By the time Keith Richards met Patti Hansen, The Rolling Stones guitarist had already been married once and had three children. But once he saw the American model dancing at Studio 54, he was immediately in love. “I didn’t see her again for a while, but the vision stayed in my mind,” the musician wrote in his memoir “Life” (via Harper’s Bazaar).
When the two did indeed meet again, that’s when their love story truly began. Over four decades later, the couple have two daughters, Theodore and Alexandra, and five grandchildren. “I don’t care how cool and hip and whatever you think you are,” Richards told GQ. “You get down the line, baby, what counts is family. This is what I did it for.”
But how exactly did a constantly touring rock star and a very busy model have the time to build such a stable and solid relationship, as well as raise a family?
Keith says there was "life before Patti and life after"
When Richards and Hansen first met in 1979, he was immediately taken by her. “I was set up to see her, but it worked. I didn’t know if she knew she was set up to see me,” he said in an interview with Vanity Fair. “The moment I saw Patti, we looked at each other, and I said, ‘Hello, something’s happening to me.'”
But for Hansen, it was different altogether. She was more concerned about getting back to the dance floor after Richards gave her a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t until Hansen went to Richard’s 36th birthday party that they were finally on the same page (via Harper’s Bazaar). “When Patti and I met it was just . . . boom,” Richards described (via Vanity Fair). “There was life before Patti and life after. We just clicked, and she rescued me from, shall we say, dark periods . . . without going into too much detail.”
While the model agrees somewhat, she makes it clear that she “joined in on Keith’s frenzy too” due to the time period. “It was the ’70s, so we can’t say it was all Keith” (via Harper’s Bazaar). However, she did note that Richards promised her mom that he’d take care of her. “So if I ever got really thin running around with him, he would take me off, put some weight on me,” Hansen explained. “Keith promised my mom he would take care of me, and he did.”
Keith made dozens of mixtapes for Patti as "his method of communication"
The couple cemented their relationship in 1983, after Richards proposed to Hansen in Cabo San Lucas. According to the musician, as Harper’s Bazaar notes, Hansen said yes straight away and she “jumped on his back and broke his toe.” Although the model has a slightly differing recollection of those events, and was quick to point out that he asked her twice before she agreed to marry him.
Throughout their relationship, Richards would constantly demonstrate his love for Hansen through making her things like mixtapes and art. “Keith was constantly making me mix tapes, and he would do beautiful drawings on them. That was his method of communication,” the model remembered fondly. “I have everything in boxes. Thousands of those tapes. I’ve saved everything” (via Harper’s Bazaar).
Now in their 70s and 60s, Hansen describes them as the ultimate “old married couple” (via Harper’s Bazaar). But how have they stayed together for so long? “I guess we’ve beaten what takes out most people,” Hansen concluded.
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