While Rod Stewart’s body of work is quite expansive, it’s his steamy personal life that seems to get all the attention.
1. He’s A Wild Child
With suggestive songs like “Tonight’s The Night”, Stewart pushed the boundaries of British taste. It was, however, behind the scenes where the real shenanigans took place. At the height of his fame, it was him, a yellow Lamborghini and a countless parade of models, centerfolds and actresses.
The racy stories are legendary, and the facts…well…let’s let them speak for themselves.
2. They Spoiled Him
When Rod Stewart was born in North London on January 10, 1945, it was at the beginning of WWII. Stewart’s father was a construction manager and his mother a housewife. As the very much youngest of five children, Stewart’s parents spoiled him rotten. Only an overindulged child could describe their childhood like this: he said it was “fantastically happy”—which made the road bumpy when he had to get serious about life.
3. He Had To Choose
There were two things that the Stewarts loved: Soccer and music. Luckily, Stewart exceled at soccer and was both skilled and aggressive. The family was also a huge fan of American singer Al Jolson. It was, however, someone else that got Stewart interested in rock music—Little Richard.
Stewart’s love of Little Richard led his father to buy him a guitar. Stewart had two passions and he was going to have to choose one.
4. They Never Called
When he was 15, Stewart made a drastic decision that would make most parents squeamish. He quit high school and pursued a career in playing soccer. Stewart tried out for a club called Brantford FC, which was in the third division back then. Some reports say the club wanted to take him on, but Stewart himself tells the sad truth.
After he tried out, they didn’t even have the decency to call him back. This made his choice easy: it was going to be music.
5. He Had A Weird Reason
Stewart wasn’t that disappointed that a career in soccer didn't pan out, and it was for a surprising reason. You see, he loved to drink, and so he thought that at least if you were a musician, you could drink as much as you wanted and it wouldn’t affect your career. With this in mind, he happily turned his back on sport and pursued a career in the only other thing he could do: singing.
What, however, were the odds that he would make any money in music?
6. He Delivered
Of course, singing wasn’t just going to start magically paying the bills right away. To make ends meet, Stewart worked in the family store. You see, dad had since quit working in construction and had bought a newspaper stand. The family lived above the shop, and Stewart became their delivery boy.
He was still a long way away from a singing career, and his next job was going to take him even further away.
7. He Was Morbid
After quitting as the family newspaper delivery guy, Stewart followed in his father’s footsteps but with a twist. Like his father, Stewart became a laborer, but it had an eerie twist. He worked in the cemetery. Stewart must have realized he had a thing for the newly deceased, because his next job got him even closer to the cadavers: it was in a funeral home.
Stewart may have been heading to a dark side for work, but he had not forgotten his goal: to be a famous singer.
8. He Covered His Ears And Screamed
At the age of 16, Stewart joined a band called The Raiders and they quickly got an audition with record producer Joe Meek. During the audition, Meek heard Stewart singing and did something no musician ever wants to experience. Meek ran into the studio covering his ears and screamed. The worst part? Meek wouldn’t stop screaming until Stewart left the studio.
Stewart likely hurried back to the funeral home to die of embarrassment—but he shouldn’t have.
9. He Shouldn’t Have Worried
Stewart was likely distraught by the experience with Meek, but there is reason to believe that the producer had no idea what he was talking about. You see, Meek ended up with a very bad track record. He astonishingly passed on working with both David Bowie and The Beatles.
About the Beatles, Meek said this: they were “a bunch of noise” and they just copied “other people’s music”. It likely didn’t matter to Stewart. He still felt rejected and it made him angry. So, how was he going to express his anger?
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10. He Was A Beatnik
Stewart moved on from his failed audition and became political. He protested against global nuclear aggression and even lived in a communal home full of beatniks. However, there was a disturbing side to all this altruism. Stewart later confessed he went to most protests just to meet women.
Well, he did indeed meet women and even settled down with one—but there were agonizing consequences.
11. He Did Nothing
In 1962, Stewart began a relationship with artist Suzannah Boffey, who he met at a nightclub. The relationship was obviously quite hot and heavy, as Boffey soon found herself pregnant. When it came time to do the right thing, the 17-year-old Stewart—supported by his family—chose to do…well…nothing. He didn’t want to be a husband, so he left Boffey on her own with a new baby.
