The Stunning Transformation Of Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks was launched into international stardom when she and her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined the band Fleetwood Mac and the group released their debut album together, "Rumours." Since then, Nicks has been through more or less everything: substance abuse and addiction, treatment, relationships, an ultra short-lived marriage, and has ultimately emerged all the stronger for each of these experiences.

Nicks also lives a life that some might describe as truly unique. She admits to being happy she's never been married for real or even had children; instead, she spends her time with her tiny dog and enjoys having the freedom to do as she pleases. Nicks told the New Yorker that when she has downtime, she likes to spend it completely vegging out. She explained, "When I have a little bit of time to myself, my Zen time at night after a show, I slice a plate of apples and I sit on my bed with as many favorite fashion magazines as I can find."

While these days Nicks is definitely one of the most famous people in the world, there was a time when she was a four-year-old girl singing with her grandfather. Here's a look into the life of Stevie Nicks, crowned goddess of rock and roll.

Stevie Nicks had a sheltered childhood

While Stevie Nicks is one of the most famous rock stars in the world and has been quite open about all that this has entailed, including the many highs and the devastating lows. But once upon a time, Stevie was a little girl who moved around a lot. Author Stephen Davis, who penned the authorized Stevie Nicks biography "Gold Dust Woman," explained to Interview Magazine that Stevie had a surprisingly sheltered childhood, which was something her mother prioritized on purpose.

Davis explained to Interview Magazine, "Her mother, Barbara Nicks, kept Stevie at home. She signed Stevie up for a lot of class, like tap dancing, plays and drama, but when it was over, Stevie Nicks went home." He went on to add that Stevie's first real boyfriend was Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham. 

In the same book, Stevie admits that her family moved around quite a bit, which meant she was constantly making and leaving friends. Stevie also adds that when she would mention something about a house they'd lived in, such as her bedroom, her mother would simply reply, "There's always a better house" (per Showbiz Cheat Sheet).

Stevie Nicks began singing with her grandfather when she was 4

Stevie Nicks and her grandfather Aaron Jess Nicks, commonly known as A.J., had a few special things in common. For starters, they were both born on May 28. More crucially, they were both born singers, though A.J. would never come close to achieving the kind of success that his granddaughter did. However, as Showbiz Cheat Sheet notes, the 2018 Stevie Nicks biography "Gold Dust Woman" reveals that A.J. is the person who first introduced a very young Stevie to harmony and song. 

As author Stephen Davis notes, A.J. came up with a clever way to teach his granddaughter these fundamentals. He first had a her sing a song as he sang it at the same time but in a higher harmony, and then had her sing the song again but in the opposite way. Davis notes that Stevie got it right away, adding that the young girl possessed "the natural singer's innate ability to repeat the words of a song after hearing them only a few times" (per Showbiz Cheat Sheet).

She met Lindsey Buckingham at a high school party

Despite her mother's best efforts, fate stepped in and changed the course of Stevie Nicks' life during her senior year of high school. She was at a party when she spied a young Lindsey Buckingham playing a song on his guitar while seated in the middle of the living room of the house. As she told SPIN Magazine, Buckingham began playing "California Dreamin'" and she knew exactly what to do. "I just threw in my Michelle Phillips Harmony, and he was so beautiful."

The pair would go nearly two years without seeing much of one another before Buckingham called Nicks up out of the blue and asked if she wanted to join his band, which was called Fritz. As the Los Angeles Times has reported, the pair became bandmates — but nothing more — until Fritz disbanded in the early 1970s, and both Buckingham and Nicks decided to move to Los Angeles. All of a sudden, they were together.

Once the twosome made it to the city, people began to notice them. Per the Los Angeles Times, as author Stephen Davis wrote in his 2018 biography of Nicks, "They were Mr. and Mrs. Intense, he in his curly locks and icy blue eyes and she in her long straight hair and her piercing gaze when you talked to her." The pair began collaborating under the name Buckingham Nicks.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were in a very serious relationship

Things between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham got serious quickly. Nicks explained to Courtney Love for SPIN Magazine that she spent a few years working as a waitress so that Buckingham could pursue his art. As she related the story, doing so didn't even feel like a sacrifice — it was just what she wanted to do. Nicks said, "I didn't want to be a waitress, but I believed Lindsey shouldn't have to work, that he should just lay on the floor and practice his guitar and become more brilliant every day." 

