Rod Stewart Tells His Wife, Alana, 'Tonight I'm Yours,' and He May Well Mean It
In 1979 Rod Stewart was brazenly asking the world Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? and, in case anybody doubted, he answered the question himself by living out the title of Blondes Have More Fun, the LP that the Sexy single turned into platinum. One of the few survivors of the English bad-bloke school, Rod deserved his rep as a rocking-hoarse stud who left a trail of empty bottles, smashed hotel furniture and broken hearts. Then, against long odds, he tried to settle down with Swedish actress Britt Ekland. That liaison lasted two and a half years, after which Ekland published her all-holds-bared memoir, True Britt. Rod, meanwhile, laid low.
His latest album is Tonight I'm Yours, and if the rogue has apparently slowed down at 36, it's because he's once again promising togetherness to a new blonde, Alana Hamilton, actor George Hamilton's ex. Rod and Alana have not only stayed together three and a half years—a granitic relationship by showbiz standards—but they made things legal with an April 1979 wedding and promptly produced two little Stewarts: Alana Kimberly, 2, and Sean Roderick, 1. (Alana and Hamilton's 7-year-old son, Ashley, also lives with them.)
Rod himself is still sorting out the meaning of all this stability. "Marriage and the kids certainly were not mistakes," he says adamantly. "It does frighten me to look at my children and realize that I've got to be responsible for them for the rest of my life. I don't think I ever will be a responsible person. But I fell into being a father real easily because I come from a loving family." (London-born to Scottish parents, Stewart grew up with four brothers and sisters in the Highgate working-class district.)
It did not look promising when Rod and Alana first locked glances at a Swifty Lazar party in L.A. "I didn't like his image," says Alana, 36, an ex-model whose main credit (aside from four years with Hamilton) is the 1979 film Ravagers. "He just sat there looking real cocky." Later one of Stewart's satraps called Alana to ask for a date for Rod. "If he wants to have dinner with me," she replied, "he can pick up the phone and call me." He did, she assented, and a few dinners later she discovered that "beneath that exterior, he was really nice and likable. It sort of went from there."
One reason, she says, is that Rod was "ready for a change, to open up and grow a little. Just going out with a lot of blond birds and boozing it up wasn't fulfilling him." It also helps that Alana gives her husband elbow room. "I don't think it's in me to be really domesticated," he says. "I'm still restless and need to get out and see what's going on."
Lately, getting out means the 52-city tour Rod fearlessly undertook this fall in the face of the competing Rolling Stones blitzkrieg. Remarkably, he has more than held his own. The Tonight I'm Yours LP has become his 11th gold LP and marks the return to form of one of the most wonderful instruments in all of rock 'n' roll—Stewart's inimitable raspy tenor—after his brief defection to disco. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? remains Warner Brothers' alltime top seller, but Rod bogged down in his next LP, aptly named Foolish Behaviour. Though the album went platinum, he terms it "a disappointment." Now he is back to basic rock and already has one single, Young Turks, in the Top 10.
Like the Stones, Stewart has a corporate underwriter for his tour—his is Sony—and is similarly planning a Dec. 19 L.A. concert scheduled to be televised worldwide via satellite and simultaneously broadcast in FM stereo in many areas. A projected 20 million viewers here and more in at least 20 countries will see it. Does all this mean the onetime London gravedigger is selling out to big business? He replies, "Who wants to go back to the days when you were starving and no one knew you?" Stewart passed up his chance to see one of the Stones concerts this time around. "I figured I'd seen them before," he cracks. "Why waste me money?" (Unlike Jagger, however, Rod is not rushing ahead with a movie career because of what he admits is "fear of failing.")
As for Rod's mending his wicked ways, Alana concedes, "When he's on tour, I don't expect him to sit in his room and watch TV after a concert. There's nothing wrong with him going out for a drink with the boys." Stewart agrees, "I do enjoy men's company," then guffaws. "No, I am not a homosexual! I just like to get drunk and fall about. That's the only thing we row about."
Alana laughs when asked about reports that she is domineering, saying, "If there are rumors like that, they probably came from restaurants where I've sent food back." Seriously, she adds, "First of all, domineering I'm not. There's no way Rod would be henpecked, and there's no way I could respect a man who was. Our relationship wouldn't last if I was domineering. We're both strong personalities—to the point sometimes where it's not good, so strong-willed that we come against each other like brick walls." She adds, "I don't think I've tamed him. I could never respect a man like that." Rod concurs: "I don't think any woman could dominate me. There'll be no thumbprints on me forehead."
