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Stevie Nicks Called Joe Walsh Her Great Love, But He Said He Loved Her "As a Sister"

The two rockers had an intense romance in the '80s.

Singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks' list of romances includes Fleetwood Mac bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, producer Jimmy Iovine, and the Eagles's Don Henley. But when asked who the love of her life was by The Telegraph in 2007, she offered a different name. "My great, great love was Joe Walsh," Nicks said, referring to the relationship she began with the Eagles guitarist starting in 1983.

Although Nicks would say in Stephen Davis' 2017 biography Gold Dust Woman that Walsh was the only one of the loves that she "would have married" and (maybe) given up her rock-and-roll lifestyle for, he has shared some rather different thoughts on their relationship—including that he loved her "as a sister."

Read on for more on the romance between the legendary rock stars and where they stand decades later.

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It was love at first sight.

Stevie Nicks in 1983
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In her interview with The Telegraph, Nicks described meeting Walsh in the early '80s as an instant connection. "I fell in love with Joe at first sight from across the room, in the bar at the Mansions Hotel in Dallas," she remembered. "I looked at him and I walked across the room and I sat on the bar stool next to him, and two seconds later I crawled into his lap, and that was it."

They were drawn together by loss.

Joe Walsh in 1983
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Recounting this story in the liner notes to her 1991 album Timespace, Nicks recalled thinking, "I can never be far from this person again…he is my soul," and being drawn to what she perceived as a deep hurt in Walsh.

"He seemed to be in a lot of pain, though hid it well. But finally, a few days later (we were in Denver), he rented a jeep and drove me up into the snow-covered hills of Colorado… for about two hours," she wrote. "He wouldn't tell me where we were going…but he did tell me a story of a little daughter that he had lost. To Joe, she was much more than a child… She was three and a half…and she could relate to him."

Walsh went on to take Nicks to visit a fountain he had dedicated to his daughter Emma who had died from injuries she sustained in a drunk-driving accident shortly before her fourth birthday. Nicks too had recently experienced a loss that involved a child—losing her best friend Robin Anderson to cancer just days after her baby's birth. The Fleetwood Mac singer had married her late friend's husband, Kim Anderson, with a plan to raise the child together. But they split up months later and lost contact.

Learning about Emma inspired Nicks to write the song "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?" for Walsh and to try to take care of him. Although he was often distracted, withdrawn, and on the road, she busied herself buying him clothes and making sure he was taken care of on tour, according to Gold Dust Woman. "I really looked after him, and that's what probably scared Joe the most," she said. "I was too in tune with him, and he was too used to being out of tune—with everything."

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They broke up because of drugs.

Joe Walsh in 1986
George Rose/Getty Images

Behind Walsh's absence were the drugs that had come to dominate both musicians' lives. "We were busy superstars and we—everyone—were doing way too much drugs," Nicks said, per Gold Dust Woman. "We were really, seriously drug addicts. We were a couple on the way to hell."

Drugs would ultimately lead to their breakup in 1986, she told Q magazine in 2008 (as quoted in The Eagles FAQ by by Andrew Vaughan).

"Joe and I broke up because of the coke," Nicks said. "He told my friend and [backing] singer Sharon [Celani], 'I'm leaving Stevie, because I'm afraid that one of us is going to die and the other one won't be able to save the other person, because our cocaine habit has become so over the top now that neither of us can live through this, so the only way to save both of us is for me to leave.'"

She's not sure she ever got over him.

Stevie Nicks in 1987
Barry King/WireImage

Walsh ultimately departed in a painful way, according to Gold Dust Woman. During a 1986 tour, Walsh stopped by the studio where Nicks was recording for a visit, only to get high and spend the day entertaining the crew. When she asked him for some time together, he told her he couldn't see her and would be back on the road the next day. Nicks walked away, and Walsh flew to Australia the next day, sending a message through their management telling her not to contact him.

In her biography, she said, "[T]here was no closure. It took me a long, long time to get over it—if I ever got over it." The now-75-year-old added, "Because there was no other man in the world for me. And it's the same today, even though Joe is married and has two sons. He met somebody in rehab and got married. And I think he's happy.'

Walsh, also 75, welcomed daughter Lucy with third wife Juanita Boyer in 1982 and sons Alden and Emerson with fourth wife Denise Driscoll. Since 2008, he's been married to Marjorie Bach, sister of Bond girl (and Ringo Starr's wife) Barbara Bach.

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Walsh said he loved her like "a sister."

Nicks' read of Walsh's life proved to be correct. In a 2012 Interview magazine piece, he called Bach "the one." Meanwhile, he described his ex as "a great songwriter, a great singer and a great person."

Howard Stern brought up Nicks' assertion that Walsh was her "great love" in an interview that June. Asked by the host whether he was in love with the frontwoman, Walsh replied, "As a sister." He went on to add, "We were seeking refuge, kind of, in each other's presence," and said that he never considered marrying her. He explained that they were monogamous for just one summer, concluding, "I don't think neither of us could have committed to a lasting relationship in the state that we were in."

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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