Supermodel-turned-rocker's-wife Elaine Mellencamp has split from her husband, John Mellencamp.
The couple have 18 years of marriage under their belts, and had two sons together. They've led what seems to have been pretty normal lives, opting to raise their kids in Bloomington, Indiana.
The news that they've separated is sad but also interesting to me, since I know them a little better than the average tabloid reader.
Several years ago, I wrote a television biography about John Mellencamp and had the opportunity to spend several hours with both John and Elaine.
Because of my various jobs in television, I've interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of celebrities- but that particular day is one I'll never forget.
Read on to find out why.
I had always followed Elaine's career pretty closely since she reached the peak of her fame at around the time I was devoted to fashion magazines, circa my teens and early twenties.
When she married John Mellencamp, I couldn't believe that she essentially left her high-profile life in favor of moving to Indiana of all places and having babies. But when I met her, I couldn't have been more impressed.
It was several years and two babies into her marriage. She had come along with her husband for what was to be a very boring four-hour biographical interview. The interview was conducted in a penthouse hotel suite- The living room was used for the interview and the bedroom was used to do makeup and hair and store gear. Elaine sat on the bed, ignored, as everyone scurried around her, but while I would have expected (from long experience with celebrities) for her to be haughty and bored and displeased by the fact that no one seemed to realize that supermodel royalty was in their midst, she was just the opposite.
She was intensely curious in all that was going on around her, asking questions about what this or that piece of gear was and what each person's job was about, not because she wanted to have input, but because she genuinely wanted to know. When she found out I was the program's writer, she asked me a thousand questions.
"That must be the most interesting job!" she exclaimed. "How does it work? How do you get started? What do you do to get inspired? How long does it take?"
She was one of those rare people who are genuinely interested in others, and who seem to regard everyone as equal to themselves. And if you think about it, that's rare. And wonderful. Particularly in the world of celebrities. I can think of only a handful of others I've encountered who've been that way. Nicholas Sparks. Ira Glass. Rodney Crowell. That's pretty much it.
As for John, he wasn't rude or anything, but he definitely fit into the 'it's all about me' category. I don't blame him- It's hard not to be that way when everyone around you is telling you how great you are, 24/7.
But I remember thinking that Elaine must have been a saint to essentially give up a hugely successful modeling career, let her husband have the bulk of the fame, and put up with his um, "artistic nature" at home.
Now, I hope she finds happiness. She certainly deserves it.
What do you think of this split?
Image via Almay