Michelle Cutelli first met Phil Rudd when she was 20.

They were both living in Rotorua and the AC/DC drummer came into the stereo shop where she worked.

"He would come in and say hello. He asked me on dates to which I always said no. I knew he was from AC/DC, and I wasn't too sure. One day he came in and said, 'I don't suppose you would like to have lunch?' He was persistent. So I said 'yes, provided I bring along a girlfriend. His eyes lit up."

"The music was part of my culture, what's there not to like about AC/DC."


They went out for a year. Then she ended it to pursue her career in Auckland and Melbourne.

Fast forward 30 years and the pair are again an item, with Cutelli today talking about their relationship in an interview with the Bay of Plenty Times.

Her story follows an exclusive interview published yesterday in which Rudd talked about his comeback after a heart attack, upcoming European tour, and offer to help young people addicted to methamphetamine.

Read more: AC/DC's Phil Rudd on his new life, new love, upcoming tour

Cutelli said life as a rock star's girlfriend hadn't entered her mind and did not faze her.

She spent ten years in Melbourne where she was a hair and make-up artist to celebrities including Cate Blanchett. She also directed the make up for Melbourne Fashion Week.

Cutelli came home to have her son Sebastian, now 9. She returned to Rotorua three years ago to pursue her photography, hair and make-up business.

Michelle Cutelli and her son Sebastian, 9. PHOTO/MICHELLE CUTELLI
Michelle Cutelli and her son Sebastian, 9. PHOTO/MICHELLE CUTELLI

Cutelli and Rudd rekindled their friendship while she was photographing him earlier this year.


"I had seen some pretty bad images of him and I thought, that is not a true reflection of him. That's not the Phil I know. Phil's a beautiful person and everyone deserves a second chance."

"What I have been doing all my life is helping people come across as who they are. Whether its hair, makeup, or photography, but you have to gain the person's trust so they open up and be themselves, and show who they are."

Their relationship developed after they met up again.

"We are just taking it day by day but we are both really happy.

"He's fully charged and ready to rock. He's the man.''

She said he was great with her son Sebastian.

Phil Rudd outside his Tauranga home. PHOTO/MICHELLE CUTELLI PHOTOGRAPHY
Phil Rudd outside his Tauranga home. PHOTO/MICHELLE CUTELLI PHOTOGRAPHY

''Sebastian didn't know who Phil Rudd or AC/DC is, but to him it doesn't matter, Phil is great with him. Sebastian loves cars so he doesn't mind a little drive in a Ferrari."

Cutelli said the couple have been enjoying hanging out, they jetted up to Auckland at the weekend in Rudd's helicopter to get his English visa for the upcoming European tour. But the pair also just enjoy hanging out at home with the kids.

"I guess it can be challenging when you both have kids and you are integrating families but his kids are great, I love hanging out with his girls, Lucia, Milla and Tuesday, they are all fun and beautiful. I have done some shoots with Lucia and Tuesday and next up is Milla."

Cutelli went along to the hospital with Rudd when he had his recent heart operation.

"It's funny. I was with him at the hospital and the nurse wanted to shave his groin. You should have seen the surprised look on her face when she discovered he doesn't wear undies."

Cutelli said she is not yet sure whether she will go with Rudd on tour.


"I have Sebastian, and it has been so busy with fashion week and he will be busy over there so I am not sure, we will see."

Michelle Cutelli

The fashion photographer has had a career rubbing shoulders with celebrities including 10 years in Melbourne where she was makeup artist for the likes of actors Cate Blanchett and Harvey Keitel, and Australian glamour model Johdi Meares, the former wife of James Packer, son of media mogul Kerry. In the 1990s, she worked at TVNZ doing makeup for the Paul Holmes show.

Cutelli, who attended Western Heights High School, went on to win hairdressing awards including New Zealand hairdresser of the year. An interest in styling and fashion took her into makeup, and she has been spokesperson for L'Oreal.

Since returning home, she has been head photographer for Rotorua fashion designer Kharl WiRepa, who is known for glamorous evening wear.