Encore

A Teen Bride for a Stone

Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones makes headlines with an 18-year-old bride

The Rolling Stones were no strangers to scandal in their youth: Mick Jagger's endless dalliances with women and Keith Richards' with drugs kept them in the spotlight. As they reached middle age, the bad boys of rock showed up in the tabloids less frequently. But on June 2, 1989, the least infamous Stone got his turn in the tabs when 52-year-old Bill Wyman married 18-year-old Mandy Smith, culminating a long, strange affair.

No ordinary June bride, the waifish blond model was a 13-year-old Catholic schoolgirl when she met the unflashy Stones bassist at a 1984 rock awards show. The more scandal-seasoned Stones warned of the inevitable backlash, but Wyman was hooked: In his 1990 autobiography, Stone Alone, he wrote, "She took my breath away...She was a woman at thirteen..."

Sure enough, Fleet Street had a field day, splashing its front pages with saucy cradle-robber stories. Scotland Yard even investigated. But Mandy's mother, Patsy, reportedly reassured her, "He's a Rolling Stone... and he chose you."

Wyman had been married once before, so the couple had a secret civil ceremony near his sprawling Suffolk estate. A blowout reception three days later served as a Stones reunion — Mick and Keith had just made peace after the latest of their frequent feuds — before their upcoming tour. But while her husband was off in America for 5 and a half months, Mandy wasted away to 80 pounds from complications she blamed on taking birth-control pills since age 14. Upon returning, Wyman reportedly grew impatient with her health problems, and the 23-month marriage ended in a 45-second divorce. Smith won an $880,000 settlement; still bitter, she threatened to sue her ex-husband for having sex with her back when she was 14. Later, things grew stranger when it was reported in the spring of 1993 that Wyman's son Stephen, 31, was planning to marry Mandy's 49-year-old mother — which would have made Mandy her ex's granddaughter-in-law.

Wyman has since married fashion designer Suzanne Accosta, now 34, and is finally gathering a little moss: He's skipping the Stones' next album, Voodoo Lounge. Smith also has a new spouse-Belgian-born soccer star Pat van den Hauwe who as far as anybody knows has never dated anyone in Wyman's immediate family.

TIME CAPSULE
June 2, 1989

Mary Higgins Clark's While My Pretty One Sleeps was a best-seller, Paula Abdul was "Forever Your Girl," Harrison Ford hit big in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Roseanne was queen of the TV screen in her first season.

Originally posted Jun 03, 1994 Published in issue #225 Jun 03, 1994 Order article reprints