Jerry Hall is one of the few ‘70s icons who can actually remember what happened in the haze of this hedonistic era. She once said, “I never saw the point of drugs when a couple of glasses of wine with friends was just as much fun.” This is coming from the woman who frequented the notorious Studio 54 nightclub clinging onto the arms of Andy Warhol, Bryan Ferry, and of course, Mick Jagger.
She was a supermodel turned rock star wife, but her marriage to Jagger was only fleeting. Still, the model and the rock star were together for two decades and had four kids together. Hall has been through it all: an abusive childhood, a life in front of the cameras, and a marriage (and divorce) to one of the biggest names in music. Now, she is married to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire 36 years her senior.
A decade ago, Jerry Hall wrote the first draft of her autobiography, only to be told that it’s too dull. She didn’t add enough dirt on Mick Jagger – the father of her four children and the man she spent 23 years with. He’s the man she divorced because of his serial philandering. So, she gave back her advance to write the memoir and instead decided to make a coffee-table book with lots of alluring photos of herself.
She was, after all, one of the first supermodels. So why didn’t she want to dish the dirt on her ex-lover? It might have something to do with her Texan upbringing. What she did was produce a book that’s kind to everyone in it.
Hall’s book was even nice about Bryan Ferry, the musician she dated before Mick Jagger. In fact, she left Ferry for Jagger in the mid-‘70s, and he was so annoyed by it that he kept her clothes. Hall and Jagger met around 1976 when both of them were already romantically involved. Hall was engaged to Ferry, and Jagger was married to Bianca Jagger.
One night, Jagger invited Hall and Ferry, along with another musician, over for dinner. “Bryan was flattered by Mick’s attention, but he could also see that Mick was smitten with me. It couldn’t have been nice for him,” Hall wrote in her “dull” memoir.
Apparently, the start of Hall’s and Jagger’s relationship in 1978 overlapped with the end of his and Bianca’s marriage. After spending a decade together, the two got married in Bali in 1990. The thing is, though, that their marriage was technically invalid. It was later declared null by the High Court of England and Wales. According to Indonesian or English law, the marriage wasn’t legal.
Legal shmegal – no one really cared. What the public loved was seeing a supermodel and a rock and roll god getting hitched. The early days of their relationship were emblematic of the whole “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll” thing.
It was the days when heading out to Studio 54 was the only acceptable place to be on a Saturday night. Hall and Jagger were seen together at the famous NYC nightclub on many occasions. They would also go separately, as Jagger would often go with Bianca, and Hall would party there with Andy Warhol.
Still, these two were the “It Couple” for a while. And like any “It Couple,” their relationship was reportedly riddled with infidelity and the typical kind of drama that accompanies it. Jagger once told the press that Hall was “impossible to live with” after she stopped smoking.
He also told the publication that he had given Hall an ultimatum: “Either start smoking, or I’m leaving.” Well, that’s a backward demand if I’ve ever heard one. But Hall wasn’t one to just sit back and obey. She gave her rocker lover an ultimatum of her own.
“I told him I couldn’t see him if he took drugs,” she said. What she told him was, “Go away and don’t come back until you’re straight.” And he did it – “he had amazing willpower,” she wrote decades later, praising Jagger for his success in giving up heroin.
Hall has said that she’s always been “scared of drugs,” adding that not only was it illegal and dangerous, “they really are bad for your looks.” It was then that she said she never saw the point of drugs when “red wine with friends was just as much fun.”
When you think about it, Jerry Hall has the looks of a rock star but the heart of a suburban housewife. “I’ve always been a stay-at-home kind of person. I love cooking and gardening. I keep chickens.” But that’s something she grew into as she got older.
The beginning of Jerry Hall’s life is one of the stranger parts of her story. She has a twin sister and three other sisters. She and her twin, Terry (born in 1956), were the youngest of the brood. The girls were born in Gonzalez, Texas, to a movie-obsessed mother (Marjorie) who always fantasized about being Scarlett O’Hara.