Years later the true story about what happened to Boffey came out—and it’s heart wrenching.
12. He Was Cold
Fast forward to 2013, when Stewart wrote a song called “Brighton Beach”, which he said was about a real woman from his past. It didn’t take long to figure out the song was about the mother of his first child, Suzannah Boffey. When Boffey heard the song, she went ballistic. The lyrics state that their relationship didn’t last because of Boffey's father.
Boffey, however, remembers the truth: Stewart coldly walked away the minute he found out she was pregnant.
13. He Stopped Talking
While the song “Brighton Beach” romanticizes Stewart and Boffey’s experiences there, Boffey only has bad memories, as it was the beach where Stewart stopped talking to the pregnant teen. After Stewart left her, Boffey’s landlord heartlessly evicted her because she was unmarried and pregnant.
She ended up at a home for teenage mothers, where she did hard labor to pay for her keep. Boffey, however, still hoped that Stewart would return.
14. She Was All Alone
In November, 1963, Boffey ended up having the baby alone in Whittington Hospital in London. baby’s father did appear a little while after the birth. Was Stewart finally ready to accept his role of father? No—and he made her a twisted offer. He wanted to know if Boffey was willing to give up the baby for adoption and start dating again.
Although Boffey did eventually give her baby up for adoption, she wasn’t willing to do it for Stewart. This was one ruined life Stewart left behind—and it wouldn’t be the last.
15. He Got Kicked Out
After this failed relationship, Stewart focused on his music again. He was now singing folk music and busking around London. With folk singer Wizz Jones, he went to Paris and Barcelona. It was in Barcelona that he met up with trouble.
Since he was living under bridges and other random places, officials assumed he was a vagrant and gave him the boot.
16. He Watched From Backstage
A few years earlier, Rod Stewart had taken up the harmonica—which was now going to pay off big time. He joined a band called the Dimensions and used his singing and harmonica skills with them. While with this band, Stewart had a rare opportunity. You see, the Dimensions had gigs at the same venue as a hugely popular band: The Rolling Stones.
Stewart hung out backstage and watched Mick Jagger do his special thing. This was a huge inspiration for Stewart: He knew he wanted to be a rock star. Sadly, Stewart’s own fame was still a ways away.
17. It Was A Chance Meeting
By 1964, Stewart still hadn’t found success and was playing his harmonica at the Twickenham railway station. He’d just seen a show featuring musician Long John Baldry. As it turned out, Baldry himself wandered into the station and heard Stewart playing his harmonica. That was all Baldry needed to hear: he asked Stewart to play harmonica for his band.
But it wasn’t just the harmonica, when Baldry heard Stewart sing, he was ready to sign him up permanently.
18. He Was A Star
Rod Stewart went from All Stars with Long John Baldry to the Jeff Beck Group in 1967. He then moved on to Faces in 1969. Stewart was officially a rock star and enjoyed everything that came with the title. Of course, this meant women. Stewart later said that by the time he’d joined Faces, he had no idea how many women he’d taken to his bed.
As it happened, some of them turned out to be very famous faces.
19. She Had No Idea
One of the many women Stewart had been with was Dame Joanna Lumley from TV’s Absolutely Fabulous fame. Lumley was at this time only an up and coming actor, and should have been star struck upon meeting Stewart. There was just one hilarious problem. When she met him, she didn’t know which rock star he was.
Lumley admits to having “face blindness,” but accepted when Steward asked her on a date.
20. He Was Intimidated
Lumley says that Stewart was wonderful, and she shared a story about his good nature. While in one of his very fast cars, Lumley suggested that Stewart race past some of the slower cars that were ahead of them. Stewart kindly explained he wouldn’t, and that it was rude to do that just because one had a faster car.
The two dated until Stewart became intimidated by Lumley: her accent was too posh compared to his North London one. Stewart was single once again: and he was about to lose his band as well.
