Folk grunge Grandaddy Neil Young won everyone’s love and adoration early on; finding a deep, genuine connection with someone was not so easy. For a person with fame and fortune, the search for a soulmate narrows down fast. Luckily for Neil, he happened to meet a kindred spirit who shared the same struggle.
When Neil Young announced his marriage to actress Daryl Hannah, it came as a curious surprise. Both lived out relationships and heartbreaks in the public eye for decades, but the story behind how their love turned into a true heart of gold has never been told before — until now.
From the time Neil Young was old enough to reach a radio dial, his one true love was music. Growing up in the sleepy province of Ontario, Canada, little Neil needed a distraction from his overwhelming health problems.
His ailments were many: diabetes, epilepsy, and polio. Things became so serious that, at one point, Neil lost the use of his legs. That didn’t stop him from picking up the ukelele.
Paper Lady / Flickr
After mastering the ukelele, banjo, harmonica, and piano, Neil finally delved into plucking the strings of his guitar. Over the years his health improved, and Neil jumped headfirst into music. He formed his first band: The Squires.
The electric feeling of belonging he felt onstage followed Neil from local coffee shop gigs with The Squires to some pretty well-attended shows with his next band, The Mynah Birds, with bandmate Rick James.
Rick James / Twitter
Neil saw his fair share of success with other projects, like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, though where he truly soared was when he went solo.
The song that catapulted Neil to become a rock-folk legend was one he penned about finding a person who truly understood him, a little tune called “Heart of Gold.”
It wasn’t until 1974, while tucking into the booth of his local diner, that Neil would find the rare heart he had been searching for — his third wife Pegi Morton.
SuperDewa / Flickr
Love had fallen on Neil Young two times before, but his marriage to Pegi was the longest and deepest of his life. Writing songs about her, notably “Harvest Moon,” their rich relationship stretched 36 years.
Together Neil and Pegi had raised their children and shared the tumultuous, out-of-the-ordinary life of superstardom. But to the surprise of many, Neil filed for divorce in 2014.
Around the time of the divorce, rumors flickered that Neil had found another kindred spirit. This later-in-life romance garnered a bit of attention because the woman in question was someone in the public eye.
Three months before the end of his marriage, Neil, a vocal political activist and environmentalist, attended a protest with a fellow green activist — movie star Daryl Hannah.
Synonymous with her roles in the fantastical realm, like Splash, Blade Runner, and the Kill Bill Volumes, Daryl’s filmography and iconic features marked her with a somewhat otherworldly sense of intrigue.
BFI / YouTube
Her romantic past and famous partners caught public attention previously. Back in ’88, her five-year relationship with John Kennedy Jr. was spent hounded by everyone from the press to her local plumber on when the pair would marry.
The handsome couple had first spotted each other on a Caribbean beach vacation, but Hannah was already married to folk-rock musician Jackson Browne.
Who Dated Who
Things weren’t made official between Daryl and tabloid darling John John until they bumped into each other at a wedding in 1988. There was no looking back: it was love.
Diagnosed with autism as a child, Daryl found understanding in John that she hadn’t experienced elsewhere. But eventually, their love story came to an end in 1994.
Other famous beaus were linked to Daryl, like her 2001 fling with actor Val Kilmer. Working together on their film Hard Cash sparks flew, but it ultimately lasted only a year before it fizzled out.
New Trend / YouTube
But Hannah wasn’t single long. Perhaps charmed by the confident illusionist, or maybe it was magic at work, Daryl was seen swapping kisses with David Blaine. Their 2002 Paris rendezvous was brief.
Daryl dated but hadn’t had a long term partner for over a decade. Until 2014, when she met Neil and their undeniable chemistry took them by surprise.
The rumor mill was buzzing, since Neil was still legally married to Pegi at the time. But, all the press wasn’t a concern for the musician.
“We don’t care, because they don’t know what they’re talking about…It doesn’t matter. What matters is us, not the press.” Neil commented.
Two artistic souls had collided, and Neil and Daryl were too busy enjoying each other’s time to pay attention to public perception.
They collaborated on her 2018 directorial debut, Paradox, a Netflix original with Neil filling a starring role in the musical fantasy.
Shortly after their film production concluded, Neil and Daryl felt it was time to make things official. In a private ceremony, where guests were required to leave their cell phones at home, the couple married.
Hand in hand under the California sunshine, Neil and Daryl made their vows as husband and wife, surrounded by just 100 of their closest friends and family.
Dreamers and Lovers
Reports stated the couple gifted their guests creative souvenirs, customized heart-shaped lockets containing photos of the smiling bride and groom.
