When former Sixties model and muse, Jenny Boyd first met her husband of 23 years, architect David Levitt OBE, on a walking holiday in Nepal, he had no idea who she was. ‘He’d just about heard of the Beatles and that was it,’ she laughs delightedly. ‘It was lovely him not knowing about rock music.’
You sense it was a refreshing change for Boyd, then 49, who had been at the heart of the music scene in the 1960s and 1970s. The singer Donovan wrote the 1968 hit song Jennifer Juniper for her.
She was married (twice) to rock star Mick Fleetwood, the drummer who co‑founded Fleetwood Mac, with whom she has two children. Her elder sister Pattie Boyd, also a model, was married to George Harrison, and later Eric Clapton.
As Mick’s wife, Jenny was in the studio when Fleetwood Mac recorded their seminal 1977 album Rumours, and witnessed her husband go overnight from a highly regarded musician to a global rock star.
Jenny Boyd, 72, (pictured) reveals what it is like to be married to a rock star in new memoir, Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse
But David, an award-winning architect in his own right, knew none of this as they trekked eight hours a day, slept in tents and ate around the campfire.
‘When you’re on a trek, you just talk to the person who is walking at the same pace,’ Jenny, now 72, recalls. ‘So we would talk a lot. But it wasn’t as if there was any kind of physical attraction.
‘I’d only recently moved from Los Angeles. I was thinking I’d made a mistake. But while I was on that trek I just knew my place was in England. As you walk, day after day, you get more in touch with yourself.’
And the connection between the couple slowly grew as they walked for miles, sharing life stories.
She could tell that not everything in David’s life had been plain sailing, either. He was divorced with three children. ‘But it was obvious he’d managed throughout it all to be a good father,’ says Jenny. ‘And that resonated with me. There was something about him that was solid.’
It was only right towards the end of the trip that she had a ‘little tiny inkling of something, but I let it go because I didn’t want to have a boyfriend. I was done with that. But then we started to see each other in London. I remember saying at one point: “No, no, I’m not ready for a boyfriend.” And he said: “We’re going to be friends.” Great line, so you relax,’ she giggles. ‘But it was so natural, and now we’ve been together over 24 years.’
They married in 1997. Finally her attraction to brilliant but emotionally damaged rock stars was over. ‘The extraordinary thing is David is so opposite to me,’ she says today. ‘Not only is he Taurus and I’m Scorpio, he’s classical music and I’m rock ’n’ roll.’
Jenny who lives between London and LA with her husband David Levitt OBE, 83, was previously married twice to Mick Fleetwood. Pictured: Jenny with Mick in 1970
Looking at this elegant grandmother of two, you’d never guess she lived through years of hedonism. She’s now teetotal, has never had Botox and keeps fit by walking her dog, Bindi.
She and David, 83, live between London and LA, with a huge blended family between them. Their London home is a flat at 1960s modernist icon the Brunswick Centre (David was one of the architects), a light and airy space filled with books and paintings. Only a few photos on the wall give away her modelling past.
Miraculously, she’s close friends with her former husband Mick Fleetwood and his wife and daughters. She even talks warmly about Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, once her love rival (Fleetwood had an affair with Nicks when they were recording Rumours). ‘I saw them in Paris a few years ago and gave her a hug. There’s a bond,’ she smiles. ‘We all went through that together.’ It has taken Jenny more than 50 years to find her own voice. ‘I was under the shadow of my sister, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac,’ she says. ‘But really, I was under my own shadow. And that was where I had to emerge from.’
For years, as a largely silent muse, wife and mother, others projected their dreams onto her fragile beauty. She and her sister Pattie may have embodied the classic 1960s girl — long-limbed beauties, with cascading hair and huge eyes — but they were largely defined by the men they married. ‘It was like being a leaf in the wind. You went along with things,’ she recalls.
Jenny was left in Kenya with her two siblings and father, when her mother remarried. Pictured: Jenny’s sister Pattie with George Harrison
But now Jenny, who retrained as a research psychologist specialising in addiction, is telling her own story in her memoir, Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse.
