Inside Keith Richards' Relationship With Actress Anita Pallenberg

Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg had a connection that lasted from the moment they met, throughout their relationship, and until her death. While they were great friends and co-parented their two children, a spiritual connection between the couple could not be denied. They appeared to merge into one person, with Keith taking on many of Anita's mannerisms, and her many flamboyant clothing items, onto the stage, creating a persona as one of rock's baddest of boys.

Anita's effect on Keith and the Rolling Stones was monumental. She was their muse, the one who shook them out of their strait-laced personas and extricated their inner outlaws. Upon connecting with Anita, Keith lost his shyness and found his voice both onstage and off. Their affection for one another was evident in the way Keith dressed, how they lived, and most of all, the way she helped to shape him into the legendary rock persona fans of the Stones have come to know and love.

Anita reportedly changed Keith so much that they appeared to merge into a single person. Anita found her footing in the heart and minds of one of the most influential rock groups in the history of the music world, and Keith adopted some of her most notorious fashion and habits. Together they were a unique pair, but how much do you know about the love affair between Keith Richards and actress Anita Pallenberg? You'd be surprised at how much of an effect she had on him.

When Keith and Anita met, they didn't enter into a relationship right away

Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg were in each other's orbits when she moved in with Rolling Stones drummer Brian Jones. "I decided to kidnap Brian. He seemed sexually the most flexible," she said as reported by Rolling Stone. It wasn't long before the two appeared to look like twins. Anita cut Brian's hair, dyed it to match her own, and wore the same clothing styles. In the book "The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones," Stanley Booth said that the couple would do things just for shock value, and the more they stunned people, the more outrageous they became.

Keith and Anita's relationship did not move past the friendship stage until he moved into the home she and Brian shared. As reported by Rolling Stone, he said that he couldn't believe that a girl like Anita was with Brian. "Anita's incredibly strong, a much stronger personality than Brian, more confident, with no reservations, whereas Brian was full of doubts," said Keith to the outlet. She would eventually leave Brian for Keith during a trip to Morocco after Brian's jealousy of his lover got so bad he broke his hand on her face (via CR Fashion Book).

Keith and Anita were in a relationship through the 1970s

The couple stayed together throughout the 1970s and lived a wild life. Keith and Anita brought three children into the world, although they were never married. Their son Marlon was born in 1969, and their daughter Angela was born in 1972. Their third child, a son named Tara, died unexpectedly of SIDS at only 2 months old in 1976.

Anita Pallenberg's style influenced Keith Richards'. She wore things that shouldn't have made sense, and that rubbed off on Keith, who wore mismatched prints, scarves, and headbands during a time when musicians were still emulating The Beatles' matched suits and clean looks. Many of his most iconic looks throughout the 1970s came from the clothing he borrowed straight from Anita's closet. "[Anita] could put anything together and look good. I would wake up and put on what was lying around. Sometimes it was mine, and sometimes it was the old lady's, but we were exactly the same size, so it didn't matter. If I sleep with someone, I at least have the right to wear her clothes," Richards said in his memoir "Life."

"As a kid, I wanted to dress like Keith Richards," British designer Pamela Hogg said to NPR. "But it was a long time before I realized Anita was behind all these great looks. They couldn't help but be influenced by her amazing sense of style. It was contagious."

A drug bust was the beginning of the end of their relationship

Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg became dependent on drugs as well as alcohol (per Financial Review). In early 1977, the couple flew to join the rest of the Stones, who were on tour in Canada. While in Toronto, hash was found in Anita's bag and traces of heroin, leading to an arrest for the couple. The duo would have likely not been stopped at customs if Anita had not brought 28 pieces of luggage for the journey, which caught the eye of officials at the border.

At the end of the 1970s, Keith was trying to get off of heroin. He was living in Paris at the time. Anita resided at Keith's farm in South Salem, New York. She was reportedly watching television with a neighbor named Scott Cantrell, who was just 17 when he shot himself with one of Keith's guns. It was the couple's son Marlon who called the police (per Rolling Stone). Anita was cleared of any involvement in the young man's death, but the incident was the final nail in the coffin of her and Keith's relationship.

Keith loved Anita for more than her bombshell looks

Keith Richards loved Anita Pallenberg for more than her looks. He loved her for her mind, calling Anita "extremely bright" in his memoir "Life." He also loved the fact that Anita was artistic. "Anita came out of an artistic world, and she had quite a bit of talent herself. She was certainly a lover of art and pally with its contemporary practitioners and wrapped up in the pop art world." He claimed that her intelligence was one of the things that "sparked" him.

However, no matter how much her other attributes captivated Keith, their union was doomed. He said to Rolling Stone in 1981, "She's a fantastic person. I'll always love her. I just can't live with her, you know?" Also hampering the couple was Richards' lifestyle, which was not suitable for raising children. She claimed that she raised their kids alone because Keith slept all day and was working and partying all night, but as Keith noted in his memoir, he eventually got clean, but Anita did not.

The couple had one more fling in a New York City hotel before splitting for good. "I was overweight," Anita said to author Victor Bockris for the book "Keith Richards: The Biography." "I really didn't think he liked me, but I guess he loved me because he wanted to make love to me. But I didn't feel worth it for him. I said, 'You bring out the worst in me'."

Keith would remain close to Anita until her death

Keith Richards met model Patti Hansen in 1981 at the famed Studio 54 nightclub. He was fresh out of a broken relationship with Anita and fell into Patti's arms. Keith has stayed there since 1983, a total of 38 happy years thus far.

In 2014, Anita Pallenberg said that she had been sober for 14 years. Anita and Keith remained close until she died in 2017. He was reportedly there for Anita in her final months and was "devastated" by her passing (via The Associated Press). Keith shared a photo of Anita to his Twitter account upon learning of her death and said in its caption, "A most remarkable woman. Always in my heart."

Anita and Keith would become grandparents to five children. In the winters, she would tend to his gardens at his home in Jamaica. A friend of the guitarist said to The Mirror that Keith looked after Anita until the very end. "He made sure she never had to worry about anything. He was very doting and tried to help her," the friend said, adding that Richards was "heartbroken because he tried to save her so many times, but this time he couldn't."