Rock’ n Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel is an adoring father of three daughters and an amazing husband to his fourth wife, Alexis Roderick. His now perfect family was his saving grace from his previous marriages.
Billy Joel is an American musician and singer-songwriter who sold more than 150 million records in his career. He has had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations, and in 1990, he won a Grammy Legend Award.
Billy was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992. Then came 1999, when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His classic songs include “Piano Man” and “New York State of Mind.”
(L) Musician Billy Joel with his daughter Alex Ray Joel at Cafe Carlyle on October 29, 2015 in New York City. (M) Billy Joel’s younger daughters Della and Remy. (R) Billy Joel and Alexis Roderick on their wedding day on July 4, 2015 in Long Island. / Source: Getty Images and Instagram/@billyjoel
A GIFTED PERFORMER SINCE HIS YOUTH
The 72-year-old was born in the Bronx, New York, on May 9, 1949, to Howard and Rosalind Joel. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Levittown, Long Island.
As a musical artist, he takes it from his father, an accomplished classical pianist. However, it was Billy’s mother who encouraged her son to study piano.
The “Uptown Girl” singer started playing the musical instrument at age four and showed immediate adeptness for it. By the time he was sixteen, young Billy was already a pro.
Composer Billy Joel wearing a checkered shirt paired with jeans while performing in his home studio at his Los Angeles home in 1984. / Source: Getty Images
It was not long before he fully committed to pursuing a musical career. Billy even dropped out of high school to live his dream full time and devoted himself to creating his first solo album called “Cold Spring Harbor,” released in 1971.
The terms of his contract with Family Productions turned out to be unfavorable, and he was unhappy with the quality of the album they released. Therefore, it failed to become a commercial success.
Billy later relocated to Los Angeles, determined to become a rock star. In early 1972, he landed a gig as a lounge pianist under Bill Martin’s pseudonym.
Pianist Billy Joel performing onstage during the first Farm Aid benefit concert at Memorial Stadium, Champaign, on September 22, 1985 in Illinois. / Source: Getty Images
Billy’s time playing at The Executive Room on Wilshire Boulevard later featured in his hit song “Piano Man.” By late 1972, his recording of “Captain Jack” had been released on the East Coast, and it garnered rave reviews.
It resulted in executives from Columbia Records seeking out the lounge player and gave Billy a second chance to eventually realize his dream as a rock star.
With the momentum of a Top 20 single “Piano Man” to his name, the composer began recording new songs and albums, coming out with “Streetlife Serenade” in 1974 in Hollywood.
” (1977) was Billy’s first commercial breakthrough, landing him four songs in the Top 25 of the US Billboard charts. By 1981, he had amassed many awards, including a Grammy award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and a People’s Choice Award.
Rock and pop singer Billy Joel holding his award for winner of Best Orchestrations, “Movin Out” at the Tony Awards in 2003. / Source: Getty Images
INSIDE HIS ROMANTIC ESCAPADES
Despite being prosperous in his career, his love life has not been smooth sailing. Billy has three failed marriages which all left him penniless.
The “Oliver & Company” star met his first wife, Elizabeth Weber, in 1970 through a friend and a bandmate, Jon Small. Interestingly, Weber was married to Small, and they had a baby son, Sean.
Billy Joel and his wife Elizabeth Weber photographed at their home in Cove Neck on December 20, 1978. / Source: Getty Images
But that did not matter to Billy, who was infatuated with her. He told author Fred Schruers in the book “Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography” that Weber was different:
“She wasn’t like a lot of the other girls I knew at that time who had taken home ec and cooking classes. She was intelligent and not afraid to speak her mind, but could also be seductive.”
When Small found out about the affair, Weber left them both and disappeared for weeks. She and Billy later reunited, and because she had shrewd business sense, Weber agreed to manage him.
Billy Joel pictured with spouse and manager Elizabeth Weber in 1981 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
The couple tied the knot in September 1973, but the people around Billy were concerned about his wife’s behavior. They found her manipulative, rude, and controlling, and she was far more attracted to the rock ‘n rock lifestyle than her husband.
When Billy wrote “Just the Way You Are” as Weber’s birthday gift after he played it for her, she asked: “Do I get the publishing, too?” and she did not take that lightly.
