Carrie Fisher volcanic relations: Paul Simon and Ringo


Carrie Fisher‘s fame-charmed life brought her into rock circles, but a stormy, song-inspiring intersection with Paul Simon remains the most memorable. Same with Ringo Starr clip Your Sixteen.

Carrie and Paul married in August 1983, and then quickly divorced the following summer – the result, according to Peter Ames Carlin’s new book Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon, of latent emotional issues, too many fights and Fisher’s rampant drug use. But that was hardly the end. In fact, they dated on and off for more than a decade, directly influencing Simon projects like 1983’s Hearts and Bones along the way.

They’d first met while Fisher – who the 27 /12/16 at age 60 – was filming 1977’s Star Wars, and the actress reportedly set aside the affections of a series of other men in order to move into a Central Park West apartment with Simon. She was, at that point, far more famous than he was. “When I walk down the street with her,” Simon told the Washington Post in 1983, “it’s like every 7-year-old in America wants her autograph.”

Singer-songwriter Paul Simon and actress Carrie Fisher’s attraction to each other flared quickly — only to combust. Their explosive relationship stemmed from their swinging states of depression, Fisher’s drug use and an array of personal insecurities, according to Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon by Peter Ames Carlin.

The biography, out Oct. 11, explains that it was this mix of love and personal crises that caused Simon and Fisher to marry, divorce in 1984 and continue to date on and off for about a decade before finally ending their relationship after a psychedelic trip in the Amazon.

The resulting marriage, despite their lengthy courtship, was star-crossed from the first – ending up, as Fisher once reportedly described it, as nothing more than a “comfortable hell.” They’d split up, then reconcile – leaving Dan Aykroyd, at one point, stuck in the middle.

The actor, who scored a No. 1 album with the Blues Brothers’ Briefcase Full of Blues in 1979, saw his engagement to Fisher end when she returned to her old flame. “We had rings, we got blood tests, the whole shot,” Fisher told the Chicago Tribune in 2008, “but then I got back together with Paul Simon.”

Watch Carrie Fisher in a Paul Simon Music Video

Hearts and Bones actually began life as a planned reunion studio project with Art Garfunkel, following 1981’s mega-concert in Central Park, but life kept getting in the way. The title track lyrics, for instance, include these lines: “Two people were married; the act was outrageous. The bride was contagious; she burned like a bride.”

Paul Simon Carrie Fisher
Paul Simon and Carrie Fisher, 1979

Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Thinking a break-up would be too sad, the couple married instead
Fisher grew up with firsthand knowledge of dysfunctional relationships as the daughter of Hollywood stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — her father left her mother for Reynold’s best friend, Elizabeth Taylor, when Fisher and her brother Todd were still in diapers. Uncertainty was par for the course, in stark contrast to Simon’s quotidian upbringing in Forest Hills, New York.

The couple continued dating through the early 1980s and were at the point of splitting once more when, according to Homeward Bound, they thought breaking up would be too sad, so they may as well get married. Carlin writes the marriage was “such a happy prospect they fell in love all over again.”

Fisher and Simon wed at his NYC apartment with a guest list that reportedly included Lucas, Lorne Michaels, Kevin Kline, Teri Garr and Billy Joel, with celebrations continuing in the months after as Simon toured. But the issues that plagued the relationship prior to the wedding returned, and the couple was soon fighting once more.

“We once had a fight (on our honeymoon) where I said, ‘Not only do I not like you, I don’t like you personally!’” Fisher wrote in Wishful Drinking of the time. “We tried to keep the argument going after that but we were laughing too hard.”



Though laughter helped overcome many of their disagreements, it wasn’t enough to sustain a marriage. After 11 months they split, but the connection remained and the couple began dating again roughly a year later. “There had always been something perfect about them when they were getting along: the way they huddled together, the way he grounded her, the way she could make him laugh so easily,” Carlin wrote in Homeward Bound of the renewed relationship. “And he loved her, with a desperation that could frighten him.”

Simon and Fisher started dating again after getting divorced
Dating post-divorce worked for Fisher and Simon, for a time. They continued to see each other throughout the remainder of the 1980s, with Fisher helping Simon raise his son Harper (b. 1972), from his first marriage to Peggy Harper.

“Paul and I dated for six years, were married for two, divorced for one, and then we had good memories of each other and so what do you think we did?” Fisher wrote in Wishful Drinking. They split once again, but this time for good.

