Controversial Musical Couples Because Of Age Gap
via Popsugar TV / Youtube
Since the emergence of radio, numerous icons in the realms of rock and pop have fashioned images around their opulent, scandalous, and often illicit lifestyles. Embracing excesses like cars, drugs, alcohol, and various indulgences has become an integral aspect of the celebrity experience.
While it’s simple for audiences to cast judgment on the extravagant lives of those who dominate the airwaves and feature prominently in magazines, it’s imperative not to deceive ourselves into thinking that the majority wouldn’t succumb to diverse forms of indulgence when faced with unprecedented fame and wealth.
Nevertheless, one of the more questionable behaviors exhibited by eminent musical artists frequently involves romantic entanglements with significantly younger partners, some of whom were young enough to be their child or, even more disconcerting, grandkid.
Even if the partner surpasses the age of consent, such relationships give rise to myriad questions about whether the younger party might be subject to exploitation or manipulation. Let’s scrutinize musician relationships highlighting some of the most contentious age gaps.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley
The most noteworthy age difference in this context involves Elvis and Priscilla Presley. The discomfort doesn’t arise from the 10-year numerical gap but rather from the fact that their romantic involvement began when he was 24 and she was 14.
As the daughter of a military family stationed in Wiesbaden, West Germany, in 1959, Priscilla met Elvis, leading to the rapid development of romantic feelings. Their subsequent meetings, as Priscilla shared in People, included a third meeting where they shared their first kiss. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Elvis pulled away, and left this message before parting ways: “We have plenty of time, Little One.” Yikes.
Such a relationship would be considered inappropriate by today’s standards, and rightly so. Nevertheless, Priscilla reassures fans that the King of Rock’s affection for her was innocent. Addressing this during a press conference after the premiere of Sofia Coppola’s film Priscilla at the Venice Film Festival, she explained:
“People think, ‘Oh, it was sex’… Not at all. I never had sex with him. He was very kind, very soft, very loving. But he also respected the fact that I was only 14 years old. We were more in mind and thought. And that was our relationship.”
Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood
Even though Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood’s relationship concluded over ten years ago, it has remained a topic of significant controversy. The start of their romance in 2006 was marked by scandal, as Wood, at 19 years old, became involved with the 36-year-old Manson.
The controversial affair continued into 2007, with Wood featuring in Manson’s music video for the song “Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)”, which incorporated dark and provocative imagery.
In an interview with Net-A-Porter.com’s The EDIT, Wood expressed, “I thought I was in love. I wasn’t doing it to prove a point or be rebellious. I wanted to break a mold for sure — I knew I was edgier, more alternative, and weird. And [Marilyn] was just what I needed, because I felt really free with him. And that freedom was attractive.”
The couple got engaged in January 2010, but their engagement was short-lived, lasting only eight months as they eventually went their separate ways. However, following the #MeToo movement, Wood released statements detailing exploitation by one of her previous partners. In a February 2021 Instagram post, she confirmed the identity, stating, “The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson. He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years.”
Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell
There’s no need to introduce Paul McCartney; his love past is widely recognized. He famously co-founded the band Wings with Linda McCartney, formerly known as Eastman, who was his first wife. After Linda’s untimely death in 1998, he married Heather Mills in 2002, but their turbulent marriage dissolved in 2008.
Despite the 17-year age difference between them, his marriage to entrepreneur Nancy Shevell, his third wife, has attracted a lot of attention. When McCartney and Mills were divorcing in 2007 and living in the Hamptons, they first became acquainted over coffee.
Following the divorce settlement, McCartney and Shevell started dating, though they made a point of keeping the relationship quiet. Very few personal photos made their way into the press. But as time went on, the pair became more well-known, showing together at events like Stella McCartney’s 2008 fashion show in Paris and Shevell’s 2011 Met Gala in New York City, when she was seen sporting an engagement ring.
2011 saw them exchange vows, and they are still happy together. “When it comes to being a husband… I see it as just trying to be good to my wife Nancy and trying to be considerate and romantic. I completely overdo Valentine’s Day!”
Tommy Lee and Brittany Furlan
Tommy Lee, the drummer for Mötley Crüe, has garnered notoriety for both his off-stage pursuits and on-stage exploits during the course of his career. His well-known love life includes marriages to playboy model Pamela Anderson and actress Heather Locklear, the former of whom attracted a lot of attention after a public release of their private video
Since then, Lee has dated dancer Mayte Garcia and singer Sofia Toufa. But none of these partnerships survived, and they did not cause any controversy in the public eye.
Because of their noteworthy 24-year age difference, his most recent marriage to social media sensation Brittany Furlan has been under intense scrutiny. After Anderson’s book, Love, Pamela: A Memoir of Prose, Poetry, and Truth, was published, Furlan came under fire.
In a now-deleted TikTok video, she responded to her fans by saying, “I just wanted to come on here and let you know I’m OK because I know people have been checking on me, which is really nice and I’m good, don’t worry. And don’t worry about the people that are saying all the mean things they’re saying … I don’t live in that world.”
Billy Joel and Alexis Roderick
Music legend Billy Joel and his then-girlfriend Alexis Roderick stunned guests at their annual Independence Day celebration on July 4, 2022, by getting married in a ceremony officiated by former New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Even more startling is the notable 32-year age difference between them. Given that Joel’s new bride is only four years younger than his daughter, singer-songwriter Alexa Ray, their relationship becomes even more intriguing.
Investigating the causes of Joel’s divorce from Katie Lee, his third wife, complicates the plot, because, as it turns out, the former spouses grew apart due to their age difference. The music icon’s former wife was just one year older than his new muse Roderick.