Their father (John) was less of a dreamer; he never recovered from serving in World War II. “He was very volatile and very dangerous,” Hall recalled of her dad. These days, he would be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it was a “thing” back then. All the girls knew was that dad was damaged.
The sad side effect of a man like Mr. Hall, who didn’t get the help he needed after the war, is that he can take it out on his family. Jerry Hall revealed that her alcoholic father regularly beat his daughters, so much so that he managed to “break bones.”
The supermodel remembered how her Army Sargent dad would “burst into rages” when he came home. Speaking on a radio show, she said: ‘He would talk to us like soldiers. He was very imaginative in his insults, and that is hard to get over.”
When speaking of her father, Hall clarified that she’s not trying to be “vindictive” but that he “certainly gave us a hard time.” The man was violent, and she explained it – at least partly – by the fact that he had to drive explosive chemicals across the country.
She said he would take “uppers” (stimulants) and would come home and “beat us, five girls. He broke bones.” She further explained his behavior with the way he had been raised. Hall said her father’s upbringing was “terrible.” His father was a drinker, and his mother died when he was a baby.
Apparently, her father (who also worked as a truck driver) always longed for sons, which is why he chose to give his daughters boys’ names, like Jerry and Terry. While Hall attributes her father’s violence to many things, she believes it was mainly driven by the awful things he saw.
“Horrible things happened to my father. He had to release people from a prisoner of war camp and found 18,000 dead bodies.” When she finally decided to write about her childhood, specifically her father, it proved to be cathartic. But her mother had to ultimately read it…
“I think my mother was embarrassed about it. Why didn’t she protect us or leave? She had five of us, and she needed a home and food, and she loved him.” John Hall eventually died of cancer in 1977, but when they were young, all the Hall girls left home just to get away from him.
With the $800 check she received as compensation for sub-par hospital treatment after a car accident, Hall left home just before her 17th birthday. Her destination: Paris. “My first airplane trip was to Paris,” she later admitted. “I had this fantasy that I would become a model, and I did!”
Her mother had told her that she had to go to the French Riviera. She remembers the moment her mom told her. They were watching To Catch a Thief, and she said, “The Riviera’s the place to go.” Hall confessed that she spent her last bit of money on a pink metallic crochet bikini and some high heels.
She (and her twin Terry) strutted on the beach in Saint-Tropez, and this man, Claude Haddad, literally walked up to them and asked: “Would you like to be a model?” (You hear that ladies? It’s that simple!)
Hall was on her path to stardom…
Most models – even the super famous ones – have to start somewhere. And “somewhere,” in those days, typically meant doing scandalous photo shoots. Back in Paris, famed photographer Helmut Newton took photos of her in bondage gear.
Hall remembers him flat-out telling her: “This isn’t porn… it’s art.” That’s when she burst into tears. Whether it was considered porn or art, one thing was clear: Jerry Hall’s career was launched. She said she never expected her modeling career to last. In her eyes, it was a “five-year deal.” She was truly surprised by how long it lasted.
With waist-long blonde hair, standing nearly 6 feet tall, Hall was making thousands of dollars a week as a fashion model.
So, what did she think would happen, back in the ‘70s, after those first five years were up? Her big picture plan was always to have a family – it was one of her “big wishes.” She also had dreams of acting. In high school, she took drama classes, and she went on to study drama in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
She took on small parts here and there, but she never really had the time to pursue anything major. “Modeling was always paying more,” she added. Her acting debut was in 1980, in Urban Cowboy. She also appeared in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989.
In 1988, Hall made her professional stage debut in a revival of Bus Stop, playing Cherie (a role portrayed by Marilyn Monroe in the film version). It’s quite fitting that the small-town girl who made it big started out doing a summer stock production of a play like Bus Stop.
