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Bebe Buell Reveals Everything About Her Rock Star Romances

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll. What more could you ask for?

Rock stars are infamous for their insatiable appetites for all things in excess. Apparently, they aren’t subscribers to the old adage that too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing. From expensive cars to enormous mansions to copious quantities of drugs and alcohol. And some of the world’s most famous rock ‘n roll musicians have spent absurd amounts of money on all of the flashy trappings of fame. But as misogynistic as it might sound, one thing that also tends to go hand in hand with being a rock star is constantly surrounded by beautiful women. And sometimes, these girls end up being quite influential!

For seemingly as long as music has made, women have played a pivotal role in influencing it. In today’s video, we’ll be talking about one fan-girl in particular who was incredibly influential to some of classic Rock’s most prestigious stars. But don’t you dare call her a groupie. Bebe Buell prefers to called a muse. And in the 1970s and 1980s, she seemed to be everywhere spending alone-time with some of the biggest names in the music industry! Quite a few songs written about her as well.

Besides just being the object of affection and obsession of countless members of rock music royalty, Bebe is famous for being the mother of Liv Tyler. She’s also a former model and singer. Keep watching to learn all about her incredible life story. And towards the end of this video, we’ll reveal what Bebe has been up to recently. Because at the age of 68, she’s still alive and well living in Nashville, Tennessee.

Bebe’s Early Life

Bebe Buell was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, on July 14, 1953. Her parents were Dorothea Johnson, the founder of The Protocol School of Washington, and Harold Lloyd Buell, a World War II vet and U.S. Navy officer.

Since her father was away when she was born, Buell’s mother waited until he came back home before naming her. Being temporarily nameless, the nurses at the hospital where she’s born started referring to her as “Baby Buell”, which is how she got the nickname “Bebe”. While she eventually given the proper name of Beverlie Lorence Buell, “Bebe” would be the name that she would most comfortable with going by throughout her life.

At age 5, Buell already obsessed with Rock n’ Roll music. At the time, she considered Mick Jagger to be her biggest inspiration. Little Bebe would spend hours in front of her mirror imitating Jagger’s signature dance moves. Little did she know, however, that one day she would actually have an affair with the Rolling Stone.

At the age of 17, shortly after graduating from High School, Buell discovered by Eileen Ford, a modeling agency executive from New York City. When she was 18, Buell moved to the Big Apple to pursue a career in modeling. Although initially, she wanted to become a singer.

Being an up-and-coming model in New York City meant that Buell invited to many of the city’s most elite parties. While attending these lavish affairs, she got the chance to befriend some of the top rockers of the era. Her alluring charm and charisma seemed to draw everyone to her.

One evening while hanging out and sipping wine with famed photographer Lynn Goldsmith. Bebe agreed to let Goldsmith take some ‘artsy’ photos of her. Back then ‘artsy’ was just code for ‘nude’, but Buell had no problems baring it all for the camera.

Impressed by the shots, Goldsmith brought the pics to Playboy. Immediately after seeing Buell’s nude photos, the popular men’s magazine wanted to work with her. So, they flew her out to Chicago to visit the original Playboy mansion. In November 1974, Buell named Playboy’s Playmate of the Month. And just like that, she had become the first fashion model turned Playboy centerfold in history.

Ford Modeling Agency, however, not very pleased by her nude photoshoot. The agency had strict policies in place against such things. So, without hesitation, they fired her, but that didn’t hurt her career in the least bit, because she then quickly signed with the Wilhelmina Agency.

For the next couple of years, Buell got to pose for high-profile magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Cosmopolitan, among others.

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Bebe’s Relationship With Todd Rundgren

Buell had many love affairs with some of Rock music’s biggest stars of her day including, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, Iggy Pop, and David Bowie. She even earned the nickname ‘Friend To The Stars’ due to all of the celebs that she befriended and dated. Outside of the music world, her name has also been attached to folks like Andy Warhol and Jack Nicholson. Clearly, she was magnetic.

Mick Jagger once even said that if he were to ever dine with royalty. It would have been Bebe that he would have brought along with him as a date. Famous faces flocked to her, but one of Buell’s most famous relationships was with Todd Rundgren, whom she had an on-again-off-again romance with from 1972 to 1978.

