Jenny Boyd: I still love Mick Fleetwood like a brother
Original rock chick Jenny Boyd talks to Hannah Stephenson about the sex, drugs and rock and roll years, as well as the calm she's found since
SHE was the original rock chick, hanging out with the likes of The Beatles, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones, marrying Mick Fleetwood twice, experimenting with drugs and relishing the flower power hippy culture.
As a 60s model along with her sister Pattie, who was married to George Harrison before running off with Eric Clapton, Jenny Boyd was swept along in the new 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 60s that was magnetic. The world was opening up to me," she reveals.
Today, Boyd, now 72, is reflecting on the extraordinary journey in which 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.
"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 counter culture. And music was a very important part of that."
Over the years, she had an on-off relationship with Fleetwood. They married at 21, divorced, married again and divorced, had two daughters together, Lucy and Amelia, and remain friends to this day.
"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."
Now she has written her memoir, Jennifer Juniper (the hit song Donovan named after her), charting 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."
While they were together, Fleetwood's star was on the rise while he descended into hard drugs and booze, became more and more absorbed with his band, 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 recalls. "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 got swept up in the drugs scene, she confesses.
"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."
Monogamy didn't seem a priority in those days. 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."
The drugs and alcohol binges undoubtedly affected her life at the time, she reflects.
"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.
"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, she explains.
The couple weren't reunited for long though, as the band got in the way, along with drugs and booze, and she broke away and ended up marrying another musician, Ian Wallace, which ended in divorce.
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."
Today, Boyd has a much calmer life. She's been married to David, an architect she met on a trek in Nepal, for 23 years.
"Suddenly I wasn't confronted by all these difficult dramas and traumas," she reflects. "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 many years, 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 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."
:: Jennifer Juniper by Jenny Boyd is published by Urbane, priced £16.99.