Stewart still takes a tongue-in-cheek pride in some of his worst excesses. "I like to think that we were among the forerunners in destroying hotel rooms," he chuckles, "but Alana does it too. When we get bad treatment, I've seen her throw a phone out the window. She's not as prim as she makes out to be. In fact, she's got a ferocious temper." "I am not spoiled," Alana explains. "I am grateful for what I've got, but I want things nice and clean in my hotel rooms." Rod agrees: "All you have to do is see the place she came from—20 square feet on a Texas farm. And people thought / had humble beginnings."
Raised on her grandmother's Nacogdoches, Texas farm, Alana says she was "lucky-to-have-enough-to-eat poor." She came to New York as a leggy Ford model and married Hamilton five years after they met. Four years later they divorced. "It wasn't a bad marriage," she recalls. "Not the kind that would scare me off the idea. We just grew apart. But I like having someone to share my life with."
She had been divorced almost two years when she met Rod. After they went together for six months, Alana says, "We decided to try for a baby and two months later I was pregnant. I feel strong about not having kids without getting married and so does Rod."
With her, Rod is as close to being a doting dad as he's likely to get. "I have things in perspective now," he says. "I don't cry anymore when my Scottish national soccer team loses. But if my son falls and breaks his tooth or something, that would mean a lot to me." He calls Alana a "great mother," though she admits a "tendency to be too soft" with the three kids "because I love them so much." He confesses he still finds it "hard to spend more than a half hour at a time with them." Notes Rod: "I really feel sorry for my two Irish setters, Samantha and Siv. I used to give them all my love when I was a bachelor and now they just don't get enough."
The Stewarts live in Rod's home of six years in the exclusive Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles, where neighbors include Barbra Streisand, Lucille Ball, Nancy Sinatra Sr. and, next door, Gregory Peck. Peck once told off a deliveryman complaining about a loud rehearsal, saying, "That happens to be Roderick Stewart. He happens to be my neighbor, and my wife and I are enjoying the music. Thank you very much." Says Rod: "I love him." For Alana, home life has made her onetime concern for just the right styles obsolete. "I'm not worrying about dresses and makeup anymore. Maybe having it all is another reason I don't care so much about those exteriors." (She'd like to return to acting but has no definite plans.)
Whatever else his daily routine involves, Rod always tracks down the U.K. soccer scores via phone calls to his dad, and the family recently flew to Belfast to attend a match. His closest pal is Elton John, and he is writing a book of poetry, of all things, with Rolling Stone Ron Wood (who once played with Rod in the old Faces group). "We don't go to Beverly Hills parties," Rod says. "I don't fit in." Because of his busy schedule, he has cut back on his three-times-a-week soccer games with expatriate Brits in L.A. Rod is selling off his once extensive stable of fancy cars, with the exception of his favorite, a flame-red Lamborghini. (A horrified Alana once watched Rod spin off a slick road in another red sports car and crash into a tennis court fence; he emerged without a scratch.)
Both of the Stewarts fret about raising and disciplining their children. "I would never change the way I was brought up," he says. "I was kicked out and played in the streets every day of the week. Sometimes I wonder if my son will miss that. You can't do that here. There are no streets. We don't really even live in a city. I don't know what Los Angeles is, but it isn't a city."
Alana says she doesn't want "any of our children to grow up expecting people to wait on them. I want to instill in them some sort of independence, so they don't think they're going to get everything on a silver platter all their lives. I want them to have respect for people and for money and understand that not everybody is as fortunate as they are, and learn to help those who aren't."
Rod is also setting some kind of example at the dinner table at home. Alana has always been health food conscious, "carrying my nuts around with me in bags when I was a model." But Rod admits he "was eating all the wrong foods. I was basically a very unhealthy person," he says. "Look what happened to Elvis. If you had said the word cholesterol to me six years ago, I would've said, 'What the hell are you talking about?' But now I'm eating vegetables and fruits, fish and chicken. Where I used to have five or six port brandies to give me energy, now it's just natural, and that can't be anything but good. I'm in amazing condition, if I do say so myself. I like being famous. I like the music I make, and I'm absolutely freer than I've ever been. I wouldn't change it for anything."
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