As his wife, she was entitled to 50 percent of Billy’s fortune and took his earnings as manager. Weber brought her brother, Frank, into the fold, making Billy uneasy.
Billy Joel and Elizabeth Weber at the Music & Performing Arts Lodge of B’nai B’rith on June 9, 1979. / Source: Getty Images
In 1982, the pair filed for divorce, but Billy had hoped to reconcile. He had agreed to buy Weber everything she wanted, including a $4 million townhouse and an Alpha Romeo.
However, that never happened because he got involved in a motorcycle accident, smashing both his hands. While in the hospital, Weber visited him with a contract. He recalled her asking him to sign everything he had over to her:
“I may have acted like an idiot a time or two, but I’m not a complete idiot. That killed it right there and then.”
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel sitting on a staircase wearing a beige shirt paired with jeans and white sneakers. / Source: Getty Images
When he thought it was all over, years later, he discovered that Weber’s brother swindled him nearly $30 million of his earnings. In 1989, Billy sued Frank for it plus $60 million in punitive damages.
He managed to outwit Frank by filing for bankruptcy, and in 1990, he settled out of court. Since that experience, Billy realized what kind of a family he was married into.
Model Christine Brinkley and her husband, Billy Joel, arrive at a night club on October 25, 1989 in London. / Source: Getty Images
Following his split with Weber in 1982, he stumbled upon his second future wife, Christine Brinkley, then 28, at a piano bar where he was playing. The “Findling Sandler” star was 33 at the time.
Back in New York, Billy lived in a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park. The first night, he brought the supermodel home and later became overly in love with her. The duo later walked down the aisle in 1985.
They conceived their daughter, Alexa Ray, 36, on their wedding night. Meanwhile, Billy’s finances were in turmoil, and he toured nonstop to recoup his money, and their marriage suffered tremendously.
Christie Brinkley with her arms wrapped around her husband, Billy Joel in 1983 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
The breaking point occurred in 1993; following a show at Nassau Coliseum, Billy chose to stay at a nearby hotel instead of driving home. A band member told Brinkley that her spouse was having an affair.
But Billy denied it, and by the end of that year, the couple knew their marriage was over. He and 68-year-old Brinkley, a Michigan native, ended their union in 1994.
Billy Joel and his girlfriend Kate Lee wining and dining at La Goulue on November 3, 2003 in New York. / Source: Getty Images
In 2004, Billy met his third wife, a college girl from Ohio named Katie Lee, whom he had picked up in the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel. After graduating, Lee moved into his house in the Hamptons, and that same year, they wed.
He was 55 years old at the time, and she was only 23. Nonetheless, the age gap was not a factor for the pair who later moved into a $4 million loft in Tribeca.
After a stint at Betty Ford, Lee, now 40, encouraged her spouse to go on road trips again, and Billy eventually did. In 2008, while touring with Elton John, he kept seeing photos of his wife at premieres and gallery openings.
One image that stood out was her dancing closely with another man at Art Basel in Miami. Billy shared the picture was in bad taste, but Lee denied an affair. He hoped they could work it out as their marriage was on the rocks, but the author was not interested. That led to the dissolution of their marriage in 2009.
Billy Joel with wife Katie Lee Joel during “The Departed” New York premiere after party at Guastavino’s restaurant in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images
A HAPPY EVER AFTER WITH HIS 4TH WIFE
Regardless of the heartbreaks from past relationships, Billy never gave on love, and this time around, he found his happily ever after. He once expressed:
“You just need one – one person out of millions – to know and accept and love you for being, well, just the way you are.”
On finding love and maintaining long-term relationships, the “Honesty” singer said he usually sees old people walking down the street who look like they had been together for 50 years.
Billy Joel attending Don Henley in Conversation with Billy Joel at 92Y on September 20, 2015. / Source: Getty Images
He added there was something heart-warming about that, that they have lasted that long. Reflecting on his own tumultuous love life, Billy questioned himself and asked why he never had any of that.
He stated that he had dreamt of it, had thought about it, wrote music and lyrics, and even sang about a long-lasting romance. He expressed confidence in achieving it again because he once did.
