They’re with the band! Groupie legends are more than just the wild side that went with the rock and roll. They were muses. They inspired songs. They raced through the minds of famous musicians as those stars strummed out the first few notes of a future classic. Infamous rock groupies are just as big a part of music history as the rock stars themselves. While many fans have taken their love of a particular group or singer to great lengths, these famous groupies became part of the musicians’ lives, having children with them, traveling with them, and even sometimes working for them or their record labels. Some groupies struggled with drug addiction in the years after leaving the high life, and a few either went to prison or met tragic ends. But most former groupies seem fairly well-adjusted, writing memoirs about their time with the bands, and parlaying their fame into careers in the entertainment industry.
The word “groupie” is likely to conjure up a stereotypical image in most people’s minds of fame obsessed, wild females who chase after practically any celebrity that presents his charms behind the scenes, and behind the concerts. But the term as it is actually defined by Webster’s dictionary is “an admirer of a celebrity who attends as many of his or her public appearances as possible.” It’s any obsessive fan’s dream to marry their ultimate celebrity crush. However, the idea that an ordinary fan can get together with their idol isn’t pure fantasy. There are plenty of people in the 60s, 70s, and even today who got close to the celebrities they love and became almost as famous as their idols. You might be surprised to know that many of the celebrities that we see every day started out as groupies before their own careers took off. Which means there’s hope for us all, if we just put our minds to it. So check out this list of 15 celebs that started out as groupies, and you might be surprised by the famous icons that you didn’t know were super fans.
15. Paris Hilton
We have all envied this heiress since she first came on the scene, back when reality television was at its prime with The Simple Life and fashion was at its highest with Paris sporting Juicy Couture track suits all over town. But, if we’re being honest here, Paris Hilton is so much more than just the queen of bling; she’s also a queen of the dating scene. Paris has the most extensive dating history of any celebrity EVER, and she should be proud of her rock star studded rap sheet. She has dated: Benji Madden, Jared Leto, Mark McGrath, Fred Durst, Nick Carter, Deryck Whibley, Travis Barker, DJ AM, and reportedly hooked up with Kid Rock and James Blunt. Yes, Paris Hilton has been around the block with a lot of men, most of whom are musicians. Nick Carter reported that Paris was a “bad influence” on him, as he was struggling with substance abuse, and blamed her for his relapses at the time they were dating. You know you’re a true groupie when a boy band member shames you.
14. Courtney Love
Most people would find it easier to name one of Courtney Love’s ex-lovers than to recite the lyrics to one of her songs. It’s easy to assume that she is known simply for being a hell-raiser, and forget that Love herself was a musician. The words “Courtney Love” and “groupie” have been strung together on many an occasion. She was most famously married to the late Kurt Cobain of the grunge band Nirvana, but she has also dated actors Edward Norton and Jim Carrey, as well as a number of other musicians including: Alex James of Blur and Smashing Pumpkins’ front-man, Billy Corgan. However, for many music lovers, Courtney Love is a role model and worthy musician in her own right. Keen to dispel the myth that she was riding on her husband’s coattails, plenty of Love’s fans will point out that Pretty on the Inside (the debut album from her band Hole) initially out-sold Bleach (Nirvana’s album), which was released at around the same time. Courtney has always attracted controversy, and like many outspoken women in the music world and beyond, her failures have always been magnified and her accomplishments scrutinized. Even at 53, Courtney continues to evoke outrage in the media, and still lives the wild and free life style that is expected of a groupie in her prime.
13. Amber Rose
Any time we hear about Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose, or any other “I don’t know why they’re famous, but they’re famous” celebrity, one word generally pops into many people’s minds: groupie. People often claim these ladies have no real talent, and that these stars only date the rich and famous in hopes of gaining residual success. Amber Rose is a keen example of this kind of modern day groupie. Khalifa’s now ex-girlfriend is famous all on her own these days, but before she even started dating the rapper, Amber Rose had told the media she was crazy about Khalifa’s music. Refusing to be shamed or degraded by her former lover Kanye West, a man who wrote a masterpiece about her only then to publicly dismiss her as “dirty” in his famous “30 showers” comment, Rose took control of the conversation by vocally participating in the Sl*tWalk Movement, turning West’s statement into one of empowerment and not shame. Amber Rose has lashed back at media gossip after years of being allegedly linked to high profile entertainers including Fabolous, Drake, Chris Brown, Khalifa, Kanye West and more. She is one of the most famous modern day groupies of our time.
12. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder likes to steal … musician’s hearts, that is. (That joke never gets old.) Along with a flourishing acting and shoplifting career, Winona Ryder has lived a thriving life as a groupie with various famous rock stars over the years. Despite a long engagement to Johnny Depp, she moved on to a remarkably credible list of hip singer-songwriters throughout the ’90s. Ryder has reportedly hooked up with: Adam Duritz, Jay Kay, Dave Pirner, Blake Sennett, Ryan Adams, Paul Westerberg, Dave Grohl, Jacob Dylan, Conor Oberst, Michael Nesmith, Tre Cool and Chris Isaak, just to name a few of her musical conquests. Most of her relationships with these musicians ended dramatically and way too soon. Ryder said about her many failed relationships, “Break-ups are hard for anybody, but it’s particularly tough when it’s being documented and you see the person’s picture everywhere. Most people don’t have that added problem when they break up with someone. When you’re romantically involved with a performer, it’s hard not to get the feeling that they’re just putting on a show, even in your most intimate, private moments.”
11. Nicole Richie
You could argue that Nicole Richie’s love for musicians and her long-held groupie tendencies began at birth. Nicole is the adopted daughter of the famous musician, Lionel Richie, who reigned supreme in the 1980s music scene. So Nicole undoubtedly got an early start at hanging with the band, thanks to her famous father. Her groupie expertise came in handy when she entered adulthood, and began dating and partying with the famous DJ AM. Her love for musicians continued to blossom after their split, as she regularly partied with rock stars, and eventually married Good Charlotte’s, Joel Madden, who is now the father of her two children. Some might say that Nicole’s stardom, thus far, has had less to do with her professional accomplishments than with her prominent surname, and reputation for being one of Hollywood’s most notorious party girls that was often seen hanging with band boys during her former wild days. One thing is for sure; thanks to her father, Lionel Richie, Nicole Ritchie earned her ranking as the youngest groupie on our list. Some might say she is a groupie by birth!
10. Sharon Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne is now a household name, with her numerous reality TV appearances and co-hosting the American daytime television show, The Talk. But her celebrity status is mostly due to the fact that she married rock and roll star, Ozzy Osbourne, in true groupie fashion. The pair met in 1979, after Ozzy was sacked by his band, Black Sabbath. Sharon, then 18, was sent by her dad, Don Arden, who had a record label called Jet Records that the singer was signed with, to look after his needs and well-being in Los Angeles. Ozzy was the wild man of rock and roll, which appealed to a young Sharon, and the two soon began dating. But despite settling down with Ozzy after a beautiful wedding in Hawaii in 1982, their marriage has been fraught with difficulties due to Ozzy’s drinking and crazy behavior. But Sharon has stuck with her man through thick and thin, and despite a brief split two years ago, the couple recently celebrated their 35th year of marriage.
9. Carmen Electra
Another former Baywatch member, Carmen Electra held a spot in her heart for men with tattoos, guitars and eyeliner. Born Tara Leigh Patrick, she was Prince’s pet project and he renamed her “Carmen” and she added the “Electra.” We’re going to assume they got it on after that. Carmen has dated Tommy Lee, Mark McGrath, Fred Durst, and B. Real. She was engaged to Rob Patterson of Korn, and married to Dave Navarro. Electra appeared with husband Dave Navarro in the MTV reality series, Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave. Like other reality show couples before them, they divorced a few months after production wrapped on the show. Electra said about the divorce, “Even though it didn’t work out, we’re glad we did it and we were able to celebrate our love. We’ll always love each other and we’ll always have this deeper connection.” Of course, like any true groupie, Carmen went on to date many other rappers and rock stars after her and Dave split.