21. He Was A Hit
At this time, Rod Stewart was still performing with Faces, but it was starting to look like they would be calling it quits soon. When Faces did break up in 1975, Stewart was ready for a solo career. His first hit single, “Sailing” was a huge hit in the UK and the Netherlands, but this ballad went virtually unknown in the US. That didn’t matter.
He was a hit in his own country and partying with famous people.
22. He Met A Bond Girl
By this time, Stewart was making friends with celebrities, and one of them was the sultry author and actor Joan Collins. Like any good friend, Collins had someone she wanted to set Stewart up with. This was Swedish born actress Britt Ekland, who had just done a stint as a “Bond Girl” in The Man with the Golden Gun. It was an instant attraction, and Stewart and Ekland were soon setting up house together.
23. He Needed Inspiration
While Stewart was with Ekland, he was looking for some inspiration for a new song. When Stewart thought about his Swedish star girlfriend, his mind would often wander to their bedroom activities. With that in mind, Stewart penned one of his biggest and most sultry hits: “Tonight’s the Night”—and some of the lyrics were sketchy.
In the song, he calls Ekland his “virgin child” which may not have been true, as she’d already been married to Pink Panther actor Peter Sellers.
24. He Made It Big
Rod Stewart still hadn’t made it big in the US, but he was sure his sultry song “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” was sure to get him the recognition he thought he deserved. Well, it worked. This innuendo laden song shot to number one in the US and Canada. He had Ekland to thank for making him an international singing star, but he thanked her in a weird and heartless way.
25. She Wasn’t Enough
During their time together, Ekland made one big mistake. She introduced Stewart to a beautiful friend of hers—actor Susan George. Apparently, having one of the most beautiful women in the world as your girlfriend wasn’t quite enough for Stewart. He had an affair with George and it ended his relationship with Ekland—though Stewart himself tells a different story about why they broke up.
He says that Ekland tried putting makeup on him and it didn’t sit well with his “macho” persona. I think I’m on team Ekland on this one.
26. He Was Too Young
Shortly after his relationship with Ekland, Stewart started something up with another blonde model. This was Alana Collins, who had previously been married to actor George Hamilton. Something was working with this relationship, and they decided to take it to the next logical step: marriage.
Both Stewart and Collins were 34 at this time, but Stewart’s father thought that his son was still too young to be a husband.
27. He Became A Dad
Later, Stewart did end up agreeing with his father. He said he wished he’d done more partying before marrying Collins. Despite dad’s warning, the wedding went ahead as planned. Soon after, they had a daughter together, Kimberly Stewart and then a son, Sean. So was dad right? Was he too young to settle down?
Well, Stewart’s father was right on the money. Stewart soon took up with yet another blonde model—Kelly Emberg.
28. He Was A Coward
Stewart’s relationship with Sports Illustrated model Emberg proved to be the end of his marriage to Collins, who later said that the divorce devastated her. The fact that Emberg was 15 years younger than her didn’t help Collins’ self-esteem one bit. For his part, Stewart admits that he was a coward when breaking up with the women in his life.
And what would the future hold for Steward and Emberg? Well, it was about to be “deja vu all over again”.
29. He Had A Rep
Rod Stewart was starting to get a bit of a reputation. He obviously liked tall blonde models, which I guess is a sort of no-brainer. There was, however, one thing he didn’t appear to care for. It was fatherhood. Once Emberg got pregnant, their relationship was soon over and Stewart was looking for the next hot partner.
Before he started shopping for his next wife, however, he had some time for fun in between.
30. He Didn’t Make her Breakfast
Rod Stewart has frequently recounted how often he took women to his bed. At one time he had a yellow Lamborghini and he would drive into London—which was about a 45 minute haul from his Windsor home—just to pick up women at his club of choice: Tramp. One time he met a woman at Tramp, drove her back to Windsor for some fun, and then drove her right back to the nightclub—without even making her breakfast.
Stewart’s callousness that night, however, didn’t stop there.
31. He Went Back for More
When he got back to the nightclub and dropped the woman off, he just couldn’t help but go inside the club again—and make the story twice as scandalous. Before long he was back in his Lamborghini and driving back to Windsor with his second woman of the night. For some reason Stewart thinks the following makes the story more acceptable: he waited until the next morning to do it with the second woman. What a gentleman!
