He is widely regarded as one of the most iconic rock stars of the last 50 years. Yet there is so much more to national hero Bruce Springsteen than you might expect. Although he has developed a reputation as a role model for the American underdog, his contradictory actions over the years have been scrutinized by both fans and critics alike. Not only has Springsteen dealt with a number of obstacles in his career, but he has also had a surprisingly unpredictable personal life. Despite this, “The Boss” is still selling out stadiums around the world and is adding new strings to his Rock n’ Roll bow until this very day.
He Chose The Wrong Woman?
It seemed like Bruce Springsteen’s heart was shared by two women at once. Although he met his first wife, Julianne Phillips, after Patti had already joined Springsteen’s band and embarked on his Born In The USA tour, it wouldn’t take long before the pair started dating and in 1985, they tied the knot.
During this time, Patti was actually in a relationship with Tom Cruise. However, that was short-lived, and for a good reason…
He Was A Nightmare To Work With
Springsteen’s deteriorating relationship with Julianne Phillips also had an impact on the way that he treated other people. During the late ’80s, the rock star’s behavior started to change for the worse.
When he was on the road, Springsteen would complain if his food wasn’t delivered on time. Also, when he was about to perform at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, The Boss was disgusted by how many posters there were of him and tore them all down.
He Invaded Elvis’s Home
Every musician is inspired by what came before them and for Bruce Springsteen, it was Elvis Presley. In fact, The Boss was so obsessed with The King that he once tried to invade his Graceland ranch when he was performing in Memphis in 1976.
After the show, a drunk Springsteen went to Graceland at 3 AM, jumped over the wall and made it all the way to the front door before security managed to catch him. Elvis had left the building long before Springsteen arrived.
Fighting His Demons
You might not have guessed it, seeing that he always seems to perform with a smile on his face, but Bruce Springsteen has actually been fighting depression for as long as he can remember.
In his autobiography, Born To Run, the rock star claimed that he had been struggling with the condition for a long time, having to take medication as a result. Concerned that he might share the same fate as his father, Bruce is determined to overcome it.
His Old Flames
Even before Bruce Springsteen got caught up in his love saga involving Julianne Phillips and Patti Scialfa, there were plenty of other women who were romantically linked with him when he was coming up in the world of music.
Between the years of 1979 and 1984, The Boss dated actress Joyce Hyser, who is best known for her role in the movie Just One of the Guys. He also dated the likes of recording artist Lynn Goldsmith and model/ballerina Karen Davin.
When Bruce Met Patti
Having already become a popular figure with the ladies, Bruce Springsteen’s profile only got higher when he burst onto the rock scene during the ’70s. However, it wasn’t until the early ’80s when Springsteen met the woman who would eventually be his wife: Patti Scialfa.
After watching her perform with one of his friends at a New Jersey bar, Springsteen immediately befriended her and with time, got her to join the E Street Band. However, there’s a good reason why they kept things professional…
Songs About Their Poor Marriage
As time went on, it was becoming increasingly clear that Bruce Springsteen’s marriage with Julianne Phillips simply wasn’t working. The obvious factor was how often “The Boss” was away from home, which took its toll on the marriage. However, there was more to it than that. For a start, there was an 11-year age gap between the two and fundamentally, they were very different people. In fact, Springsteen wrote many songs about how unhappy he was with Phillips in his 1987 album Tunnel of Love.
So Many Changes
Although the press was unaware about it at the time, Springsteen officially separated from Julianne in 1988, before embarking on his Tunnel of Love Express Tour. Most importantly though, he convinced Patti to join the tour once again.
It was during this time that the pair, who had become good friends even before Springsteen met Julianne, started to see each other. It was just a matter of time before they moved in together, which opened up a whole other can of worms…
Slammed By The Press
Although Bruce and Patti’s blossoming romance coincided with a smooth divorce with Julianne, the press didn’t see it this way. The way journalists looked at it, Springsteen was moving way too fast from his ex-wife to the next woman.
They couldn’t understand how one of the country’s national heroes could be so reckless in his love life. However, The Boss wasn’t having any of it and in an interview with The Advocate, he set the record straight, once and for all…
Springsteen Strikes Back
Outraged by what the press had to say about his personal life, Springsteen was quick to set things straight in that interview with The Advocate. “It’s a strange society that assumes it has the right to tell people whom they should love and whom they shouldn’t,” he said.
“But the truth is, I basically ignored the entire thing…All I know is, this feels real, and maybe I have got a mess going here in some fashion, but that’s life.”
To Spend Or Not To Spend?
For someone who has always been regarded as the “Working Class Rocker,” Bruce Springsteen has had a complicated relationship with money over the years. Many have accused The Boss of being hypocritical when it comes to how he has used his wealth, having previously been reluctant to spend it.
However, the rock star did flash some cash back in the ’70s, when his album Born to Run climbed up the charts. He bought himself a 1950 Corvette. But wait, there’s more…
For a man who has normally been so careful with his money, Bruce Springsteen has reportedly been caught out on numerous occasions – specifically when it comes to his taxes.