It is a wise and honest account of what it’s really like to be married to a rock star. And daddy damage is at the heart of her story.
Jenny was born in Guildford in 1947, the third of four siblings. The following year the family moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where they were part of the wealthy ex-pat community. Her parents’ marriage got off to an inauspicious start. Just before the wedding, her father, a handsome World War II pilot, was in a plane crash and suffered terrible burns.
Her mother went through with the wedding, but in the book, Jenny describes her father as a ‘disfigured and traumatised husband’. Four years later her mother left him because of his philandering.
Her mother remarried and had another daughter, Paula, whom she took back to England, leaving Jenny and her two siblings in Kenya with their father. (Sister Pattie was away at boarding school.)
When Jenny said goodbye to her father six months later, she didn’t know she wouldn’t see him again for 40 years. (It wasn’t until she reconciled with her father in her 50s that she learned that after they had left Africa, he had no idea where they were living; he hadn’t deliberately abandoned her.)
Pattie provided Jenny with a gateway to Sixties counterculture in London. Pictured: Jenny in her modelling heyday
In London, it was Pattie who provided Jenny’s gateway to Sixties counterculture. Aged 17, Pattie, working as a model, landed a small role in The Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, where she caught the eye of George Harrison.
Jenny says George was kind and nurturing: ‘To me, he was always like a kind older brother.’ He and Pattie ‘were my first steadying influence in what had been a disruptive upbringing’.
Even though it was the height of Beatlemania, Jenny says she was never star-struck, but remembers her younger sister Paula hiding behind the sofa, plotting to cut off a lock of George’s hair to show her schoolfriends.
Jenny was just 15 when Mick Fleetwood, then a 16-year-old musician in the band The Cheynes, spotted her. ‘He saw me walking to school and, although we’d never spoken, he said he was sure I was the person he would end up marrying.’
When they did first meet, he was dating her friend. So although she was attracted to the softly spoken drummer, she dated his mate Roger Waters (pre-Pink Floyd fame) instead. It was Roger who got Jenny into modelling after she left school at 16. He was decorating the new Carnaby Street showroom for fashion designers Foale and Tuffin and suggested she apply to be their house model.
The editor of Vogue happened to be friends with the designers and selected Jenny for a photoshoot for Vogue’s sister magazine, Brides.
She and Pattie caused a stir on a ‘British Fashion Invasion’ to New York, modelling Mary Quant and on their return, photographer of the moment David Bailey shot the now-famous sisters for Vogue.
Jenny (pictured) who gave up modelling by 1968, met Scottish singer Donovan while working working for the Beatles’ store
When her relationship with Roger ended, she and Mick Fleetwood reconnected. They hung out with Pattie and George at exclusive clubs such as The Scotch of St James, ‘exciting places filled with pop stars, fashion designers, old aristocracy, models, everyone that was part of this young, hip Swinging London scene’.
It was Jenny who would break off their relationship, pretending she had a new man. Mick was distraught and held a candle for Jenny for years.
By 1968 Jenny had given up modelling and was working for the Beatles’ store The Apple Boutique. It was there that she met Scottish singer Donovan, who wrote that famous ballad with its lyrics, ‘Jennifer Juniper, lilacs in her hair/Is she dreaming? Yes, I think so/Is she pretty? Yes, ever so.’
‘He declared love,’ she smiles. But she wasn’t tempted.
And anyway, George had offered to pay for her and Pattie to accompany The Beatles to India to study meditation with Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Life at the ashram was idyllic, even though the Maharishi was clearly a bit of a fraud (and a serial flirt who made ‘somewhat inappropriate advances’).
They took drugs (mostly dope and LSD) for spiritual enlightenment, Jenny argues, not just to get high. ‘It was so innocent in the 1960s. But how decadent it became in the Seventies.’
Back in London, she and Pattie started an antiques stall (called Juniper) on the King’s Road.