Eventually, the two formed their own duo and begin releasing music under the name Buckingham Nicks. Things didn't pan out for that particular configuration, but once they joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, things began to soar professionally — though personally they begin to fall apart. In the biography "Gold Dust Woman," Nicks admits that joining the band together was a crucial moment for the pair. As she put it, she told Buckingham, "We have too much to lose here. We need to put our problems behind us" (per the Los Angeles Times).

However, by the time the group's first album, "Rumours," was released, Nicks and Buckingham were no longer in a romantic relationship. As the Los Angeles Times has noted, while likely challenging for the two, their split produced some of the band's most prolific and beloved songs, including "Go Your Own Way" and "Dreams."

The first Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie Nicks on it went straight to No. 1

Before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac, the band had a sound that has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "rooted in the blues and anchored by Peter Green." The pair changed things up for the group, and when their debut album "Rumours" was released in January 1978, it shot all the way up the charts to the top spot immediately. As The Current has noted, with so many hit songs, it was nearly impossible for the album not to be a success.

In the years that have followed the record's release, Nicks has been open about the fact that the album is largely the result of the fact that so many relationships within the band, including her own with Buckingham, were falling apart. However, she told Australia's Thewest.co.au that recording the album was actually a fun, even joyful, experience. As she put it, "So, it was huge and it was a lot of fun and it was very exciting — and the songs were brilliant. We were just having the best time ever doing it" (via Fleetwood Mac News).

Stevie Nicks began a relationship with Don Henley in the late 1970s

After her break-up with Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks briefly dated fellow Fleetwood Mac member Mick Fleetwood, but she soon moved on to another classic rock heavyweight: Don Henley of The Eagles. Things between the pair reportedly got pretty serious, and Nicks later admitted to Billboard that she got pregnant by Henley in 1979. In fact, the two had a name picked out for the baby they conceived if it was a girl: Sara. But Nicks decided against giving birth, ultimately choosing to have an abortion instead. 

The relationship ended not too long after that, but the pair reunited in 1982 on the song "Leather and Lace." Nicks told High Times that she'd penned the song for Waylon Jennings and his wife Jesse Colter, but she and Henley recorded the duet instead. Nicks admitted that while the song was about Jennings and Colter and what it's like to have a relationship when both people are famous, to a degree she also wrote about her own relationships with ex-boyfriend Buckingham and then-boyfriend Henley. 

Nicks adds that even though Jennings and Colter ended their own relationship when the song was ready, she felt strongly that the song still needed a home. As she put it, "... I felt in my heart that either I had to do this song with Don, or Waylon had to do it with Jesse, or Waylon and I had to do it." Thus, Henley and Nicks' enduring version took off (via High Times).

She released her first solo album in 1981

Stevie Nicks was still in Fleetwood Mac and going strong with the group when she released her first solo album, "Bella Donna," in July 1981. Nicks teamed up with two women, Lori Perry-Nicks and Sharon Celani, telling NME that they thought of themselves as a kind of female Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and that their primary goal was to produce an album that didn't have any echoes of Fleetwood Mac.

Nicks also told the publication that the album was incredibly personal, with the title track becoming the foundation of how she considered life and love. As she put it, "It broke my heart and gave me the strength to fight for it. It was a fine line to walk between love and hate and passion and the girls and I loved it."

The record took three months to complete, and in the end Nicks says that even Fleetwood Mac was stronger for the experience — though the rest of the band had nothing to do with creating the music.

Stevie Nicks was briefly married in 1983

Stevie Nicks has been open about intentionally not getting married for life or having kids, but the singer and songwriter did have a brief marriage in 1983 — one that she almost immediately knew was a mistake. Nicks lost her very close friend, Robin Snyder Anderson, to leukemia that year, and in a fit of emotion and grief, married her friend's widower to help take care of the Anderson's infant son Matthew.

Nicks explained to Vulture that despite those noble intentions, the marriage should never have happened. She told the publication, "We didn't get married because we were in love, we got married because we were grieving and it was the only way that we could feel like we were doing anything."