In an interview with Tom Hanks, the rock star admitted that he had avoided paying taxes during the early stages of his career. When you take into consideration that his personal chef once worked for the king of Saudia Arabia, this is something you don’t want the IRS to know about…
Second Time’s A Charm?
It was a while before Springsteen no longer had to deal with the scrutiny of the press. However, it was during that time, on June 8, 1991, that he tied the knot with Patti Scialfa.
Naturally, they had a private ceremony, with only family and close friends in attendance at their L.A. home. They had already had a kid before their marriage, but Bruce and Patti decided to have two more afterward. They relocated to New Jersey in the mid-90s to avoid the paparazzi.
Apple Doesn’t Fall Far
After having three children, it made sense that at least one of Springsteen’s kids would have as much talent as he does. His oldest son, Evan, followed directly in his footsteps, developing a modest career as a performer in his own right.
However, his daughter Jessica has gone in a very different direction, coming up in the world of equestrian sports and is a well-respected competitor. Then there is his youngest, Sam, who works as a firefighter.
“Born In The USA” Has Changed Over The Years
It might seem like an uplifting, patriotic anthem. However, there is a lot more to “Born In The USA” than meets the eye. The song lyrics describe a Vietnam vet who returns home from duty with limited opportunities.
Even Springsteen himself has admitted that the song’s meaning has changed over the years. As America has changed, the song has changed, and without that classic chorus, the darker side of the song stands out even more.
Springsteen On Vietnam: “I Ain’t Goin'”
Bruce Springsteen’s nature to be his own boss started way back in the late 60s. When he was just 19 years old and the Vietnam war was in full effect, he was drafted into the army.
However, after going out the night before his physical exam and having a motorbike accident, the young man was deemed “4-7,” which is the code for “unfit for service.” Springsteen even told Rolling Stone in an interview, “I ain’t goin.'”
Once A Catholic…
Another complicated relationship Springsteen has had throughout his life was with his Catholic faith, which he was born and raised in. In his autobiography Born To Run, the rock star claimed to have “a personal relationship with Jesus.
I believe in his power to save, love … but not to damn.” He also went on the record, saying that “once you’re a Catholic you’re always a Catholic.” Surely enough, Springsteen’s relationship with his faith would evolve in interesting ways, both early and later on in life…
Bullied At School
One of the earliest and most bitter memories Bruce Springsteen had with his Catholic background came at school. At St. Rose of Lima Catholic school, young Bruce was often at odds with the school’s nuns.
One nun put him in a garbage can because she claimed: “that’s where [he] belonged.” However, Springsteen’s school struggles didn’t stop there. At Ocean County College, many students petitioned to have the young man expelled. However, it wasn’t all bad, with many of the female students taking a liking to Bruce…
“Our Father, In Heaven”
Bringing his complicated relationship with religion full circle, Springsteen recently starred in his own show on Broadway, which he won a Tony Award for. During this intimate show, Springsteen does a chilling recital of the Lord’s Prayer.
However, many have speculated that The Boss is also alluding to his own father, who suffered from addiction and calls to God for forgiveness. “Forgive us our sins, our trespasses,” Springsteen says during the show. “Deliver us from evil, all of us.”
Blast From The Past
It’s common knowledge these days that a young Courteney Cox appeared in the music video for Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” all those years ago. However, she repeated history, mentioning in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel that she attended one of Springsteen’s recent Broadway shows.
She went with Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston! However, the main difference was that this time, Bruce didn’t ask her to come on stage. She did reveal though that Dr. Ruth was there, who famously visited Springsteen backstage as well.
Why They Really Call Him “The Boss”
Every nickname has a story behind it, and Bruce Springsteen’s is no different. After leading The E Street Band and even being their manager at one point, “The Boss” had multiple meanings.
From business matters to his enforcement of rules such as sobriety and punctuality, Springsteen has been “The Boss,” not just of his band members, but of himself. And even after everything he has been through, both personally and professionally, Bruce Springsteen is still “The Boss…”
E Street For Life
While he’s had some complicated relationships over the years, none of them have been as stop-start as the one Bruce Springsteen had with his band, The E Street Band. During the first couple of decades of his career, Springsteen and E Street were inseparable.
That’s until he dissolved the band in 1989, and paid each band member a whopping $2 million in severance pay. Since then, the band have got back together on numerous occasions and are still performing until this very day.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet…
Even the most fervent Springsteen fans haven’t seen everything The Boss has been a part of over the years. At the upcoming Ashbury Park Music and Film Festival, guests will get the chance to see The Bruce Springsteen Archives, which features “rare and never before seen footage of Springsteen from the Thrill Hill vaults spanning from his early years to recent tour highlights.”
Springsteen will also appear in Tom Jones’s Ashbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘n’ Roll in a new, exclusive interview.