A friend told the New York Daily News, “It was really the age difference that caught up with them. They grew apart. She is very career-oriented. She loves going out. She loves the city. When Billy isn’t touring, he’d rather be on Long Island with his motorcycles and boats,”
Steven Tyler and Aimee Preston
The enigmatic frontman of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, has quite a troubled history of dating younger women in the past, and a lawsuit filed in late 2022 revealed one significant instance: when Tyler was 25 years old and Julia Holcomb was in her late teens in 1973, the latter revealed that the singer persuaded her mother to name him as her legal guardian.
Although his current interest in younger women now falls to the legal side, there are still questions about it. More specifically Tyler’s relationship with Aimee Ann Preston, a woman 39 years his junior, that he revealed in 2016.
What made matters more icky was that Preston started as Tyler’s personal assistant in 2012. Although romantic relationships in the workplace are not unusual, there is always reason for concern when a prominent person such as Tyler shows romantic interest in his younger subordinate.
Preston regularly posts loving pictures of the couple on her Instagram, giving the impression that they are a happy couple despite their dubious beginnings.
Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick
The Rolling Stones’ swaggering frontman Mick Jagger can claim to have a love life as glamorous as the infamous Casanova’s, and that’s only when it comes to his publicized relationships.
The Stones’ charismatic leader is technically married only once, but he has fathered eight children with five different women. His most recent amorous project, with 43-year-old former ballerina Melanie Hamrick, continues to generate discussions. It seems even in his 80s, Jagger’s charm doesn’t fade.
Their son, Deveraux Octavian Basil, was born in 2016 as a consequence of their relationship, which began in 2014. While initially downplaying the possibility of marriage, there are rumors that the so-called “promise ring” she was seen wearing may in fact be an engagement ring.
In a June 2023 interview with People, Hamrick addressed rumors about the ring she was seen wearing, saying, “I mean, I have to giggle because did Mick give me the ring? Yes. Is it for that finger? Yes. But are we like, horny teenagers where we’re giving each other… In my mind, it’s a promise ring. We’ll be immature and call it a promise ring.” But as of this writing, the couple has not made any formal announcements.
Jimmy Page and Scarlett Sabet
It seems that as rock stars age, their love partners get younger. Jimmy Page has a long-standing reputation as a lady-killer, which is further enhanced by the fact that his most recent partner is 46 years younger than him. Naturally, poet Scarlett Sabet, his girlfriend, faced a lot of criticism for her relationship with not just the guitarist of Led Zeppelin, one of the most well-known rock bands ever, but also with a man who is almost her grandfather’s age.
The pair made an effort to hide their relationship, but when word got out, they faced a lot of backlash. “I guess some people will say I’ve made an unusual choice.,” Sabet said to Tatler. “At the time it felt very uncomfortable. I felt like my life was going to be over. I had such a sense of shame about the whole thing.”
Page and Sabet may have a significant gap in terms of age, but they have a lot in common when it comes to their creative pursuits. They have turned their 19th-century Tower House in the Holland Park neighborhood of Kensington and Chelsea, London, into an artist’s haven.
“Jimmy’s children come and stay, which is lovely. My siblings came too. We had a big family lunch for my birthday at Farmacy last year and then all came back to Tower House for tea and cake. Other than that, we like it to be just us. I feel so safe here, it’s such an inspiring house,” Sabet shared.
Ronnie Wood and Sally Humphreys
Guitarist Ronnie Wood has been a part of the Rolling Stones since 1975, thus one may presume he has had a crazy rock and roll lifestyle. It’s therefore a little surprise that he ultimately decided to become a married man and start a family.
The less shocking aspect, though, is his choice to date a woman who is roughly 30 years his junior. The woman in question is Sally Humphreys, and she got to know Wood when he was hanging some of his artwork at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Not long after Wood’s marriage to his then-wife Jo Wood was about to an end, he and Humphreys began dating and subsequently got married. Humphreys told The Telegraph, in response to the age gap, “Um, well, I know it’s there. And I wish it wasn’t, but it is. I think I had to say ‘I can’t do this because of the age’, or I just had to let it go and take it all on board. At no point, years ago, did I say to myself: ‘I think I’ll go out with someone twice my age,’ but that is what has happened.”
The couple has undoubtedly received their fair share of criticism. Humphreys defended his marriage to the Daily Mail, saying, “Yes, he is older and I am younger, but I don’t think about age when I think of Ronnie. He’s always had this unbelievably positive, youthful energy about him, which I love.”
Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster
Being a rock star all his life, Rod Stewart has gone through many highs and lows in his romantic life. His numerous romantic relationships may have made him seem like an oddball choice for marriage. Nevertheless, it is exactly what transpired when he married 26-year-old Penny Lancaster.
In response to misconceptions about them and their age difference, she said during her appearance on Loose Women, “People would often say to me, ‘What about his age? Does it matter?’ I’m like, ‘He’s a little schoolboy!’ He’s the naughtiest little, funniest guy to be with … He also has this, kind of like, sort of steely side to him. He’s got a lot of strength and he works out regularly, so I find him very sexy, appealing, you know, all that.”
Undoubtedly, having two kids when Stewart was in his golden years made Lancaster consider the likelihood that her husband would die before her.
On a different episode of Loose Women, she said, “Rod’s in his 70s, early 70s, and we have a huge family base at home and there’s a lot of activities … My life is based on the family … The children will be grown up and gone, so I kind of feel like I need to prepare.”