Speaking of playing Cherie, Hall said she shared similarities with the character: “We both came from big families and small towns. We both read a lot of Hollywood magazines and dreamed about going away.” She later reprised the role in 1990.
1990 was also the year she joined many other guests in Berlin for Roger Waters’ massive performance of The Wall. She also made her way into the TV industry with her role as Miss Scarlett in the 1993 British TV show Cluedo and the TV series The Detectives.
In the early 2000s, Hall played Mrs. Robinson in a Broadway production of The Graduate and was in the play Picasso’s Women. Believe it or not, Hall was given the Guinness World Record in 2004 for making the most musical appearances in one night: She performed in six shows before 9,124 theatergoers in London.
In 2012, she was announced as a contestant for the 10th season of the British dance show Strictly Come Dancing. She danced with professional dancer Anton du Beke. She ended up being the second celebrity to be eliminated from the competition.
Hall was also involved in non-acting projects. Like in 2000, when she was a judge for the Whitbread Prize, she argued for Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. In 2005, she was at the center of a reality show called Kept, which is based on her search for a kept man.
In 2014, she performed at Glastonbury – she wrote music and lyrics to original country music.
She made appearances on the screen, but Hall is better known as a model (and as Mick Jagger’s lover). The cover girl was the face of Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume and Revlon cosmetics. She also starred in two of Bryan Ferry’s early music videos and posed for the sleeve of the 1975 album Siren.
In Paris, Hall was roommates with singer Grace Jones and Jessica Lange. By 1977, her face was already on 40 magazine covers, including Italian Vogue and Cosmopolitan. She was making more than $1,000 a day.
Hall was 20 when she met 36-year-old Jagger. In 1988, someone asked Hall when she would marry Jagger – the rock star who famously said marriage gave him “claustrophobia.” Jerry’s response: “Golly, I’m tryin’! Y’all quit rubbin’ it in!”
Hall said in 1985 that he told her how he read “somewhere” that rock stars have breakdowns when they lose touch with reality. He told her he was thinking about it the other day when he found himself loading up the station wagon with baby stuff. At that point, he said, “There’s no fear of that now.”
In 1982, Hall left Jagger for a rich horse breeder named Robert Sangster. People raised their eyebrows at the sudden split with the Stones’ frontman. Gossip columnists, of course, added their two cents. One by the name of Nigel Dempster told People that Hall was “fed up because Mick refuses to marry.”
“There are times in the last five years when she has made relatively little money on her own because she has been traipsing behind a rock star, and she is worried about the future,” Dempster explained. This split ended up being the first of several…
The following year, the two were back together and expecting their first child. “We just broke up for a while,” Jagger told Rolling Stone. In 1992, it was discovered that Hall had left Jagger a second time due to the singer’s infidelity.
As the story goes, one day after Hall gave birth to their third child, Georgia May, Jagger left to visit Carla Bruni in Thailand (the singer and model and future First Lady of France). “I felt sick when I realized Mick was still seeing Carla,” Hall stated that summer.
She added that she “can confirm that we’re separated, and I suppose we will get a divorce. I’m in too much pain for this to go on any longer.” As for Bruni, she denied any romantic involvement with Jagger: “He’s a fossil. His wife can keep him,” she told People.
In 1999, a scandal interrupted Hall and Jagger’s union again, which ended up being the last straw. Tabloids started reporting that model Luciana Morad was with child… and that it was Jagger’s. Spoiler alert: It was. Hall had enough. She filed for divorce, but since her and Jagger’s Hindu wedding ceremony wasn’t technically legally binding, she was granted an annulment instead.
Hall was once asked if she ever sought revenge, which is when she spoke of her brief affair with horse breeder Robert Sangster in 1982. She wanted revenge against Jagger, who had already cheated on her (at least) once with Bruni.
