Original rock chick Jenny Boyd talks to Hannah Stephenson about sex, drugs, marriage to a rock star, and the calm she has found later in life
She was the original rock chick, hanging out with The Beatles, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones, marrying Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac, twice, experimenting with drugs, and relishing the flower-power hippy culture.
As a 1960s model — her sister, Pattie, was married to The Beatles’s George Harrison, before running off with Eric Clapton — Jenny Boyd was swept along in the music, fashion, and free love culture of the time, making her way from the fashionable haunts of London’s Carnaby Street and Chelsea to the flower power movement in San Francisco and the meditation centres of India.
“It was very exciting. It was an amazing time and a very different time. There was something about the 1960s that was magnetic. The world was opening up to me,” says Boyd, 72.
Her looks — wide-eyed and innocent — secured her a job as a photographic model with fashion designers Foale and Tuffin, while she was still at school.
By 16, she was appearing in glossy magazines, flying to New York shoots, and appearing on catwalks at home and abroad, falling in with the musical movers and shakers of the time, and dating Mick Fleetwood, who lived nearby.
“We’d go to clubs with Pattie and George and the rest of The Beatles and I always loved rock and roll. But, in the end, I realised there was more to life,” Boyd says.
“I went to San Francisco to help a friend open a shop. I knew nothing about flower power, but, suddenly, I found myself as part of the counterculture. And music was a very important part of that.”
She married Fleetwood at 21, divorced, married again, and divorced. They had two daughters together, Lucy and Amelia, and remain friends.
“We always stayed in touch. He’d take me out for a drive. It was so easy and comfy being with him. There was something very familiar about him. He was quiet, very funny, but we were both horrifically shy. We just had a connection,” Boyd says.
Now she has written her memoir, Jennifer Juniper (named after the hit song Donovan wrote about her). It charts her life with the musicians, photographers, and other creative talents of the day, when she snorted cocaine, drank a lot of booze, and endured a lot of loneliness.
When she had children, the dynamics changed, she adds.
“I didn’t like being on the road, because it was very much about the show and you’re always in hotel rooms. I wouldn’t drink in those days, because either I was pregnant or looking after the little ones. I was the only one with children and had to make sure they stayed quiet,” Boyd says.
Fleetwood’s star was on the rise, but he descended into hard drugs and booze, became more and more absorbed with Fleetwood Mac, and embarked on an affair with band cohort Stevie Nicks.
“The drugs thing really got started when we moved to Los Angeles in 1974. There was always drinking on the road,” Boyd says. “It was the beginning of everybody in the entertainment world starting to take cocaine.
“When they met with Stevie and Lindsey (Buckingham), at the place where they recorded in 1975, it was almost dripping off the walls. Coke was everywhere.
“They’d all take coke, because they had something to prove, in that they had to have their album finished by a certain date, which meant they had to keep going, sometimes through the night,” Boyd says.
Boyd got swept up in the drugs scene.
“It was as if I had two different lives. I would be in Topanga (a rented house in the hills) — a place a bit cut off from Hollywood — drinking chamomile tea, putting the children to bed, and singing them lullabies, and then, if I’d go out and meet Mick if I could get someone to babysit, then I’d hang out and go crazy with all of them,” Boyd says.
Monogamy didn’t seem a priority. She had a fling with a musician, but then all the musicians on the road were doing it, she says. She didn’t accept Fleetwood’s philandering easily, though.
“I remember calling him about something, at one point, and a woman answered the phone. We laugh about it, now because we’re good friends. And, generally, compared to other musicians, he was pretty good,” Boyd says.
The drugs and alcohol binges undoubtedly affected her life.
“I was torn inside, because I had this spiritual world, with meditation, and then when I had drugs and alcohol, it meant I could be released from feeling locked inside.
“The relationship between Mick and I became more and more difficult, because he was completely immersed. He was married to Fleetwood Mac and I was the mistress,” Boyd says.
“Like anyone who lives with someone who drinks a lot and takes a lot of cocaine, there’s a real numbing of the heart. And on top of that, we were so young, 25 or 26. It became an impossible situation and, yet, underneath, we still loved each other.”
Despite divorcing, they clearly still had feelings for each other, but the second time she married him was simply so she and the girls could get green cards to live and work in the US.
The couple weren’t reunited for long. The band got in the way, along with drugs and booze, and she broke away and she married another musician, Ian Wallace, but that ended in divorce, too.
Throughout this time, she continued to try to find her own identity, going to college to study psychology and humanities.
“I did go to AA meetings. I wondered, am I an alcoholic? It wasn’t me. I couldn’t relate. But I was a co-dependent, where you hold somebody else in high esteem and need to have their approval to make you feel that you are OK.
“That’s what I had with Pattie and with Mick and once I realised that, it helped a lot,” Boyd says.
Today, Boyd has a much calmer life.
She’s been married to David, an architect, for 23 years. She met him on a trek to Nepal.
“Suddenly, I wasn’t confronted by all these difficult dramas and traumas,” she says. “We just jog along.”
For many years, she worked at a consultant in an addiction treatment centre in Arizona, but was missing England and secured a transfer back. She has lived in London for a long time, but goes to see her family once or twice a year. Her daughters now live in Los Angeles, along with her grandchildren.
Fleetwood lives in Maui, Hawaii, and they keep in touch. She talks about him as if she still loves him. Does she?
“Oh, yes, but I’m married. But as a person, I do. He’s very dear to me. He’s like a brother, because we’ve known each other since we were young,” she says.
“We have something that’s very special.”