For everyone but the attendees of the nuptials, the ceremony was totally secret. The newlyweds were accustomed to the trying price of fame and wanted to keep the media out of their business.
In a blog post responding to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the couple prepared a statement, and video of his song “Ohio,” written about the Kent State shooting. It was the first time Neil publicly called Daryl his wife.
Radio Futuro / Twitter
As Neil had stated a few months before they tied the knot, “We’re very lucky to have found each other. I’m eternally thankful for the opportunity to share my life with her, and she feels the same.”
Neil and Daryl can settle into their marriage and avoid the speculation from the public eye. Luckily fellow veteran celebs can provide an example on how to maintain the romance for years in the spotlight.
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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith: Actress Jada Pinkett and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself, Will Smith, have been happily married for a whopping 20 years. They have two children together, Willow and Jaden, who have launched their own respective music and acting careers.
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara: Comedy fans know Jerry Stiller from his many movie appearances and his role in Seinfeld. His wife of 61 years, Anne Meara, died in 2015; they had two kids together, including actor and director Ben Stiller.
Christopher and Georgianne Walken: Christopher and Georgianne Walken have been together since 1969. Christopher once expressed interest in playing a husband on screen, but he’s typically offered quirkier films, such as The Dead Zone and True Romance.
James Garner and Lois Clarke: This couple was wed in 1956 only 14 days after they first met. James Garner, who passed away in 2014, was famous for his roles in movies like The Great Escape. He once had this to say about married life: “Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.”
Bob and Ginny Newhart: Stand-up comedian Bob Newhart has been married to his wife Ginny for 55 happy years. They were wed in 1963, and they have four beautiful children together.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward: This famous Hollywood couple married in 1958. Paul Newman won an Academy Award for his role in The Color of Money. He was famously quoted as saying this about being loyal to his wife: “I have steak at home. Why would I want to go out for a hamburger?”
Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft: Celebrated actress Anne Bancroft will always be remembered for her iconic role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, but also for her long and loving marriage to the equally successful comedy director Mel Brooks. The two were married for 41 years before her death in 2005.
Don and Barbara Rickles: The late Hollywood insult-comic Don Rickles may have had a sharp tongue and prickly persona when he was on stage, but he and his wife, Barbara, enjoyed 52 years of loving marriage.
Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy: This acting couple frequently starred alongside each other in films like To Dance With a White Dog and Foxfire. The pair was married from 1942 until Jessica Tandy’s death in 1994. They enjoyed over 50 years of happy marriage.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson: It’s not surprising Hollywood good-guy Tom Hanks has been happily married for a long time. He and his wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson, have enjoyed 29 long years of matrimony and counting!
Jack Fisk and Sissy Spacek: Anyone who has seen the movie Carrie will always remember Sissy Spacek’s haunting role as the titular character. She and husband Jack Fisk, a film production designer and director, have been married since 1974. They have two daughters together.
Ron and Cheryl Howard: When acclaimed Hollywood director Ron Howard isn’t making award-winning films like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, he spends his time with his wife of 43 years, Cheryl, who’s also an actress.
Jeff Bridges and Susan Geston: Since 1977, Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges and his wife, Susan Geston, have been happily paired. In classic Jeff Bridges fashion, he said sticking with marriage is “true grit, man.”
Don Gummer and Meryl Streep: Three-time Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep is one of the most admired actresses in Hollywood, and she’s enjoyed a long, happy marriage with Don Gummer, a well-known American sculptor.
Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson: Hollywood heavy-hitter Samuel L. Jackson might play a hardened guy in his movies, but the truth is he’s got nothing but love for his wife of 30 years, LaTanya Richardson.
Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman: Many people would recognize this Hollywood mega-duo as the irresponsible parents in the kids’ film Matilda. While they famously split in 2017, they’d be together since 1982—a whopping 35 years!
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne: Fans of heavy metal all know Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer of the classic band Black Sabbath, but most don’t know he and his wife Sharon have shared 36 years of happy (and sometimes wild) years.
Chevy Chase and Jayni Luke: Comedy icon Chevy Chase is known for his laugh-out-loud performances in the National Lampoon movies and Saturday Night Live. He’s been married to author Jayni Luke for 36 years.
Bono and Ali Hewson: Bono, the lead singer of the ultra-famous rock band U2, is not only known around the world for his music, but his humanitarian work as well. He and his wife, Ali Hewson—a social activist herself—have shared 36 blissful years together.
Denzel and Pauletta Washington: It’d be tough to find a list of the greatest actors of all time that didn’t include Denzel Washington, known for his stellar performances in films like Training Day and Remember the Titans. He once said his greatest life project was his family; he’s been married to his wife Pauletta for 35 years.