If anyone knows a thing or two about the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, it’s Rod Stewart.
During an epic career spanning more than 50 years, he’s worked hard and played harder, fathered eight children by five different women, and dubbed himself the “Lord of the Philanderers.”
It’s fair to say that the 77-year-old Maggie May singer is a changed man since settling down with wife number three, Penny Lancaster.
The couple, who have now been married for 15 years, met in 1999 while she was working as a photographer and fell head over heels in love.
But in true rock ‘n’ roll style, their meeting came just days after his painful split from ex-wife, model Rachel Hunter.
Dave Benett/Getty Images for Langans)
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“Rachel broke up with me on a Monday night and it was heartbreaking,” he previously told People magazine. “But that Saturday night I met Penny at the Dorchester Hotel in London. My band’s bassist, Carmine, said, ‘Listen, you just got out of a long nine-year marriage. You are not ready yet.’
“I almost strangled him! Six months later he gave me her phone number and she came by. She fixed my heart in more ways than one.”
As with Penny, he had set aside his wild ways for Rachel and given himself over to her. And he couldn’t understand what he was hearing when Rachel – who was 26 years his junior – revealed she wanted out.
He told Mail On Sunday’s Weekend magazine: “I couldn’t believe it.
“I was a rock star. You don’t take off a rock star! It blew my mind. It was a huge shock.”
Rod was 45 and Rachel 21 when they first met in 1990, and as she reflected on their split, the London native admitted the age difference had played a big part.
“She was only 21 when we married and a mother a year later. My sister Mary told me she was too young for me as we walked down the aisle. And she was right,” he once admitted.
Despite the age difference, it was love at first sight for the couple who met at a Los Angeles nightclub. He explained he “put my last banana in the fruit bowl,” and Rod was mesmerized by the New Zealand beauty.
Recognizing her from a fitness video ad, he tried to get her attention by mimicking one of her moves on the dance floor – a gesture that only elicited a “sympathetic smile” from Rachel.
“At least she hasn’t turned away…” Rod wrote in his 2012 book Rod: The Autobiography.
He continued, “Extraordinary to think that this less than auspicious start would lead to a romance that redefined the term ‘whirlwind’ and then to an eight-year marriage that would eventually leave me as emotionally broken as I have ever been .”
In fact, the smitten rocker popped the question just five weeks later and they were married in less than three months, despite warnings from friends to slow down.
Even their first date was lightning fast.
“I persuaded her to have dinner with me, a meal at which we didn’t talk so much as we babbled a lot and covered a lot of ground in a great hurry,” he wrote. “Back at her hotel that night, we shared a bed for the first time.”
But knowing Rod’s reputation, a sly Rachel made it clear that sex was out of the question by using a cunning trick.
Rod recalled, “She was wearing a t-shirt that reached to her ankles – a t-shirt that said ‘Not tonight, thanks’ as efficiently as if she were in a bathroom deep-sea diver outfit came rattling. “
Despite his disappointment, the star took it as a sign that better things were to come. “A bit of a shame, of course,” he admitted, “but a sign that we might be at the beginning of something serious.”
Their romance wasn’t complete until weeks later, when Rod chartered a boat to the Bahamas.
The couple wed on December 15, 1990 at the Presbyterian Church in Beverly Hills — where his sister Mary made a solemn prediction, apparently telling the person she was sitting next to, “This girl is going to break his heart one day.”
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And in 1998, that’s exactly what happened when Rachel told him she wanted out of the marriage
According to Rod, nearing her 30th birthday and with two children, Rachel was unhappy and felt she had to go and live her own life outside of her husband’s shadow.
Devastated, Rod was plunged into a deep heartbreak that would debilitate him for four long months.
He said: “I’ve lost 12 pounds. I was cold the whole time. I started lying on the sofa during the day with a blanket over me and a hot water bottle on my chest. I knew then why they call heartbroken: You can feel it in your heart. I was distracted almost to the point of insanity.”
In a desperate attempt to cope, he turned to therapy and took up yoga before the dark cloud began to lift.
These days, Rod and Penny, 51, are on good terms with Rachel, 52, and Rod’s first wife, Alana.
Rod has two sons with Loose Women panelist Penny, whom he married in 2007, Alastair, 16, and Aiden, 11.
His first marriage was to Alana Hamilton, 77, which lasted from 1979 to 1984. They had daughter Kimberley, a model, and son Sean, who is a musician.
The singer also has daughter Renée, who is now a dancer, and son Liam Stewart, a professional ice hockey player, with Rachel.
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/rod-stewarts-outrage-over-rachel-27244947 Rod Stewart's outrage at Rachel Hunter split - "You don't dump a rock star!"