She found out by chance when she intercepted a fax from Bruni to Jagger, which read: “Let’s spend the night together.” Naturally, Hall was furious. “At one point, I went off and had an affair with somebody else,” she admitted. She also confessed that the fling, which she claims only lasted a couple of weeks, made her feel good.
She felt empowered, but she confirmed that it was the only one during her 23-year relationship with Jagger. Hall’s affair with Sangster (who passed away at 67 from cancer in 2004) was well-publicized and described as a “disaster.”
She traveled with Sangster, who at the time was married to Susan Sangster. At first, her plan for revenge worked. Within a year, they were back together and had their first child. Still, as we know, their reunion didn’t last long enough. A marriage without trust isn’t meant to last…
For Hall, the annulment seemed “a bit rude.” She told The Guardian she “didn’t like the idea of annulling after 23 years and four children.” Even after everything she went through with Jagger, she still had generous things to say about her philandering ex.
“He’s the most fabulous ex-husband,” is exactly what she told SF Gate. At the end of the day, she knew it was time to call it a day on their relationship. “After the fourth child,” she said, “I thought, ‘Right, done that, he’s served his purpose.’” Her son Gabriel was only two when the annulment came through.
Hall may be a southerner at heart, but she’s still human! Of course, she had some nasty things to say about her ex (he did cheat on her, after all), which was mostly reserved for her memoir/coffee table book. “He’s a sick, addictive womanizer who made me very unhappy,” she said.
In her book, she wrote that she thinks Jagger traded his addiction to drugs with sex: “I had weaned him off drugs, but they had been replaced by sex.” Hall has spoken before about married men and how many pursue younger women, which she believes is out of fear of their own mortality. But she added: “I shouldn’t make generalizations because they’re not all like that.”
When asked if it irritates her that people still see her as Bryan Ferry’s former lover and Mick Jagger’s missus, Hall spoke about how, “People read about you with their breakfast for years, so you’re like an ongoing soap opera.”
She explained how people think they know her and “seem to have warm feelings” about her, too. It’s odd to her, but it’s also nice. What was also nice and annoying at the same time for Hall was back in her heyday, when men would constantly propose to her. “Beauty makes life easier. People want to do things for you. They want to marry you and pay for everything.”
She said that it was “slightly annoying,” but at the end of the day, she was “still musing!” What is her favorite song written about her? “Miss You’s pretty good,” she said. Her first lover and musician beau, Ferry, also wrote songs for her.
Quite a few, actually. “They always said they were all about me,” Hall recalled with laughter in an interview.
The Rolling Stones’ song Biggest Mistake, from their 2005 album A Bigger Bang, tells the story of an older man who falls in love with and then walks out on his partner. Rumor has it that it might be about Jerry Hall.
Hall admits that it “confuses people” that she and Jagger get along so well. “We will never give up on the relationship we have as friends and parents.” In fact, Hall and the kids were living in a multi-million-dollar mansion in London, and Jagger bought a condo next door.
According to Hall, Jagger was a problematic husband but a good father. She described how much he loves his children, is good at helping them with their homework, takes them for walks with the dogs, etc. Hall has tried her best to give her kids as normal an upbringing as possible, where they “never discuss fame.”
Hall seems to have a knack for choosing her significant others. Her current marriage to billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is technically her first and only marriage to date. In 2016, the 59-year-old former model married the then 82-year-old billionaire.
On the evening of their wedding, Murdoch and Hall flew by private jet to the south of France, specifically Saint-Paul de Vence, an ancient village. It was pretty shocking for a mid-80s man to wander around there for his honeymoon, but he had no choice: Everyone has to walk. “We banned cars in the 14th century,” Deputy Mayor Nadine Gastaud explained.
The choice of their honeymoon location wasn’t random. Saint-Paul de Vence is a relic from the hedonistic era of The Rolling Stones’ heyday. The band started visiting the area in the ’70s when they were working on their classic album, Exile on Main Street.
