Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall Vow to Spend Their Lives—Not Just the Night—Together, While Bill Wyman Divorces
Ironically, the very next day, 7,800 miles away, fellow Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, 54, said he was breaking up with his wife, not-very-postadolescent model Mandy Smith, 20. Ironically (again), their marriage 17 months ago, after a courtship that started when Mandy was 13, was one of the most popular As the Stone Rolls episodes ever. In recent years only the annual "Mick & Keith: How're We Doin'?" episodes have had higher ratings.
True ATSR fans might regard the latest plot twists as inevitable. It was in 1977 that Hall, the Texas-born, onetime fiancée of British rocker Bryan Ferry, first tiptoed out with Jagger. Jagger was in the midst of a bruising—and expensive—breakup with first wife Bianca Jagger (ATSR fans with VCRs may wish to refresh their memories by renting the award-winning "Nicaraguan Holiday!" episode). At the time, Jagger's marital sentiments ("Doing it more than once is a waste of time") seemed in line with Jerry's; she told a reporter, "I don't want to marry. I want the option of being able to pack my bags and take off."
Four years later Hall changed her tune. Miffed at Jagger's reluctance to wed or be a daddy again (he had already fathered two daughters, Karis, now 20, with singer Marsha Hunt, and Jade, 19, with Bianca), Hall decamped for several months before Jagger's pleading brought her back (see "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," 1982).
What kept Mick asking for more? Hall, revealing her heavy-artillery secrets, once said, "I do all that stuff to liven up the bedroom. You know, suspenders and all that." The suspenders, or whatever, must have worked. Daughter Elizabeth Scarlett was born in 1984 and son James in 1985. In early '87, just after her acquittal on a marijuana charge in Barbados (the famous "Trouble in Paradise" episode), Jerry claimed victory. "He's asked me [to marry him] so many times," she said. "Now it's different. We've definitely set a date, and it will be soon." The following year, appearing in a New Jersey summer-stock production of Bus Stop, she was still waiting. "The M word," she groaned. "Golly, I'm tryin'! Would y'all quit rubbin' it in?"
The breakthrough came this January. "For the first time, we both think marriage is a good idea," Hall announced in London. Jagger, who was working in the Caribbean, didn't offer a denial. But it wasn't until the close of the Stones' 18-month world tour in August that Jagger whisked his family off for a tour of the Far East, and for reasons not yet clear, evidently hit a Bali high. Attended by their two kids and Stones tour director Alan Dunn, the peripatetic duo said their "I dos" before a Balinese priest. They then devoted 36 hours to a quickie honeymoon, after which Hall returned to their London home, while Jagger jetted to the States. "Apart from signing the marriage certificate and having a priest there, the situation remains the same," says Mick's mum, Eva Jagger, 77. "We're very fond of her. To me, she has always been a daughter anyway."
At about the time Hall was' breathing an international sigh of relief, Stones bassist Bill Wyman said through a spokesman that his unusual union with Mandy Smith was kaput. Theirs, too, had been a long-standing liaison. In 1984 Wyman bedded the 13-year-old Mandy. "I knew it was a crazy thing, and I know I was at fault," he recently told an interviewer. "My emotions took over, and from that day onward I've been accused of being a pedophile." (The notorious "Hi-ho, Humbert!" episode, from this period, is recommended only for mature audiences.)
There had been rumors of trouble in the marriage ever since Mandy's mum, Patsy, accompanied the pair on their honeymoon. Postsplit, the British tabloids presented His and Hers theories to explain the parting.
His: Wyman, after spending only five days with his bride since the June 1989 ceremony, finally lost patience with the "mysterious wasting disease" that has kept Mandy in a London hospital since the summer. (The illness, which left her stick thin, was clearly serious, though of late she seems to be improving.)
Hers: Mandy was stung by Wyman's seeming preference for life on the road to staying at home with her. (Publicly at least, Wyman's rep as a ladies' man—he once boasted of having slept with a thousand women—did not figure into the split. As the Stone Rolls covered that territory in the "Love the One You're With" episode.)
In all it was a dizzying week, even by ATSR standards. "I'm very sad for Bill and very happy for Mick," said one friend close to both. "Both situations were prophetic and predictable. There was a tragic inevitability about the one, and a relative certainty about the other." The friend didn't specify, but it is hoped the latter reference was to the newlyweds.
As with any soap opera, apparent answers only raise new questions. Will Mick and Jerry find true happiness? Will Mandy return to modeling? Will Keith Richards—where is Keith, anyway?—finally get some color in his cheeks?
Susan Schindehette, Laura Sanderson Healy in London