When Genesis’ Phil Collins Revealed The Hidden Meaning Behind ‘In The Air Tonight’

Phil Collins has established a successful career with Genesis and as a solo musician since 1963. His solo songs have reached No. 1 three times in the UK and seven times in the US. However, aside from his career, he has also managed to grab attention with his private life and family. Collins’ son Simon Philip Nando Collins is even known to be a drummer like his father in the band Sound of Contact.

Collins is also the father of Lily Collins, a successful Hollywood actress who starred in many popular movies such as ‘Love, Rosie,’ ‘Snow White,’ ‘Shadowhunters’ and most recently, the worldwide streamed ‘Emily In Paris.’ However, their relationship hasn’t been great as Phil wasn’t there for her most of her life.

Lily was his daughter from his second marriage, Jill Tavelman. Before marrying Jill, he was married to Andrea Bertorelli, and his habits of not being there for his family began then. Andrea was pregnant with his son Simon when the Genesis drummer told her that he would leave for a tour right after the birth, and Andrea felt psychological pressure to give birth as soon as possible.

How Did Phil Collins and Andrea Bertorelli’s Marriage End?

After having a hard time raising their children on her own while her husband was on a two-year tour with his band, the bonds of distrust started to form within the family. Andrea knew that their marriage wouldn’t survive when he would come back and was depressed with her newborn and her four-year-old son Joel.

When he was gone on tour, Andrea had a brief affair with the man who was decorating a friend’s house. She instantly regretted it and told Phil about it when he came home. However, his temper didn’t take this information well, and he started snapping at Andrea. In a 2015 interview with Daily Mail, Andrea stated that his temper and reluctance to resolve their issues by talking was the real reason their marriage ended. Nonetheless, Phil didn’t see it this way.

Here is what she said about the end of their marriage:

“We had a brief affair, and I told Phil as soon as he came home. We did our best to put it behind us, but the same issues were there. Things got worse as Phil was always arguing and lashing out rather than trying to resolve anything. I hated what happened and suffered from immense guilt and shame. It wasn’t something I wanted to do.

I think I just wasn’t coping very well and made a bad decision, which I regret. But my relationship with Phil didn’t end because of it. For me, it was already over before the affair happened. It was a symptom of a bad marriage – not the reason the marriage ended.

What Did Phil Do After The Divorce?

Since he is a rockstar and songwriter, Phil Collins did the most expected thing and wrote a song about it. According to Andrea, the song over-portrayed her as the villain, and she was devastated by it. The hit he wrote following their separation was ‘In The Air Tonight,’ which talks about a disturbing murder committed in front of the persona’s eyes.

Phil talked about this song in Jimmy Fallon in 2016, 35 years after its release date. He spoke about how this song wasn’t actually about murder and had a laugh about it. Collins later explained that it was because of how he felt after his divorce. It was difficult for him to go from being lovers to hating each other, and he poured his anger into the song.

Here is what he stated about the song to Jimmy Fallon:

“I was just pissed off. I was angry. You go through a divorce, and it’s like, ‘Baby! I love you. I love you. Don’t hang up, don’t hang up.’ And then it’s like ‘Well, f*ck you.’ And of course, that is where the song, ‘In the Air Tonight’ comes up. There’s obvious anger in there.”

You can listen to ‘In the Air Tonight’ and watch Phil’s interview with Jimmy Fallon below.