The duo, who where dubbed by the media as ‘rock royalty’, were often compared to other prominent celebrity power-couples like Angie and David Bowie and Bianca and Mick Jagger.

Controversy Erupted When Buell Got Pregnant

In 1976, Buell got pregnant, but her long-term lover Todd Rundgren was not the father, Steven Tyler was. Bebe and the Aerosmith frontman had a brief fling that neither star expected to amount to anything. But lo and behold, Buell ended up becoming the mother of the ‘Dream On’ singer’s child.

Bebe realized fairly quickly that Tyler wasn’t going to be a very suitable father given his party-on, drug-fueled lifestyle. So, Buell, Tyler, and Rundgren ended up sitting down together and coming up with an agreement that Todd would raise the child as her father in order to give her a more stable home life. They further agreed to reveal the truth to her, if the need arose when she turned 18.

Things didn’t end up playing out quite as they had expected. Liv Tyler, the daughter in question, became increasingly suspicious as she got older. So, Bebe ended up disclosing the truth about who her dad was when she was 11.

Rundgren and Bebe’s relationship ended not long after Liv was born.

Buell’s Music Career And Autobiography

Like we already mentioned, Bebe always had aspirations of becoming a singer. In the late-70s, Buell and Patti Smith formed a close friendship and spent many nights drinking wine, writing poetry, and singing together.

In 1981, Buell released her debut EP entitled Covers Girl. The record was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars and featured The Cars on each of it’s four songs. A couple of years later, Bebe formed a band called The B-Sides. And ended up putting out the album A Side Of The B-Sides with the help of her former boyfriend Todd Rundgren as it’s producer.

Buell then went on to front a hard rock band called The Gargoyles who got to tour across the US and UK. Eventually getting to open for The Ramones for a number of shows.

The news broke about Steven Tyler’s paternity in 1991, forcing Buel to take a step out of the spotlight to focus on raising her daughter. She spent the next several years managing Liv’s acting and modeling career.

In 1992, Buell got married for the first time with musician and actor Coyote Shivers. The couple would end up divorcing in 1999.

In the mid-90s, after Liv left home, Bebe returned back to the music scene when she released the punk single “Retrosexual” and formed the rock outfit The Bebe Buell Band. She then recorded a solo record which she released in 2000.

In 2001, Buell published her autobiography, Rebel Heart: An American Rock and Roll Journey with St. Martin’s Press. The book went on to become a New York Times Bestseller and was issued in paperback the following year.

For the better part of the next decade, Buell and her band performed around New York. She would later form another band for a few shows with band members of the Boston-based band The Rudds and drummer of the Neighborhoods, Johnny Lynch.

In 2009, Buell released a single called “Air Kisses for the Masses’. She followed that up with a 12 track record that she put out on Amazon and iTunes.

In 2011, Buell released a hard rock album called Hard Love. It was produced by Stephen DeAcutis and her second husband, James Wallerstein, whom she exchanged vows with in 2002. Even in her late 60s, Buell still is writing and performing music, although she hasn’t put out a record in several years.

The Bebe Buell-Almost Famous Connection

When developing the script for his 2000 film Almost Famous, filmmaker and music journalist Cameron Crowe based the character Penny Lane on a handful of women he saw backstage in the 60s and 70s. While the character was largely inspired by a group of fans that called themselves the “Flying Garter Girls’, various other women have also been said to have inspired Crowe, including Pamela Des Barres and Bebe Buell. Crowe even named a lead singer in the film, Jeff Bebe, as a subtle nod to her.

Bebe Buell is far more than just a former groupie. Sure, she slept with some of the biggest rock ‘n roll stars of her day, but she went on to have a pretty respectable musical career. And how could we forget about that 1974 Playboy issue?

She might have once been called a ‘friend of the stars’. But she ended up becoming a full-fledged star in her own right.

Have you listened to any of Bebe Buell’s music? And did you know that she was the mother of Liv Tyler? Share your fondest memories of Bebe in the comments section below.

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