A trip to a spiritual healer in Brazil, where Simon was writing new songs, brought the relationship to an end, according to Homeward Bound. Having consumed psychedelic tea during a spirit cleansing ceremony, in Homeward Bound Carlin explained that Fisher said she had a vision in which she felt “pinned beneath Paul’s ever-spinning, ever-controlling brain.” Once they returned from Brazil, Fisher exited the relationship permanently.

“It was very painful to not be able to make it work…. We had a good time together when we did. We had a similar sense of humor, and our fights were sometimes hilarious,” Fisher told The New York Times in 2012.

“I’m not good at relationships,” she said to Rolling Stone in a 2016 interview. “I’m not cooperative enough. I couldn’t give [Paul] the peace that he needed. Also, it’s interesting when you are with another celebrity. The issue of celebrity becomes neutralized and you can get onto your bigger problems. … It’s all a shame, because he and I were very good together in ways that were good.”

They eventually separated for good and both moved onto other relationships
Simon would write about the relationship often in his music, perhaps most notably with “She Moves On,” from his Rhythm of the Saints album. Fisher mined the relationship for inspiration for her writing, both fictional and autobiographical. “She’s entitled to her life and to write about it as she wishes,” Simon told Rolling Stone in 2011, assuring he would not be doing the same. “I don’t want to talk about Carrie. I don’t mean I dislike her. I don’t dislike Carrie Fisher. I just don’t want to get into it.” He wed his third wife, singer Edie Brickell, in 1992 and has three children with her.

Fisher dated CAA agent Bryan Lourd with whom she had a daughter, actress Billie Lourd, in 1992. Fisher died age 60 on December 27, 2016, after going into cardiac arrest during a flight from London to Los Angeles. The day after she passed away, Simon tweeted, “Yesterday was a horrible day. Carrie was a special, wonderful girl. It’s too soon.”

Colin Bertram is a writer and editor specializing in entertainment and news journalism.

Finally, Simon came to a realization. “These new songs are too much about my life to have anybody else sing them,” he told Playboy in 1984. Hearts and Bones, which eventually flopped, made clear how the two were unsuccessfully struggling to remain together.

“They fought a lot,” according to Carlin, who describes a moment in which a screaming match was stopped cold because the suddenly delirious Fisher and Simon were “laughing too hard to snarl anymore.” That strange and combustible chemistry eventually led Fisher and Simon to one another yet again, even after their divorce.

“The bad thing about my relationship with Paul,” Fisher later said, “was that we were similar animals. Where there should be a flower and a gardener, we were two flowers. In the bright sun. Wilting.”

They travelled to Brazil together, where Simon was doing early work for an album that would become 1990’s Rhythm of the Saints. But the same troubles remained, leading the desperate couple to visit a spiritual healer in the Amazon where they drank hallucinogenic tea, Carlin said.

Watch Carrie Fisher Duet With Ringo Starr

Unfortunately, they both seemed to agree that their relationship was over. Not long after, the couple split for a final time. “It was very painful to not be able to make it work,” Fisher told the New York Times in 2012. “We had a good time together when we did.”

Simon composed “Have You Seen Me Lately?” for use over the title credits to the 1990 movie adaptation of Fisher’s book Postcards From the Edge. Fisher later said she thought “She Moves On,” from Rhythm of the Saints – highlighted by the lyric “she says, ‘maybe these emotions are as near to love as love will ever be‘” – was about her, as well. “If you can get Paul Simon to write a song about you, do it,” Fisher wrote in the memoir Wishful Drinking, “because he is so brilliant at it.”

The child of parents who both had scored pop hits, Carrie Fisher famously partied with the Rolling Stones during the making of 1980’s Empire Strikes Back – imbibing an improbably named cocktail called the Tunisian Death Drink. She sang a duet with Ringo Starr for the 1978 NBC TV movie Ringo, and was linked with singer-songwriter James Blunt, who scored a No. 1 single with 2005’s “You’re Beautiful.”

None of it had the staying power, the emotional highs and lows or the artistic spark of her time with Paul Simon. “Carrie added velocity to his life,” Carlin said, “a kind of wild energy that often set him alight – and sometimes made him scream.”

Simon, well after his split with Fisher, was more succinct: He reportedly said theirs “was a powerful love – and it still is.”

Read More: Inside Carrie Fisher’s Turbulent, Inspirational Relationship with Paul Simon |



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