The Day Bill Wyman Married 18-Year-Old Mandy Smith
Bill Wyman spent almost three decades as the Rolling Stones' bassist before leaving the group in the early '90s, playing on their most celebrated albums and songs. Yet the then-52-year-old never generated as many headlines for his mastery of the bass as he did after marrying 18-year old Mandy Smith on June 2, 1989.
"It was kept from the press and strangers, of course," Smith told the Daily Mail in 2010. "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."
Wyman reportedly first saw Smith at London's Lyceum Ballroom. 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." He helped her find work as a professional model, and the pair began spending more 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 afterward. It was Wyman's second marriage. His first, to Diane Cory, ended in 1969 after 10 years together.
Not long after the wedding, the wheels started coming off the marriage. Smith's mother reportedly joined the newlyweds on their honeymoon, and the scrutiny cast upon the couple took its toll. 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. "It was very emotional and special at the time," he told the Winnipeg Sun in 2013. "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."
Watch News Coverage of Bill Wyman's Marriage
Wyman's current spouse, Suzanne Accosta, and their three children are understandably not fond of bringing up Wyman's marriage to Smith. But 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 Wyman 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 later told the Daily Mail. "I was totally open about it."
Meanwhile, Smith told the Daily Mail that she'd become 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.
Things between the Wyman and Smith families took another turn in 1993, however, when Wyman's oldest son Stephen announced his engagement to Mandy Smith's mother, Patsy. Their marriage reportedly only lasted two years.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Wyman and Smith are no longer in contact with each other.