Bill Wyman, the band’s former bass player, who was a guest at the Murdoch/Hall wedding, still has a house in the area. Jagger and Keith Richards are still longtime regulars at the celebrated La Colombe d’Or restaurant in the village. The fact that Hall chose such a place – and that Murdoch went along with it – tells us a lot about this age-gapped couple.
For nearly two decades, after the end of her and Jagger’s union, Hall has been a fixture in the British celebrity interview circuit, and she’s always insisted that she had no need for another man in her life. “I’ve got four children, and that’s enough,” she asserted, “and I’ve got my own money, and I’m still working, and I don’t need anyone telling me what to do.”
But as she tends to do here and there, she also says the exact opposite. She also spoke of the unfortunate dilemma of women being left to grow old alone. It’s hard to really know for sure what Hall is thinking…
Lynn Barber, a British interviewer, said: “Any time I quoted anything from one of her previous interviews, she denied having said it.” When the news of her marriage to Murdoch broke, most people heard “gold digger” bells.
Hall woke to a stream of unflattering email headlines, like, “So, what first attracted you to your billionaire boyfriend, Miss Hall?” So, is becoming Mrs. Murdoch the latest of Hall’s re-inventions? The truth is almost always much deeper than it seems. Apparently, Murdoch has never pretended to enjoy being single.
Michael Wolff, who wrote a biography of the tycoon, describes the man as one whose need for companionship and emotional security eclipses the ruthless, uncompromising approach he brings to business. He’s had four marriages dating back to 1956, which have been more or less without drama.
According to his daughter Elisabeth, her father is easily dominated by women. She described him as a “conventionally henpecked husband” whose spousal role is to avoid conflict. Rumor has it that right after her wedding with Murdoch, 72-year-old Jagger was trying to evict Hall from the London home they once shared. Why? Because her settlement only allowed her to stay there until she remarried.
Born: March 2, 1984
Occupation: Model and actress
The first-born Jagger/Hall child was born in New York and followed in her mother’s footsteps by pursuing a career in modeling. She worked for major brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Chanel. She even strutted down the catwalk in the brand’s fashion show when she was only five.
She is the face of cosmetics giant Lancôme. Hall is apparently playing matchmaker to her single daughter, hoping to find her daughter the right husband. A feminist, Lizzy devotes her time to studying equal rights. In fact, she has successfully lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment, which was passed in Illinois in 2018.
Born: August 28, 1985
Occupation: Musician and actor
James is the only Jagger/Hall child and the only one of Jagger’s eight children to pursue a career in music. He’s the singer and guitarist for the punk-rock band Turbogeist. He also acts. James has appeared in several plays and scored a role in the ‘70s-era HBO series Vinyl (which his dad produced).
James has described his famous last name as “more of a curse than a blessing.” But he’s not like his father in terms of being a notorious womanizer; James Jagger is a one-woman man. He and his longtime partner, artist Anoushka Sharma, married in 2015.
Born: January 12, 1992
Basically, a copy of mother, Georgia May, is one of Jagger’s most recognizable children. She also dove into the world of modeling and has her share of high-profile celebrity friends. She caused a bit of a buzz not too long ago when she criticized the trend of hiring Instagram models based solely on their online popularity.
It “doesn’t really make sense,” she stated. This is coming from a model with over a million Instagram followers. She’s dating DJ Josh McLellan-Ludlow, her brother James’s bandmate.
Born: December 9, 1997
Occupation: Website owner
The youngest of the Jagger/Hall brood, Gabriel, is 23 years old, and he has largely stayed out of the spotlight. He trained as a journalist at The Times (owned by his stepdad, Rupert Murdoch). Gabriel also owns his own website called Why Now, which offers articles, videos, and audio content.
Gabriel is engaged to his Swiss girlfriend Anouk Winzenreid, whom he met on the island of Mustique, where she used to work.
(On an unrelated note, is it just me, or does Gabriel look nothing like either of his parents?)