Here at Celebrity Scribe, I’m always looking for nuggets of gold, pearls of wisdom that will make me smarter and happier.
Yesterday I was in a reflective mood. Yesterday, Paul McCartney, who I fell madly in love with at the pubescent age of 13, married his girlfriend of four years, Nancy Shevell, on what would have been John Lennon’s 71st birthday (October 9, 2011).
Paul’s marital choices say a lot about the person he is. As I look back over The Long and Winding Road he has traveled, I’ve been able to extract some valuable lessons from him about love, loss, and life.
During the height of Beatlemania 1963-1969, Paul McCartney was the world’s most sought-after bachelor. With his mop-top haircut, soulful eyes, and impish grin, he could have had anyone he wanted. So what kind of woman finally captured his heart?
Thankfully, Paul didn’t choose someone who would be classified as arm candy—the superficial, shallow type who is wrapped up in her looks and nothing else.
Instead he married rock and roll photographer Linda Eastman—an American divorcee with a six-year-old daughter named Heather. She wasn’t what Paul’s fans expected. Linda seldom wore make-up. She wasn’t posh, stylish, or interested in the latest fashion trends. According to Paul, the very structure of her face was beautiful; she didn’t need makeup.
The couple got married on March 12, 1969, when Linda was four months pregnant. It wasn’t the kind of wedding millions of girls would dream of having if they were to wed Paul McCartney, who was considered British rock royalty. It was a civil ceremony at the Old Marylebone Town Hall. The bride did not wear a wedding gown. She was quite happy to trade fluff for substance.
LIFE LESSON: Though I was brokenhearted when Paul got married, it was comforting knowing he chose an unpretentious, down-to-earth woman, who knew who she was. That was the attraction. That’s not to say Linda didn’t have insecurities, especially when she received so much criticism from Paul’s fans. But she didn’t care if people liked her. She didn’t try to measure up to anyone else’s standards. We could all use that kind of self-confidence.
Linda wasn’t seeking the spotlight, though she was thrust into it when she married the adorable Beatle. Some videos show how uncomfortable she was being interviewed, which is why she often came across as aloof or flippant. Linda preferred being behind the lens rather than in front of it.
Someone else may have thought that marrying Paul McCartney meant living a lavish lifestyle, but Linda liked the simple life. This clip gives you a glimpse of what it was like at the McCartney’s small farmhouse in rural Scotland, where they enjoyed being a normal family— spending time with their kids, their sheepdog, Martha, horse-back riding, romping along the seashore, and tending to the goats and sheep.
The most important things to Linda were her family; her involvement in the vegetarian and animal abuse movement, and her photography. She wrote several vegetarian cookbooks, started a line of frozen meatless meals, which are still sold in the UK, and supported organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Sadly in 1995, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Photos show her wearing scarves to hide her bald head from chemotherapy. No wigs, no pretense. She wore a smile, held her head high, and through it all the man who loved her stood by her side.
Babe, you are not ‘bald and beautiful,’ but beautiful and bald. In other words, you are not beautiful despite being bald, but a beautiful woman who just happens to be bald. You make the look — the look does not make you.”– RJ, Co-founder of Alopecia World
Paul was devastated when Linda passed away in Tucson, Arizona on April 17, 1998. She was only 56 years old. They had been together for 29 years, and out of that loving relationship came timeless songs like Maybe I”m Amazed, Silly Love Songs, and My Love that will forever remind us of her.
LIFE LESSON: It’s ironic that Paul’s mother Mary, who he sings about in the song “Let It Be,” also died from breast cancer on October 31, 1956 when Paul was 14. I think the lesson is that money or fame cannot save you. Life is precious, so appreciate it. Take care of your body, which is an irreplaceable, magnificent machine.
After Linda died, Paul, and daughters Mary and Stella put together a retrospective of Linda’s photographs from her archive of over 200,000 images. The book and the photo exhibit are called Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs.
Four years after Linda’s death, Paul married Heather Mills. I’m not going to say anything, other than it was obvious Paul was still grieving and wanted to be in love again. They met at a charity event when Paul presented an award to an animal rights activist and received an award in Linda’s honor.
The couple was married on June 11, 2002, in an elaborate ceremony at Castle Leslie in the village of Glaslough in County Monaghan, Ireland.
Once again, Paul did not marry a glamorous woman. In fact, Heather Mills was an amputee, who lost part of her leg in 1993, at the age of twenty-five, when she was struck by a police motorbike while crossing the street.
In October 2003 Heather gave birth to Beatrice Milly McCartney, and the couple separated in 2006.
It was a difficult time for Paul, who was experiencing a different type of pain. Perhaps he felt like a Nowhere Man or a Fool on the Hill, but his Hard Day’s Night came to an end when the divorce was finalized on May 12, 2008.
LIFE LESSON: In a world where women get depressed over a couple of wrinkles and a few extra pounds, where wealthy men often trade their long-time spouses for younger trophy wives, Paul McCartney looked beyond the physical and married an amputee. The man I had a crush on as a young girl is a man of compassion and empathy. He can see beyond a woman’s physical beauty to the beauty she radiates from within. You make us proud Paul.
And here we are present day, and Paua l has found love once again. Coincidence perhaps that he’s married a woman with similarities to Linda—both American, both Jewish. Or perhaps Linda had a hand in it.
Nancy Shavell was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early thirties around the same time Linda was battling the disease. She even set up a breast cancer research center in the Hamptons, where she and Paul both had homes. They were introduced by Nancy’s second cousin, Barbara Walters, and despite their 17-year age difference, the two started going out in November 2007 and got married in 2011.
It must have been a very happy, yet nostalgic day for Paul when he and Nancy married in the same Old Marylebone Town Hall he and Linda had married in back in 1969. It was as if Linda was there in spirit. Once again it was a simple affair.
LIFE LESSON: Nancy Shevell is worth an estimated $400 million. If she wanted to, she could have had a more elaborate wedding than a ceremony at town hall, followed by a small reception at Paul’s home in St. John’s Wood. Though she was married once before, Nancy could have worn an extravagant gown, instead of a simple, classic, white, knee-length dress designed by her step-daughter, Stella McCartney.
For those who feel bad because they can’t afford an over-the-top Kim Kardashian style wedding, remember the marriage is more important than the wedding.
It was touching that Paul and Nancy got married on John Lennon’s birthday. It was as if love came full circle and those lost were remembered and held close.
Like Linda, Nancy doesn’t want to be in the spotlight. She turned down a piece in Vogue in 2011, and explained why. “I’m over 50. I work. I not very social, and I have a small group of girlfriends. There really isn’t much to talk about.”
Despite this, Paul hasn’t been shy about sharing his love for his wife on social media. He regularly posts photos of them with their rescue dog Rose. On their ninth wedding anniversary, he shared a heart-warming message.
Nancy, you are my rock and roll, my A side and B side, my verse and chorus. I love you. Paul.”
Paul has known the pain of losing his mom when he was 14 and his wife when he was 57. He’s lost his childhood friends and band mates, George and John. I am happy for him. He’s been lucky in love, probably because he chose women of substance.
I am blessed that I found my soulmate, Steven, and we got married on Paul’s birthday, June 18. One thing I know is that you can make it through the hard times. All you need is love!
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