He’s been married three times and has eight children by five different women, but even Rod Stewart gets his heart broken sometimes
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He’s a world famous rock star with a fortune of over £200 million – but even Rod Stewart gets dumped sometimes.
The Do Ya Think I’m Sexy singer has eight children, aged between 10 and 57, and is now happily married to third wife Penny Lancaster.
But it took the 76-year-old a while to get over second wife Rachel Hunter, who famously walked out on him back in 1999.
Rod met Rachel at a Los Angeles nightclub in 1990 and there was instant chemistry between them. At the time he was 45 and she was just 21.
After recognising New Zealand supermodel Rachel – who was already famous herself – from an aerobics video, Rod imitated her workout moves on the dancefloor to win her over.
It worked and following a whirlwind romance, Rod popped the question in an LA park just three weeks later.
After a lavish wedding, the couple went on to welcome daughter Renee, now 29, and son, Liam, now 27.
But Rachel made the shock decision to leave Rod in 1999 – leaving him completely heartbroken.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Rod told the Mail On Sunday ’s Weekend magazine.
“I was a rock star. You don’t dump a rock star! It knocked me for six. It was a huge shock.”
The rocker says in hindsight the 26-year age difference played a big part in why their relationship broke down.
“She was just 21 when we married and a mum a year later. My sister Mary told me she was too young for me as we were walking down the aisle. And she was right.”
Writing in his autobiography Rod: The Autobiography of Rod Stewart, the singer revealed that when he met Rachel he was still in a relationship with model Kelly Emberg (the mother of his daughter Ruby).
He was even planning to propose to Kelly, and had already hired a plane so he could pop the question.
But the night before he could act out his elaborate plan, Rod met Rachel and there was a “connection straight away”.
Rod wrote: “She was extremely beautiful, but there was something no-nonsense about her as well. It was there in her New Zealand accent, but also in her face, which was open and smart.”
Another draw for Rod was that Rachel, who was gracing magazine covers around the world, was famous in her own right, which assured him she wasn’t with him for his money or status.
In a 2001 interview with the Mirror, Rachel admitted that despite looking like they were living a fairy-tale life from the outside, she was making plans to leave Rod.
She said: “To the outside world I was the mother of two beautiful kids, a wife to Rod and a successful model without any financial worries – but inside, I was in torment.
“By the time I was 29, I had spent eight years with someone else’s group of friends.
“In the nine years were together, I’d never done anything for myself. If you’d asked me then what I liked or didn’t like, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I didn’t even have a hobby.”
The model said like a lot of women who marry young and became mothers in their twenties, she felt like she no longer had an identity. “I was nothing.”
Even though she left him, Rachel says Rod was a “great dad and a good lover”. At the time of their split she still called him the love of her life.
Describing their relationship as fiery and tempestuous but always fun, she said: “I loved his sense of humour. He’s living proof that a man can laugh you into bed.”
But the model, who is now 52, says she needed to break Rod’s heart in order to free her own.
“I can remember thinking: ‘Here I am, approaching 30’ and ‘Oh, s***, what am I doing with my life? “I knew very definitely in that instant that I didn’t want to get to that age and have any regrets about what I’ve done or not done. It gave me the impetus to move on.”
When Rachel eventually broke the news to Rod, it came as a bombshell to the rock star.
“He was distraught,” she says. “I’ll take to the grave the pain that I caused Rod. I hurt the one person I loved and cared about, and that’s a hard thing to live with on a daily basis.”
Rod revealed he was so heartbroken he lost over a stone in weight and couldn’t do anything for four months.
He said: “I felt cold all the time. I took to lying on the sofa in the day, with a blanket over me and holding a hot water bottle against my chest. I knew then why they call it heartbroken: you can feel it in your heart. I was distracted, almost to the point of madness.”
In a bid to cope, Rod went to therapy and even took up yoga before meeting his current wife, Penny.
They married in 2007 and have two children together, Alastair, now 15, and 10-year-old Aiden.
Rod is also dad to Sarah, 57, from a relationship he had as a teenager; Kimberley, 42, and Sean, 41, from his marriage to US actress and model Alana Collins; and Ruby, 34, from his relationship with model Kelly Emberg.
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