because of my career and I found it difficult to let go of the past,' she explains.

Robert, who as guitarist and founder of the 70s band King Crimson and collaborator with Brian Eno, has seen a few pedestals in his time, recalls: 'I saw that my wife was unhappy. Romance is always presented up to the point of marriage and then you are expected to get on with daily existence. My wife found it hard.'

As they talk, Mr and Mrs Fripp look at one another constantly. He calls her 'my wife' at every opportunity, his conversation flowing lucidly and logically for minutes on end while Toyah tries to combine a loving smile with an expression which will stop him talking. Having described the entire music business as an artistic cop-out, he draws breath. 'My wife often tells me to shut up,' he says wit ha broad grin which reveals the false tooth which Toyah likes to remove and hide before photographic sessions or important dinners. 'He gets pompous at times,' she says, 'so I have to tease him a little. I also hide the loo paper from him.'

'Because my wife is 12 years younger than me, she is constantly revealing elements of herself which are a joyful and pleasant surprise,' says Robert, with a hint of what may, or may not be, irony. 'She is all her public persona makes her out to be and more.'

The couple live in Reddish House in Dorset, formerly the home of Cecil Beaton, and a place that they anticipate will take ten years to finish restoring. 'I saw it advertised in Country Life,' says Toyah, revealing a surprising streak of hard-line conventionality, 'and I told Robert to go and look at it because I had a strong feeling that we would live there. He didn't have time because he was just off to America, but I knew that of the house was for us, it would still be available when he returned, and it was.'

Robert now spends much of his time in Dorset, which is where he grew up, and has founded a guitar school there. Toyah, however, says: 'I am not quite homebound yet,' and is based in London for her acting and musical work, where she stays on friends' sofas.

When they are together, Mr and Mrs Fripp spend their time visiting stately homes, going to the cinema and fighting. 'Not aggressively, though,' says Toyah. 'It's just that I'm a very physical person and I love fighting. I use it as a way to express myself.'

Robert, whose idea of a good time is sitting down with a cappuccino and a good book, readily admits he is no match for her, but is happy to be assaulted if it pleases Toyah.

Toyah says that the relationship works because of their differences. In fact, she and Robert seem to have a great deal in common.

Evening Standard Magazine, July 1991