How long could one man keep up this level of partying? A long time, apparently.
32. It Saved Him
Rod Stewart did have his own moral code—if you can call it that. When asked how, considering his debauched lifestyle, he managed to live to such an old age, Stewart said it was two things that saved him: his love of soccer and women. These were the two things that kept him from the addictions that plague many musicians.
In his eyes, if you overindulged with drug or drink, you couldn't perform well on the soccer field or in the bedroom.
33. He Was Terrible
Stewart is pretty realistic about how he gets so many women to go to bed with him. He knows it's because he’s a celebrity. He also knows and admits something else—that he was terrible to most of the women. In his own defense, he says that he is no different than most men. He reckons if any other man was in his situation—where he literally had to peel women off of him—they’d do the same.
Okay Rod, I get it. Women loved you. But the big question is: did any of them ever say no?
34. She Wouldn’t Give Up
Stewart does admit to being rejected—well, only once. He was pursuing a Brazilian actress and she just kept saying “No thanks Rod”. Stewart would not give up and relentlessly pursued her. He wasn’t successful with this unnamed beauty, but Stewart says that he later found out she was a lesbian. Or maybe that’s just the excuse she gave to get rid of him? I guess we’ll never know.
Stewart was soon over the Brazilian and on to blonde number…wait, I’ve lost count.
35. There Was A Problem
The next blonde model on Stewart’s list was New Zealander Rachel Hunter, who he met in a Los Angeles nightclub. Hunter’s height and blondeness ticked some boxes for Stewart, but she was a little young: she was only 21 when he met her. There was another, more serious problem though.
At the time, Hunter was already living with her boyfriend musician Kip Winger, who played with shock rocker Alice Cooper. Could Stewart get Hunter to drop her boyfriend?
36. He Talked About His Banana
Once Hunter met and got to know Stewart, she quickly dumped Winger. Just three months after meeting, Stewart and Hunter walked down the aisle. Stewart was sure that Hunter was the one. He crudely told reporters that he had “put [his] last banana in the fruit bowl”. Two kids followed shortly after the wedding: Renee in 1992 and Liam in 1994.
When the relationship ended in 1999, you might think it was Stewart doing a typical run once kids were in the picture. This, however, was not actually how things went.
37. His Heart Got Broken
Stewart often brags that Hunter was the one woman that he did not cheat on. In fact, it was Hunter who wanted out of being Mrs Rod Stewart. It turned out that she wasn’t one to play the celebrity game, and just wanted to be a regular person. Her decision to walk broke Stewart’s heart. Hunter may not have wanted to play the celebrity game, but she ended up playing another one: she went on to have relationships with two Canadian hockey players.
And as for Stewart? He took a shower and moved on to another tall blonde.
38. She Towered Over Him
In 1999, Stewart was set to go on tour. The tour needed a photographer, so Stewart—or at least one of his minions—hired Penny Lancaster. The thing was, Lancaster wasn’t only a photographer, she was also a model. Lancaster is as tall as a basketball player and towered over the rather diminutive Stewart. This didn’t matter one bit.
The two hit it off and a romance soon began.
39. He Took Her On A Spree
Rod Stewart was clearly smitten with Lancaster, but he had to convince her that he was worthy of her love. To show how much he cared, he walked her into designer store Dolce & Gabbana and said she could buy herself a new wardrobe. By the time they left the store, Stewart’s bill was sitting at £12,000 ($20,000). But he had one creepy stipulation for the “gift”.
He told her she could only wear the outfits when they were together. Well, Lancaster was pretty easily convinced. Now how about her family?
40. His Reputation Preceded Him
Considering Stewart’s reputation as a ladies’ man, it’s not surprising that Lancaster’s family was hesitant to get on board with a union with Stewart. Dad was not happy and neither was her brother, Oliver. In fact, Oliver was pretty sure that Lancaster—if she took up with Stewart—would end up an addict or sick from disease.
Oliver did eventually come around, enough to even accept a job offer from Stewart.
