Before his marriage to longtime wife Nancy Shevell, musician Paul McCartney was married to two other women. Learn about them here, including the late Linda.
Paul McCartney is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and producer who rose to worldwide stardom with his band The Beatles. The 79-year-old music icon is also a family man: he has five children, including celebrated fashion designer Stella McCartney, with former wives. Paul has been married to third wife Nancy Shevell since 2011, but he also had two prior marriages before exchanging vows with the businesswoman: the late Linda McCartney and Heather Mills. Learn about the musician’s ex-wives — and current wife — below.
Paul married his first wife, the late Linda, in 1969. She was an American photographer, musician, and animal rights activist. The musician was married to Linda up until her death in 1998: at the age of 56, Linda lost a battle to cancer. They have three children: Mary, 52, Stella, 50, and James, 44. The late artist was hardly just “Paul McCartney’s wife.” Prior to meeting the Beatle, the art history major had a successful career as a photographer, one that began in the mid 1960s. A focus on the music revolution, Linda worked as resident photographer at the now shuttered Fillmore East in New York, photographing the likes of the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix, according to her biography.
Linda met Paul on assignment in London in 1967, marrying two years later. When Paul formed his post-Beatle rock band Paul McCartney and Wings, Linda joined the band as a keyboardist and vocalist. She also released some of her own music, including “Seaside Woman” under the pseudonym Suzy and the Red Stripes. A vegetarian and animal rights activist, she also published vegetarian cookbooks Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking and Linda’s Kitchen, the latter of which was nominated for a James Beard Award. In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland in 2019, Paul opened up about the grief of losing both his mother and wife to cancer. While his father experienced a “quiet private kind of grief,” Paul said his was the opposite. “I think I cried for about a year on and off,” he said. “You expect to see them walk in, this person you love, because you are so used to them. I cried a lot.”
Paul married his second wife Heather in 2002. The two met in 1999 at an awards ceremony in London, as previously reported by Daily Mail. A British TV personality and former model, Heather first gained prominence after she was involved in a traffic collision in 1993 that left her with an amputated leg, resulting in use of a prosthetic. She and Paul divorced in 2008, announcing the split in 2006. They share one daughter, Beatrice, 18, together. In a joint statement at the time, the pair called the separation “amicable” and said it had become “increasingly difficult” to maintain a marriage in the public eye.
“Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways,” the statement read. “Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much but have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives, and we have actively tried to protect the privacy of our child.” The divorce was contentious and costly. A British court ordered the Beatle to pay his ex-wife $48.7 million after a bitter court battle. There was also strife between Heather and Paul’s daughter Stella, who Heather called “jealous,” accusing her of trying to break up her marriage with her father.
Paul has been married to his current wife Nancy since 2011. She’s an American businesswoman who has previously worked as a member of the board in the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Nancy is currently vice president of the New England Motor Freight, a family business in which her father served as CEO. While the couple wed in 2011, their friendship goes further back, having met 20 years prior to their nuptials at the Hamptons, where they both owned homes. Nancy was still married to her first husband Bruce Blakeman, whom she shares a son Arlen, 29, with. Their romance reportedly began in 2007, following their respective separations from their ex-spouses.
For their wedding, Paul’s fashion designer daughter Stella even dressed the wedding party, having created a “simple and understated, off-white dress to the knee” for her stepmother. In his new two-volume book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present released earlier this month, Paul revealed that he and Nancy initially bonded over their mutual love of dancing. “There’s no denying it, I really enjoy dancing,” he wrote. “It’s something my wife Nancy and I are particularly keen on. After a show, when the band and crew get together for a drink, we’re always the first ones on the dance floor.” He also recounted serenading her on the piano during a holiday with his brother Mike when they weren’t a couple yet.
“The piano was sitting in the foyer all day long, and because the rain would not stop, I sometimes went and just noodled on the keys,” he wrote. “I was thinking all sorts of loving thoughts towards Nancy, and while I was at the piano, I could see that the waiters who were clearing up were listening. It was nice and romantic. It was a perfect moment, and I thought to myself, we’re not going to stay in separate rooms tonight.”