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Now, locals say that although his new bachelor pad is close by, they have barely seen him in the two years since the separation was announced.
Indeed, it is the singer's reclusive tendencies that are said to have put added pressure on the marriage.
Since he began work on the opus of his life story, Collins has witnessed the break-up of his third marriage and - his accounts revealed this week - shelled out an eye-popping £25million settlement, a record for a British celebrity, to ex-wife number three, Orianne Cevey.
While not exactly broke, but with his pop career on hold - and having now paid nearly a third of his dwindling £140 million fortune to his various exes - it is perhaps not surprising the one-time Genesis front man is looking at ways of replenishing his bank balance.
She is like a second mother to Phil and even shares a London house with the widowed June, 94.
The two women stay in close contact with the singer and visited him three months ago at the home near Lake Geneva where he is struggling to rebuild his life without his wife and sons. Once, he was a regular sight in the town of Begnins - where Orianne and the boys still live in the £20 million former marital home - taking morning coffee at the cosy Cafe du Raisin or chatting happily with the townsfolk.
'Phil's mother, June, and I have remained very friendly with Orianne's mother, Orawan.
Friends say he has been trying - and failing - to knuckle down and finish a song-and-dance stage version of his life story which he has provisionally titled, perhaps a touch unimaginatively, Phil Collins: The Musical.
Admittedly, it does not have the immediate ring of a West End smash about it.
She thinks it was the depression that triggered the divorce.
We don't think Orianne even knew she was suffering with it.' Reflecting sadly on this most unhappy period in her friend's life, she continued: 'Phil was desperately trying to hold everything together, but he didn't know what was wrong with Orianne at the time.