8. Pamela Anderson
This former Baywatch babe has been with her fair share of rock stars. One might say that Pamela Anderson has major groupie fever because this notorious blond bombshell has been with not one, not two, but six musicians throughout her dating career. Pamela’s trail of tatted up bad boys include: Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels, Vince Neil, Kid Rock, Fred Durst, and David Charvet. And those are just the ones we know about. More than her love for musicians or her notorious chest, Anderson will forever be immortalized in two scandalous homemade videos with ex-boyfriends Bret Michaels and Tommy Lee, as well as two music videos: “Can’t Have Your Cake” by Vince Neil and “Miserable” by Lit. In addition to dating numerous actors, models, and Hollywood hangers-on, Pamela Anderson married and divorced both rock icon, Kid Rock, and Mötley Crüe drummer, Tommy Lee, with whom she has two sons. She recently said she’s “through with rock stars,” but we won’t judge her if she decides to try her luck with another badass musician. They are pretty irresistible, after all.
7. Kevin Federline
Guys can be groupies, too! In early 2004, Britney Spears began her downward spiral when she met dancer, Kevin Federline, a 25-year-old high school dropout from Fresno, California, who had one child with his girlfriend and a second baby on the way. The two first met when Federline auditioned to be one of her backup dancers. During an interview with Us Weekly, the now dad of six reflected on his marriage and divorce to one of the world’s biggest superstars: “I came to LA, and two weeks later I was on the road with Britney for, like, two months. We met, and I’ll tell you one thing – I never thought any of this would happen.” Shortly after their first encounter, Kevin Federline famously married then subsequently divorced Spears, and fathered her two children during their time together. “That time of my life, it was great,” the former backup dancer told Us. “It was fun, it was crazy, it was chaos… The limelight, the entertainment business, the lifestyle — period. When you’re 25 years old, how do you handle that? Nobody can prepare you.” Federline, who is now launching a career as a DJ and is happily married to Victoria Prince, admits he never “really got used to” the lifestyle and fame that came with dating Spears. But his time spent chasing after the pop icon landed him the title of the most hated male groupie of all time.
6. Jackie Sandler
The wife of comedic actor, Adam Sandler, also stars on the big screen, but that’s mostly thanks to her famous husband. Before they met, Sandler’s wife Jackie Sandler, was working as a model and was admittedly a huge fan of his. The Hollywood actor met his future wife, Jaqueline Titone, when he was filming the movie Big Daddy. At the time, the beautiful actress was still trying to build her career from scratch. Jackie was a budding actress that had been cast in a small role as the waitress who takes Sandler’s order of a root beer in a sports bar. The pair hit it off on set and started dating shortly after the film was released. Her relationship with the A-list actor definitely helped kick-start her career because he now regularly casts his former groupie wife in his films and often requests her to appear alongside him, but she continues to only take on small roles. You can find her in films like Little Nicky, Hotel Transylvania, That’s My Boy, 50 First Dates, Just Go With It, Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2.
5. Roxana Shirazi
Roxana Shirazi engaged in some risky activities while hanging with rock’s raunchiest hair bands. She is an unrepentant self-proclaimed groupie who has just published a memoir, The Last Living Sl*t: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage which chronicles her wild escapades with members of the most illustrious (and not-so-illustrious) rock acts of the past three decades. The Last Living Sl*t is described as “the salaciously literary and s*xually liberated account of one young woman’s transition from a traditionally-raised Iranian to a rock and roll groupie for Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crew, and many others.” After her family fled Iran for a dismal existence in London, Roxana escaped through the music and particularly the music videos of Guns N’ Roses, which kickstarted her famous groupie phase. The events described in this memoir make Roxana one of the most popular and wildest groupies of the modern generation.