41. He Was Ready To Be Proper
In 2005, Stewart and Lancaster had a child together, Alastair, born in 2005. Two years after Alastair’s birth, instead of running the other way, Stewart walked down the aisle a third and—so far anyway—final time. They tied the knot in Portofino, Italy and soon had another child. This was Aiden Stewart, and he was Stewart’s eighth child. It seemed that Stewart was finally ready to be a proper father.
But what about all the kids that Stewart had before? Well, one was about to come back and haunt him.
42. He Got A Surprise Visit
In 2007, Stewart was in a recording studio in LA with his bandmates when he got a call from the reception desk that made his blood run cold. The person on the phone said that there was a young woman there that claimed to be Stewart’s daughter. Stewart was wary, and so he sent his band mate out to see who this woman was.
Jim Cregan went into the reception area and stopped in his tracks. What he saw was not at all what he’d expected.
43. She Was In A Song
Likely Cregan—and Stewart himself—expected the woman claiming to be Stewart’s daughter was a fake. When Cregan saw the woman’s face he knew immediately that she was telling the truth. She looked just like Stewart. When Stewart met Sarah Streeter, he realized that her mother was the woman he wrote about in his hit song “Maggie May”.
44. She Had A Tough Time
Sadly, Stewart’s illegitimate daughter had had a tough life, and she’d had problems with both drink and drug addiction. Then her adoptive parents eventually told her who her real father was. Actually it was easy—all they had to do was point to the man on the poster on her bedroom wall. Streeter couldn’t believe it. Her father was a rock star. When her adoptive mother passed, Sarah Streeter decided to reach out to her famous father.
Streeter said that her relationship with her dad was difficult. Over the years, however, it has become more “relaxed”. She now feels like a part of the family. Which makes us wonder, however, if Streeter knows the true depths of her dad’s depravity.
45. He Had A Night With Sailors
In 2012, Stewart went on Katie Couric’s show Katie, where he faced an embarrassing question. Couric wanted to know if a certain urban legend that had been spreading about the singer for years was actually true. The rumor was that Stewart had had a gay and lustful night with a group of sailors. After playing and partying with the men, Stewart ended up at the ER and had to get his stomach pumped.
Once Couric had asked the question, the world waited for his answer.
46. He Wanted Revenge
Stewart began his answer to Couric’s question by saying that he is “as heterosexual as they come”. He then went on to explain the roots of the story. It seemed that Stewart had once hired a gay publicist and had to fire him for doing something despicable—although Stewart wouldn't say what it was. To get his revenge, the publicist started this rumor about the sailors. And how can we verify this story? Well, talk to the publicist of course.
Unfortunately, that’s impossible as Stewart says that he is now deceased. The thing is, Stewart is actually proud of some of the tales about him.
47. He’s Proud
While stories about partying with sailors seem like an embarrassment to Stewart, he seemed oddly proud of the other stories that circulate about him. In his book, Rod: The Autobiography, Stewart claims that while he was dating a centerfold model, he was cheating with—you guessed it—another centerfold model. Steward is also strangely proud of the fact that while he was cheating on his first wife with Kelly Emberg, he was also cheating on Emberg.
So, what was it exactly that made Stewart such a hit with the ladies?
48. He Has A Line
When Stewart wants to chat up a woman that he finds attractive, he turns to the same pick-up line he’s used for years. He swears that it works, but to be honest I’m not seeing it. The line is: “Hello darlin’— what you got in that handbag”? I’m thinking this line only works when you are a very rich and well-known pop star.
Surely, Stewart has learned something from a lifetime of playing the field.
49. He Has Some Words Of Wisdom
In the end, Rod Stewart has been married three times and has eight children. Of course, there were also—in his own words—countless other women he had relationships with. So, what did Stewart learn about marriage and relationships over the course of his lifetime?
He recently summed up what he would do if he ever found himself single again. He said: “Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house”.
50. It’s The Beginning Of The End
There are some signs that Rod Stewart may be nearing the end of his career. In November of 2021, Stewart appeared on the wildly popular The Graham Norton Show wearing a black sequin jacket of questionable taste. Norton introduced Stewart’s song and mentioned there would be a band performing it. The “band” consisted solely of musicians that looked like women—let’s be frank—Stewart would be interested in hooking up with.
The online crowd was ruthless. One saying that it was “the worst thing I have seen in quite some time”.