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A low-key family barbeque was all that Paul McCartney wanted when celebrating his birthday yesterday, as the music legend shelved previous plans for a lavish party amid a tidal wave of personal problems.

“Sir Paul could not face a big party with so much turmoil in his life,” a source close to the former Beatle said.

Paul, who turned 64, spent the day with his five children, including baby Beatrice, his daughter with estranged wife Heather Mills. The 38-year old was not in attendance, but called with birthday greetings.

Paul McCartney Plays
(Getty Images)

“It was a gesture Heather felt she had to make to wish her husband a happy birthday and to tell him to enjoy Father’s Day, even if it was impossible for her to be there,” a source close to Mills said.

“There was no way she was going to be there unless the family all agreed. Paul’s daughters, especially Stella, had made their feelings clear and Heather didn’t want to rock the boat on Father’s Day,” the source added. “It was hard for her and she was very sorry not to see Bea with her father on his special birthday.”

Since separating from McCartney last month, Mills has been the topic of incredible tabloid scrutiny. One could say, in a manner of speaking, that she’s been spanked by the media.

Rumors continue to surface about Mills’ past, with numerous publications stating she was a high-priced hooker and a model for “instructional lovemaking guides,” including one called “Sexual Secrets” depicting her rather unfavorably.