08/27/2014 AT 01:45 PM EDT
He first saw her waiting tables in a diner and wrote a song about how he couldn't get her out of his mind.
But now the long romance seems over for rocker Neil Young, who has filed for divorce from wife Pegi Young after 36 years of marriage, Rolling Stone
Young, 68, filed papers on July 29 in his hometown of San Mateo, California, seeking to end his marriage with his wife, 61, a frequent musical collaborator and background singer who often shared stage bills with the rock legend
Their sad end comes after a sweet beginning that led Young
to pen the song "Unknown Legend." In it, he writes lovingly of their early spark.
"I used to order just to watch her float across the floor," the song goes. "She grew up in a small town/Never put her roots down."
He also credited her as his muse for such other songs as "Such a Woman" and "Once an Angel."
The parents rallied to the aid of their son, Ben, who suffers from cerebral palsy. After they failed to find a school that met their son's needs, Pegi helped found The Bridge School, and they continued to raise funds for the school each year, holding benefits and inviting their star friends to perform to help students who suffered similar severe physical impairments, according toRolling Stone
Neil Young struggled with polio and epilepsy
early in his life and suffered a brain aneurysm
The couple also has a daughter, Amber, the Toronto Star
reports, while Young, a Toronto native, also has a son from his former partner
, the late, Oscar-nominated actress Carrie Snodgress.
He released his latest record, A Letter Home
, in April. He and Pegi were slated to appear together at Farm Aid on Sept. 13.
Their divorce hearing
is set for December. Reps for the Youngs did not comment.