As fate would have it, Billy met his fourth wife, Alexis Roderick, in a restaurant in Huntington. The senior risk officer told New York Daily News in December 2010 that Billy, then 61, was going to dinner at the time, and she was not.
Billy Joel and Alexis Roderick arriving at the formal Artist’s Dinner at the U.S. Department of State on December 7, 2013 in Washington, D.C. / Source: Getty Images
Roderick worked at Morgan Stanley, a wealth management company in Garden City, New York, for several years. She graduated from Stony Brook University and majored in political science, economics, and Latin American studies.
Apart from the business side of her life, Roderick is also an experienced equestrian and has competed in the past. Per numerous media reports, she owns several horses and is also active in the United States Equestrian Federation.
Her loving spouse even bought her a huge horse ranch in Wellington. A close source revealed Billy said it was all to make his wife happy. According to the insider, Roderick wanted a place all for herself.
Alexis Roderick and Billy Joel during the Broadway Opening Night Performance of “A Bronx Tale” at The Longacre on December 1, 2016 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
According to Palm Beach County property records, Billy paid $3.5 million cash for five acres at Palm Beach Point Blvd. Real estate listings described the property as a “beautifully maintained five-acre farm.”
The then 29-year-old revealed that she and her future husband were friends for a while before they started dating in 2009. On July 4, 2015, the couple wed in a surprise ceremony for 40 guests at Billy’s estate in Long Island.
Newlyweds Billy Joel and Alexis Roderick during their surprise wedding ceremony held at their estate on July 4, 2015 in Long Island. / Source: Getty Images
A spokeswoman told People Magazine that the couple surprised their guests at their annual 4th of July party by exchanging vows in front of family and close friends.
The nuptials were presided over by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the couple’s long-time friend. At the wedding, Billy’s daughter Alexa gave a speech.
Her boyfriend, restaurateur Ryan Gleason was also in attendance, including actor Kevin James. On their wedding day, the bride and groom were expecting their first child together. A source revealed to People that Billy was thrilled to become a father once again.
Billy Joel and wife Alexis Roderick attending the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorating its 25th year during New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
SWEET FATHER TO HIS 3 DAUGHTERS
The dad of three welcomed his oldest daughter Alexa with Brinkley in December 1985. Like her father, Alexa also decided to pursue a music career.
Since releasing her first album titled “Sketched” in 2006, the singer has worked on many music projects, including her 2021 single, “Seven Years.”
The pop song celebrates Alexa’s long-term relationship with now fiance Gleason. The lyrics to the single even made the engaged couple tear up once during a slow dance in the kitchen.
Billy Joel and daughter Alexa Ray Joel during Billy Joel in Concert at Madison Square Garden on April 24, 2006 in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images
The masterpiece even touched her father, who could hardly contain his excitement, the songwriter told People (The TV Show!). In April 2021, Alexa revealed her dad called her right away after listening to the song.
She mentioned that even though Billy is low-key, he told her the song was great, adding that he always sings her praises whenever he can.
Moreover, Billy and Roderick now share two adorable daughters, and he posts photos of his little ones on his Instagram. The couple welcomed their eldest daughter Della in August 2015.
Billy once brought his baby girl on stage with him and Alexa in December 2018. Della even sang her dad’s 1980 hit song “Don’t Ask Me Why” and won the crowd’s attention.
The couple’s youngest daughter is Remy, born in October 2017. The proud dad celebrated his 70th birthday in May 2019 with Remy by his side. The family partied backstage before the family patriarch performed at Madison Square Garden.
In August 2021, Billy posted a birthday tribute for Dell on her 6th birthday, writing that her special day reminded them how grateful they were to have her in their lives while expressing his love.
Billy shared a snapshot of Della and her sister Remy posing with their dolls. He also posted an image of the birthday girl at a horse ranch in front of a horse.
In October 2021, Billy also wished Remy a happy birthday on Instagram and captioned the post: “To our youngest child, Remy Roo, Happy Birthday wishes to you and your four years in our world. When you laugh, you make everyone around you happy. Thank you for all the joy you bring.”
Billy posted a photo of Remy donning a black skirt paired with a white shirt with matching sneakers and socks, posing against the door. Another image showed Remy in full gear as an aspiring equestrian while leaning against a horse.