7 Reasons Bruce Springsteen And Patti Scialfa’s Marriage Has Lasted 26 Years
They've been bandmates for even longer!
Marriages in the entertainment business—especially those involving rockstars who are constantly on the road—don’t typically last for decades. But Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa aren’t your typical celebrity couple.
In nearly 30 years of marriage, this pair of lovers and bandmates has proven that they love each other maybe even more than they love music! But how have they kept their love alive through countless tour stops, recording studio sessions and other distractions? Below are seven reasons they’ve proven to be a match made in rock-and-roll heaven.
1. New Jersey Roots
Springsteen, 68, and Scialfa, 64, both grew up in New Jersey—in fact, their hometowns are only about 20 miles apart, and are in the same county! Both also share Irish and Italian ancestry. But perhaps more important than family ties or geography, both musicians spent their formative years playing in bar bands around the Asbury Park area of the Garden State.
According to Springsteen’s 2016 autobiography “Born to Run,” he had to break some hard news to a teenage Scialfa in 1969, when she called to audition for his new Bruce Springsteen Band. “I even spoke on the phone to a high school-age Patti Scialfa,” he wrote. “Dispensing the fatherly advice that this was a traveling gig and it’d be best for a young lady to stay in school.”
When they got married in June 1991, Scialfa was 37 years old and Springsteen was 41. He’d already been married once before—a two-year marriage that he’s since admitted ended in part because he fell in love with Scialfa.
In the 2012 biography “Bruce,” Springsteen said he learned a lot from the end of his first marriage, especially how he treated his ex-wife Julianne Phillips: “I didn’t protect Juli … I handled it badly and I still feel badly about it.”
He also admitted to Rolling Stone, “I didn’t really know how to be a husband.” Obviously, he’s learned a thing or two since then.
3. Honesty And Disagreements
Despite having one of the best marriages in music, the union between Springsteen and Scialfa hasn’t always been perfect—which he says is a good thing. In his book, “Born to Run,” Springsteen wrote that he and Scialfa argued a lot at the beginning of their relationship, which forced him not to be passive aggressive, as he’d been in other relationships.
“Patti and I fought a lot, which was a good thing,” he wrote. “I’d never argued much in most of my other relationships and it had proven detrimental.” As anyone who’s been in a long marriage will likely attest, a little open disagreement never hurt a relationship too much.
4. Obvious Chemistry
Since Scialfa’s first days with the E Street Band, during the Born in the USA Tour from 1984 to 1985, the onstage chemistry between she and Springsteen was obvious. In 1988, People described their performance style as a “steamy bump-and-grind.” In his 2012 book “Bruce,” Peter Ames Carlin wrote that their live duets “had grown so steamy it seemed like their portrayal of romantic heat was, perhaps, something a bit too realistic to be limited to the stage.”
Life soon imitated art and the pair began a public relationship that led to the birth of their first child in July 1990. That spark has apparently lasted well into their 60s, as tabloid photographers caught the couple snuggling on a beach in Ibiza in 2017.
5. Constant Support
Scialfa has obviously supported Springsteen’s music career since she first joined his E Street Band in 1984. She’s appeared in some way on nearly every song he’s recorded since 1987, and has performed alongside him onstage countless times in the past 34 years. But Springsteen has returned the favor and been supportive of her solo career as well, co-producing her 1993 debut album “Rumble Doll” and playing music on all three of the records she’s released.
“Patti has only been able to use a small portion of her talent onstage with the E Street Band,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone in 2004. “She’s always been a beautiful songwriter.”
6. Rock-And-Roll Royalty
Here’s something about this pair that not many couples can boast: Both Springsteen and Scialfa are enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Springsteen was inducted in 1999 for his solo career and Scialfa was one of 10 musicians inducted in 2014 as part of the E Street Band. In 1991, their wedding guest list included other music icons including Bonnie Raitt, John Fogerty and Jackson Browne.
7. A Loving Family
Finally, at the center of the bond between Springsteen and Scialfa are their three children. Evan, born in 1990, attended their wedding at 11 months old and was then described as “the big bond between them” by People. “Bruce has really grown up,” a friend told the magazine regarding the birth of Evan. “He’s an incredibly good father … Bruce spends a lot of time with the baby and even takes pride in changing diapers.”
Scialfa gave birth to their second child, Jessica, in 1991, and their third child, Sam, in 1994. Of her famous parents, Jessica Springsteen said in 2016, “They really just taught me that it’s so rare to be passionate about something in life so when you find that passion to really pursue it and to work hard at it.” Now 26, she’s an internationally renowned equestrian athlete and says, “I couldn’t be where I am today without them.”
It’s clear that these two Jersey kids were destined to ride the Tunnel of Love.