She says that the two knew it was a mistake to be married three weeks into their marriage, and the pair divorced three months later. Nicks disconnected from Matthew for eight years, but eventually the two found one another and these days Nicks even serves as a grandmother to Matthew's daughter, also named Robin (per The Guardian).

Stevie Nicks battled addiction in the 1980s

The 1980s were a pretty rough decade for Stevie Nicks, and the "Landslide" singer battled drug and substance addiction for years. While being interviewed by country singer Tim McGraw for his show "Beyond The Influence Radio," Nicks explained that ultimately, she didn't survive addiction — she survived herself. As she put it, "I managed to save myself. I got through some pretty scary moments, but I saved me, nobody else saved me" (via People).

Nicks went on to add that she has contemplated writing a book about her trials and tribulations, but that she believes the story would actually need to be told in four different books. She also said the process of creating the book would be collaborative, and she would want to include friends who experienced the journey with her. As Nicks put it, "I might sit down at some point across the kitchen table with some of my girlfriends who have been there for a lot of it and put on a tape recorder and just start talking from the very beginning."

She joined Fleetwood Mac for a reunion tour in 1997

As The Express puts it, the story of Fleetwood Mac is one that is filled with break-ups — both in terms of relationships and of the band itself. In 1997, the band had been missing in action for about ten years when they returned to the stage for the MTV special "The Dance," which turned out to be almost as successful as the release of the band's first record, "Rumours." 

Nicks was joined onstage by Christina McVie, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham. Society of Rock reviewed the special, celebrating the band's decision to open with the all-important and celebrated song "The Chain."

We Are Classic Rockers revealed that the reunion came about after Nicks and Buckingham decided to work on a song for the 1996 movie "Twister" together. The publication also notes that the band sold five million copes of "The Dance," and they even returned to touring following the completion of the special.

Stevie Nicks denies asking Lindsey Buckingham to leave Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham was fired from Fleetwood Mac in 2018, and many believed that Stevie Nicks had issued an ultimatum: Either Buckingham was out, or she was. Billboard wrote that the issue seemed to be about tour dates; Buckingham had released a solo album he needed to tour for, and he asked the band if they could push back their own planned tour to make that happen. While most of the members of the band agreed, Nicks reportedly did not.

As Billboard claims, after months of unanswered emails and discussions that went nowhere, the members of the band all reunited to receive the MusiCares Person of the Year award in January 2018. That night, Buckingham and Nicks butted heads, and Buckingham was out a week later. He later said, "I think she wanted to shape the band in her own image, a more mellow thing, and if you look at the last tour, I think that's true."

Nicks countered with her own statement released via Rolling Stone in which she explained, "His version of events is factually inaccurate, and while I've never spoken publicly on the matter, preferring to not air dirty laundry, certainly it feels the time has come to shine a light on the truth."

Stevie Nicks is happy she never got married or had kids

As Stevie Nicks told The Guardian in 2011, she only has one regret in life: getting married to her friend's husband, Kim Anderson, in 1983. While the ill-fated and unadvisable union only lasted three months, Nicks admits that it never should have happened at all. In fact, she's been proud of the fact that marriage and motherhood were never in the cards for her.

She explained that she doesn't feel like she's made a mistake or missed out on anything. In fact, it's quite the opposite. As Nicks put it, "It's a decision I made, to not get married and have children because I want to always be free to follow my art wherever it takes me" (per The Guardian).

As Nicks put it, having "complete freedom" has been incredibly important to her. So while friends, such as fellow singer Sheryl Crow, might have adopted babies, she says, "I have a Yorkie Chinese crested dog. I'm happy with that."

The songstress says she's not retiring any time soon

While speaking to the New Yorker, Stevie Nicks revealed that she has no plans to quit creating and singing any time soon. As she put it, while some people hit a wall and decide they no longer want to sing or perform, that's not an experience she's had. Nicks reveals that she enjoys being famous for a very important reason: It gives her the ability to explore the full reach of creative outlets.

As Nicks said, her life isn't just about singing songs. She explained, " ... there are so many other creative things that give me a happy state of mind when I need it, that are in the future for me, that I really am excited about."

In the same interview, Nicks reveals that she's coming out of the global pandemic having written what just might be her best song yet, and she still doesn't believe there are limits on what she can achieve. She says there's no limit to what a songwriter can create, explaining, " ... you have memories for days. Go open your memory library and check in there."