Iconic singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks has had a roller coaster ride throughout her career, ranging from euphoric highs to tragic lows. Best known for her work in Fleetwood Mac, Nicks has proved time and time again just what an integral part she has played in rock music since her humble musical beginnings in the late ’60s. However, relationship problems, drug issues, and personal losses have also reared their ugly heads. Despite all of the speed-bumps along the way, there’s one thing Nicks regrets more than anything else: marrying her best friend’s husband. They tied the knot in 1983, and the reason why is enough to bring a tear to your eye…
It goes without saying just what a powerful force Stevie Nicks has been in the music business. For nearly a half-century, the insanely talented vocalist has soared to the top of the charts. Consequently, she picked up every award in sight and had a hand in creating some of the most iconic compositions of our time.
She’s probably best known for her work as a member of the incredibly successful rock group Fleetwood Mac. The band dominated the musical landscape throughout much of the ’70s. And its success stretched into the ’80s. Among its hits were stellar LPs such as Tusk and the universally acclaimed 1977 release Rumours.
But it wasn’t just her work in Fleetwood Mac that shone like a beacon, but her work as a solo performer too. In 1981, she began her first endeavor outside of the group with the debut album Bella Donna. This record proved that she was more than capable of garnering an audience all by herself.
The album rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts upon release, and has been certified platinum many times over. However, despite the LP’s critical recognition and commercial success, something in Nicks’ personal life overshadowed her solo achievement.
Yes, 1981 was the year that Bella Donna launched the singer onto a new musical level. But it was also the year that her best friend, Robin Snyder Anderson, was diagnosed with leukemia. The tragic news affected Nicks in a big way, putting a damper on her newfound career success.
She told BAM in 1997, “When Bella Donna came out, Fleetwood Mac was at the top of their game. It was the most incredible time. But then my best friend, Robin, was diagnosed with leukemia and that overshadowed everything. I really didn’t get to enjoy Bella Donna. I found out that Robin was dying on the same day it went No. 1.”
She goes on in the interview, “That should’ve been a time when I was the most happy and felt the most self-confident and successful. But actually, I really felt the most helpless, because all the money in the world couldn’t save this woman’s life. It was a very sad, yet balancing, thing for me.”
Even after the record’s release, there was no respite for the mourning crooner. She had to embark on a tour during the understandably difficult time in her life. And consequently, she found this tough because she never had time to come to terms with her friend’s heart-breaking diagnosis.
Speaking to BAM, she recalled, “People ask, ‘Wasn’t it incredible when Bella Donna was No. 1 and sold 3 million albums?’ Yeah, it was totally wonderful except that I was watching one thing go up while I was watching another thing go down. It was really, really hard.”
Sadly, Anderson passed away just two days after giving birth to son Matthew. The news shook Nicks to the core, leaving her in a vulnerable position without her best friend. However, her reaction to the death was one that confused and angered many who caught wind of it.
In a state of confusion, Nicks decided the best thing to do after the death was to marry Anderson’s husband Kim. The justification for the rash decision was that Anderson’s son was now without his mother. And Nicks consequently thought she could look after him by wedding Kim.
So the two grieving partners tied the knot just three months after Anderson had succumbed to her illness. It’s something Nicks now looks back on with regret. She told The Guardian in 2011 that, “It was just because I had this crazy, insane thought that Robin would want me to take care of Matthew.”
Despite all her good intentions, most people on the outside looking in saw it as the ultimate betrayal. She said in the same interview, “Everybody was furious. It was a completely ridiculous thing.” However, despite only being three months deep into the marriage, Nicks was already beginning to have doubts.
Nicks recounts walking into her then stepson’s room one day to find that his cradle wasn’t moving. She goes on, “I know that sounds crazy, but it was always rocking whenever I’d walk in, and I knew Robin was there. And one day it wasn’t rocking and it was very dark and the baby was very quiet. And I said, ‘Robin wants this to end – now.’”
Indeed, the revelatory moment gave Nicks a new appreciation for what her best friend would want – realizing that what Anderson wanted wasn’t for her to wed her widowed husband Kim. She confirmed, “But the fact is, Robin would not have wanted me to be married to a guy I didn’t love.”
It’s no surprise then, that just three months after they said, “I do,” Stevie and Kim decided to get a divorce. It marked the end of a difficult and stressful time for the pair, as they both were searching for a way to honor their recently deceased friend and spouse.
Nicks spoke about it in 1990 with US Magazine, saying, “We didn’t get married because we were in love, we got married because we were grieving and it was the only way that we could feel like we were doing anything. And we got divorced three months later.”
Sadly, a divorce also meant Nicks had to part with Matthew, Anderson’s son – a deeply painful transition for her to make. She told US Magazine, “It was hard for me to come back from the fact that I knew I wouldn’t see Matthew again for many years. And so I moved to the beach. I moved to the beach for spiritual solace, for sanctuary.”
Thankfully, Nicks is in a much more stable place today, continuing to tour and release music at the age of 69. Meanwhile, Kim has since stayed out of the spotlight. But perhaps the nicest thing to come of it is that Nicks and Matthew now have a tight bond after years of being estranged.
Some may still feel appalled by Nicks’ actions, but it definitely seems like her heart was in the right place. And with her numerous apologies since, its proof that everyone can make mistakes when they aren’t in the right frame of mind. As the old saying goes, you don’t judge a book by its cover. Nicks’ regrettable marriage is proof that it could be the complete opposite of what you think it is.