Jenny married Mick Fleetwood in 1970, soon giving birth to their daughters Amelia and Lucy. Pictured: Jenny and Mick in 2013
Mick, who was now in Fleetwood Mac, got back in touch, proposing to her by letter. She was flattered but never replied, instead moving to North Wales to live off-grid with another boyfriend. With no heating or plumbing, it was a nightmare, and she was relieved when Mick drove up to rescue her. A few days later she accepted his proposal, and they were married in 1970.
Everything seemed perfect. She was 23 and soon gave birth to daughter Amelia, followed by Lucy two years later.
By then Fleetwood Mac had bought a mansion in Hampshire, where they all lived. She often stayed there looking after her baby daughters while Mick toured. But the band always came first.
‘I was quite introverted so it was very hard voicing what I wanted as a person,’ says Jenny. ‘I think that did represent many women at that time, because that’s how our mothers had taught us to be.’
When they went to live in LA, Jenny began to use alcohol as a prop to cope with shyness and Mick’s emotional distance, and would occasionally take cocaine.’
As she recalls: ‘Having a relationship with a musician, the band is first. It’s the mistress. So what does it feel like if you know you and the family are not number one?’
Tired and neglected, she had an affair with Bob, a musician who joined Mick’s band for a tour.
The tour was cancelled, Bob was sacked and he and Jenny returned to England. One chilling moment, Bob said to her: ‘Mick might have had the power to chuck me out of the band, but I have his wife in my bed.’
Jenny divorced Mick, then remarried in 1976, however they split again six months later and divorced in 1978. Pictured: A photo from the new memoir
It was a wake-up call. She telegrammed Mick, asking to try again. But Mick was no saint, either. He was increasingly reliant on cocaine, and Jenny says she never knew who he would decide to come home to — her, or Stevie Nicks, or one of the other women he was seeing.
They divorced, then remarried in 1976, but split again six months later, divorcing in 1978. By then her elder sister Pattie had left George for Eric Clapton. Clapton wrote the classic love song Layla for Pattie, but he would turn out to be a drinker and a womaniser.
In the book, Jenny recounts going to stay with them in the hope of ‘finding some solace, to be with my sister, walk in the woods’, only to discover the couple drunk and volatile. Clapton even tried to seduce Jenny to pique Pattie. But the sisters’ bond couldn’t be broken.
She admits she didn’t know how to be alone, and married musician Ian Wallace, a drummer for Bob Dylan, in 1984.
On honeymoon in Hawaii, a heart-stopping moment changed her life. She, Ian and friends went for a swim after taking synthetic mushroom pills. In her deranged state she believed she could breathe underwater and almost drowned. Shivering on the beach afterwards, ‘I became aware of the haze I’d lived my life in, and the need to do something productive.’
Jenny (pictured) said her life with David is completely different to the years she spent in the rock ‘n’ roll world
She joined a drug and alcohol prevention team, gained an MA in counselling psychotherapy and worked at the Sierra Tucson Treatment Centre in Arizona, one of America’s leading rehab clinics.
When in 1992, she moved back to London, Ian stayed in LA. She was 45 and ready to be single for the first time.
Through studying psychotherapy she realised that she had spent 30 years in co-dependent relationships.
‘If you’ve been brought up in an environment with an emotionally and physically absent father, do you bring that into [future] relationships? Mick was physically and emotionally absent most of the time, so it was like replicating what was familiar.’
But life was about to deal her a surprise. In 1995 she and a friend booked a walking holiday. And she met David.
‘My life with David is completely different to my years in the rock ’n’ roll world, not only because he comes from a different environment — dependable and steady — but because I’m older now and feel more connected to who I am,’ says Jenny.
She’s thrilled her grandson Wolf, 25, an actor, will be introducing her on stage during her memoir’s publicity tour. ‘It will be interesting for him interviewing his rock ’n’ roll grandmother!’
With David by her side, she can take on anything. ‘I feel the older I get, the more I’m getting the hang of this thing called life,’ she smiles.
Jennifer Juniper, by Jenny Boyd, is out on March 26 (£16.99, Urbane Books). © Jenny Boyd 2020. To order a copy in advance for £13.60, visit mailshop.co.uk, or call 01603 648155. Offer valid until April 30, 2020. P&P free.