4. Bebe Buell
Imagine having Mick Jagger serenade you from a street corner or jetting off to Europe with Steven Tyler. That’s the life Bebe Buell lived during the ’70s, as girlfriend and muse to some of the biggest stars in rock and roll. Buell came to New York in 1972, with a contract from a prestigious uptown modelling agency. She found work as a model and was Playboy’s Miss November in 1974, but she found her true home downtown mixing with rockers at cutting-edge music clubs like CBGB’s. Bebe became a full-fledged member of LA’s groupie scene, and had a brief relationship with Steven Tyler, which led to the birth of their daughter, actress Liv Tyler. Buell also hooked up with a number of other 70s stars including Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren, Rod Stewart, and Duran Duran bassist John Taylor. She later recorded music of her own, and wrote a memoir about her days as a groupie. Bebe said of her former groupie days, “What a lucky girl I am to know so many wonderful, exciting, brilliant people. They represent different changes and different phases of my growth.”
3. Nancy Spungen
Nancy Spungen is commonly reviled in the same way Yoko Ono and Courtney Love are reviled. All three are blamed for the downfall of beloved musical groups and were hated by their lovers’ fans and bandmates. But before she became “Nancy” of the infamous “Sid and Nancy,” Nancy Spungen was just your average groupie following bands like the New York Dolls, Aerosmith, and the Ramones around the world. Nancy gained international fame when she hooked up with Sex Pistols bassist, Sid Vicious, after Sex Pistols bandmate, Johnny Rotten, turned her down. Their year and a half long relationship became instant tabloid mania thanks to their public fights, crippling drug addiction, and brutal violence perpetrated against one another. Her volatile romance with Sid met an untimely end that would make rock and roll history, when in October 1978, Spungen’s body was found in her room at the Chelsea Hotel. Sid was arrested for second-degree murder after her wound was traced to a knife that he owned. Sid made bail, but he died four months later of an overdose. Legs McNeil said, “Nancy had one of those passions for rock and roll that very few people have. She knew everything about every album. Groupies in those days were different. They were a part of the scene.”
2. Pamela Des Barres
Pamela Des Barres is the kind of groupie that legends are made of, which is exactly why the character Penny Lane in the hit movie Almost Famous was based on her. She is most often remembered for hooking up with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Waylon Jennings, and a bunch of other rock gods in between. Des Barres carved out her place in rock and roll history as one of LA’s most prolific groupies during an era when the members of Led Zeppelin rode motorcycles down hotel hallways and musicians got crazy rich off of record sales. But she also made music herself, as a member of The GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously), a band made up of a bunch of groupies organized by Frank Zappa. In pictures from the era, Des Barres is an ethereal glowing redhead, and exactly the kind of girl you’d want to spend time with if you were a virile young rock star in town for the week. Pamela became a celebrity known for getting with celebrities, and shortly after Kate Hudson portrayed her on the big screen, she wrote a groundbreaking best seller based on her experiences called: I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie.
1. Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall is a model and actress that has been known for dating three very famous Mr. Rights — two rock stars and now one of the most powerful businessmen in the world, Rupert Murdoch. In 1978, 21-year-old Jerry’s entire world changed when she was asked to pose as a mermaid for an album cover. “They picked me up at the airport,” Hall recalls in her biography, “And that’s when I saw Bryan. He was tall and handsome, with slicked-back hair.” Bryan was Bryan Ferry, front-man of the famed band Roxy Music. She and Ferry were together for two years after Hall appeared on the cover of his album Siren. Hall’s choice for her next great romance did little to dispel her groupie notion, as she began dating Mick Jagger while she was still with Ferry. “Amazingly, we never got caught,” she said. “I was about to get married, but Mick just had this charm, and I was really crazy about him.” This affair resulted in Hall’s long-term relationship with Mick Jagger, with whom she had four children. Life with a Rolling Stone and now a future with Rupert Murdoch, a man said to be worth $11 billion dollars, wasn’t even imaginable for a girl who grew up poor in the middle of nowhere in Texas. But sometimes a groupie’s dreams really do come true.
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