Shirley Ann Watts, a former art student and noted Arabian horse breeder who knew drummer Charlie Watts long before he joined the Rolling Stones, has died. She and he formed one of rock’s most enduring marriages. She was 84 years old.
“Shirley passed away peacefully on Friday 16th December in Devon after a short illness surrounded by her family,” her family announced on Monday 19th December. Ronnie Wood, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, was among those mourning her, the magazine reported. board.
“You will be greatly missed but reunited with your beloved Charlie,” Wood wrote on Facebook.
A whole life together
While Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had more wives and girlfriends, Charlie and Shirley Watts they remained together for over 50 yearsuntil Charlie’s death in 2021.
His only known crisis occurred in the mid-1980s, when Charlie Watts struggled with his heroin addiction, a time he would later say nearly cost him his marriage. Otherwise he considered himself devoted to his wife and daughter Seraphina.
“I’ve always wanted to be a drummer and as long as I’m comfortable with my wife, I’ll continue to do that,” he told the magazine. rolling stones in 1996.
When Charlie wasn’t touring or recording, he and his family lived on a 600-acre 16th-century estate in Devon, where they were best known for their Polish Arabian horses and animal rescue, far more than the singular The Drummer’s Place in The History of Rock.
According to Charlie, his wife had a warm relationship with Jagger and Richards and, unlike him, listened to Stones music at home. But Shirley herself expressed mixed feelings and told Vanity Fair in 1989 that the band’s drug use affected his life “very, very deeply” and that otherwise, he didn’t like the world of rock stars.
“It was scary enough to be thrown into the life of the Rolling Stones“he said. “I’ve been really lost for about 25 years and I’ve never been able to get over it. There’s been a lot of anger, much of it very, very deep. I like the people in the group, to some extent. But I’ve always hated the way rock music and its world treat women and especially the attitude of the Rolling Stones. There’s no respect, “Shirley could say.
Shirley Ann Shepherd was born in London in 1938 and was studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art in the early 1960s when she first saw her future husband, who at the time was part of England’s emerging blues and jazz scene which also included Jagger and Richards. They were already dating when Watts joined the Stones in early 1963 and they married the following year, just by which time the band had established themselves as second only to the Beatles in local popularity.
“She was so funny and smart, and had the most infectious laugh you’ve ever heard,” Charlie Watts said of her when interviewed by Keeper in 2000. “And I loved the world that I was in, the world of art and sculpture. I really admired Shirley.”
The biggest scandal of their marriage was their decision to get married. Rock star marriages at the time were considered bad business, a turn on for young female fans: The Beatles’ John Lennon was among those shunned when questioned by reporters about his domestic life.
Without informing the other Stones, the Watts were married in Bradford and had a leisurely lunch at a nearby pub. According to Charlie is fine tonight from Paul Sexton, a 2022 biography of the late drummer co-authored by his family, Charlie Watts initially denied being married, telling the Daily Express that it would “do a lot of damage to my career if the story gets out”.
But Shirley happily confirmed the news, saying they couldn’t “bear living apart any longer.”
Arrest and battle against alcoholism
Neither Charlie nor Shirley liked to draw attention to themselves, but sometimes they did anyway. shirley watts he was arrested at Nice airport in 1971 for attacking customs officials after they reportedly attracted the attention of her husband. In 2016, she threatened to sue Polish government officials over alleged mistreatment of two Arabian mares at a state farm.
shirley watts he has also endured a battle with alcoholism, one he helped overcome with hours of sculpting horses and dogs. The Watts’ shared interest in horses grew from collecting figurines to breeding hundreds of Arabian horses, a passion that began after Charlie purchased a thoroughbred stallion for his wife.
“I much prefer my life here with horses. I love hunting. The feeling of power you get on a horse,” he said Vanity Fair. “It’s a very primitive instinct. When you hear the hounds call it the music, when you hear the hounds music it’s haunting, it’s so exciting. And it affects both you and the horse. There is no such thing. It’s dangerous. It is exciting.”
He added, laughing, “It looks like a rock ‘n’ roll concert.”
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.