25 Years Ago: Bill Wyman Marries 18-Year-Old Mandy Smith
Bill Wyman spent almost three decades as the bassist for the Rolling Stones before leaving the group in the early-’90s, playing on their most celebrated albums and songs. Suffice to say that he never generated as many headlines for his mastery of the bass as he did when the-then 52-year old Wyman married 18-year old Mandy Smith on June 2, 1989.
‘It was kept from the press and strangers, of course,” Smith said in a 2010 interview. “For the first couple of years, I had to lie. If we were out in a club, I’d have to say I was doing a secretarial course. When it actually came out, I was 16, so I suppose it wasn’t as bad. Although it was still bad. All hell broke loose.”
It was reportedly at London’s Lyceum Ballroom where Wyman first laid eyes on Smith. She was 13 years old at the time; Wyman was 47. Wyman said that Smith made him feel as though he had been “whacked over the head with a hammer.”
Wyman helped Smith find work as a professional model. The two began spending time together, which led to dating. Despite the obvious age difference and Wyman’s reputation as being a serial womanizer, Smith’s mother reportedly supported the relationship.
The couple kept their relationship a secret for two-and-a-half years before making it official in a civil ceremony, then going on Terry Wogan’s television show shortly after. It was Wyman’s second marriage. His first, to Diane Cory, ended in 1969 after 10 years together.
Not long after the wedding bells had rung for Smith and Wyman, the wheels began coming off of the marriage. Smith’s mother reportedly joined the newlyweds on their honeymoon, and the scrutiny cast upon the couple was undoubtedly tough as well. They separated in 1991 and the divorce was finalized two years later, with Smith receiving a £580,000 payout.
For his part, Wyman defended his relationship with Smith, stating, “It was very emotional and special at the time. It wasn’t how it was reported to be and it was the only time it ever happened in my life. A lot of people understood, but a lot didn’t, and the media certainly didn’t. They treated me like crap.”
Bill Wyman’s current spouse Suzanne Accosta and their three children are understandably not fond of bringing up Wyman’s marriage to Smith. However, the spotlight was cast upon the unlikely couple again in March 2013 after Smith claimed that she and Wyman had sex when she was 14 years old. Her sister responded by calling for the former Stone to be prosecuted. Wyman reportedly approached police over the claims that he had sex with a minor but was told police were not interested in speaking with him.
“I went to the police and I went to the public prosecutor and said, ‘Do you want to talk to me? Do you want to meet up with me, or anything like that?’ and I got a message back, ‘No,’” Wyman said. “I was totally open about it.”
These days, Wyman is still enjoying being retired from the Stones, although he did return to the stage in London in November 2012 to perform with the band. Last May, Wyman vowed that such a reunion would not happen again, voicing his disappointment regarding his limited stage time with the group during the aforementioned London show.
Mandy Smith turns 44 this year. In her 2010 interview with the Daily Mail, Smith shared that she was born-again in 2005, claiming her rediscovery of religion played a part in saving her life. “God is the only man in my life now,” Smith said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Wyman and Smith are no longer in contact with each other. But just prior to the couple being divorced in 1993, things between the Wyman and Smith families took a bit of a left turn when Bill Wyman’s oldest son Stephen announced his engagement to Mandy Smith’s mother, Patsy. That couple’s marriage reportedly lasted two years, until their divorce in 1995.