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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Frances Kindon

Rod Stewart's outrage over Rachel Hunter split - 'You don't dump a rockstar!'

If anyone knows a thing or two about the rock and roll lifestyle, then it's Rod Stewart.

Throughout an epic career that spans more than 50 years, he's worked hard and played even harder, siring eight children by five different women and dubbing himself the 'Lord of the Philanderers',

It's fair to say that since settling down with wife number three, Penny Lancaster, the 77-year-old Maggie May singer is a changed man.

The couple - who celebrate 15 years of marriage today - met when she was working as a photographer back in 1999 and immediately fell head over heels in love.

But in true rock and roll style, their meeting came just days after his painful split from ex-wife, model Rachel Hunter.

Rod Stewart was heartbroken when Rachel Hunter left him (Getty Images)
Rod met his third wife Penny just days after splitting from Rachel (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Langan's)

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"Rachel broke up with me on a Monday evening, and it was heartbreaking," he previously told People magazine. "But that Saturday night, I met Penny at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The bass player in my band, Carmine, said, 'Listen, you've just come out of a long nine-year marriage. You're not ready yet.'

"I nearly strangled him! Six months later, he gave me her phone number and she came over. She has mended my heart in more ways than one."

As with Penny, he'd put his wild ways on the back burner for Rachel, devoting himself entirely to her. And he couldn't comprehend what he was hearing when Rachel - who was 26 years his junior - revealed she wanted out.

He told Mail On Sunday's Weekend magazine: "I couldn't believe it.

"I was a rock star. You don't dump a rock star! It knocked me for six. It was a huge shock."

The rocker was 45 and Rachel was 21 when they got together (Rex Features)
After Rachel left, Rod quickly fell for Penny (GETTY)

Rod was 45 and Rachel was 21 when they first met back in 1990, and reflecting on their split, the London native admitted the age gap played a big part.

"She was just 21 when we married and a mum a year later. My sister Mary told me she was too young for me as we were walking down the aisle. And she was right," he once confessed..

Despite the age difference, it was love at first sight for the pair, who met at a Los Angeles nightclub. Declaring that he had, "put my last banana in the fruit bowl," Rod was captivated by the New Zealand beauty.

He recognised her from an advert for a fitness video and tried to get her attention by recreating one of her moves on the dance floor - a gesture that elicited only a 'sympathetic smile' from Rachel.

The couple are still seriously loved up (Getty Images)

"At least she didn’t turn away..." Rod wrote in his 2012 book, Rod: The Autobiography.

He continued: "Extraordinary to think that this less than promising start led to a romance that redefined the term ‘whirlwind’ and then to an eight-year-marriage that would eventually leave me as emotionally broken as I have ever been."

Indeed, just five weeks later the smitten rocker popped the question and they were married in under three months, despite warnings from friends to take it more slowly.

Even their first date moved at lightening speed.

"I persuaded her to have dinner with me, a meal during which we didn’t so much talk as gabble, covering a lot of ground in a big hurry," he wrote. "Back at her hotel that night, we shared a bed for the first time."

But knowing Rod's reputation, a wily Rachel made it clear that sex was not on the cards by employing a cunning trick.

Rod Stewart poses with exes Alana Stewart, Kelly Emberg and Rachel Hunter, and wife Penny Lancaster (Daily Record)

Rod recalled: "She wore a T-shirt that came down to her ankles – a T-shirt that said ‘Not tonight, thank you’ as efficiently as if she had come clanking out of the bathroom in a deep-sea diving outfit."

Despite his disappointment, the star took it as a sign of better things to come. "Bit of a shame, of course," he admitted, "but a sign that maybe we were at the beginning of something serious."

It wasn't until weeks later when Rod chartered a boat to the Bahamas that their romance was consummated.

The pair tied the knot on December 15, 1990 at the Presbyterian Church in Beverly Hills - where his sister Mary made a grave prediction, apparently telling the person she was sat next to: "That girl will break his heart one day."

Rod Stewart with his wife, Penny Lancaster and children Alastair and Aiden after he received his knighthood (Getty Images)
The couple has been married for 15 years (CLICK NEWS AND MEDIA)

And in 1998, that exact thing happened when Rachel told him she wanted out of the marriage

About to turn 30 and with two children, according to Rod, Rachel was unhappy and felt like she needed to go and live her own life outside of the shadow of her husband's.

Rod was devastated and was plunged into a deep heartbreak that would debilitate him for four long months.

He said: "I lost 12lb in weight. I felt cold all the time. I took to lying on the sofa in the day, with a blanket over me and holding a hot-water bottle against my chest. I knew then why they call it heartbroken: you can feel it in your heart. I was distracted, almost to the point of madness."

In a desperate bid to cope, he turned to therapy and took up yoga before the dark cloud gradually lifted.

These days, Rod and Penny, 51, remain on good terms with Rachel, 52, and Rod's first wife Alana.

Rod has two sons with Loose Women panelist Penny, who he married in 2007, called Alastair, 16, and Aiden, 11.

His first marriage was to Alana Hamilton, 77, which lasted from 1979 to 1984. They had model daughter Kimberley and son Sean, who is a musician.

The singer also has daughter Renée, now a dancer, and son Liam Stewart, a professional ice hockey player, with Rachel.

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