HomeEntertainmentJohn Mellencamp Recalls ‘Good’ Advice from His Wife He Followed Since 1991

John Mellencamp Recalls ‘Good’ Advice from His Wife He Followed Since 1991

by Maria Hartfield
Credit: Mike Coppola / Staff/Getty Images

Rock icon John Mellencamp reveals why he doesn’t allow folks backstage at his shows. The talented musician has been performing live for audiences since the ripe age of 14. Mellencamp married fashion model Elaine Irwin on September 5, 1992. The two eventually separated in 2010 after 18 years of marriage.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer remembers his ex-wife forbidding ‘girls’ from being backstage during his performances. A rule he has complied with since 1991.

“Elaine came out on tour with me [early on] and looked at what was going on,” Mellencamp said of his ex-wife in an interview with People magazine. “She goes, ‘This is not going to go on anymore. No more [random] people backstage.’ I said to her, ‘Why? I thought we were having fun.'”

Mellencamp continues saying, “She goes, ‘Yeah, if you’re 15. But you’re not 15 anymore. You’re married to me, so there’s nobody backstage.’ I said, ‘You go tell the band,’ and she did. There’s not been anybody — no girls or hangers-on — backstage at my shows since then. Her advice was good.”

John Mellencamp, now 70, rose to fame in the 1980s. He contributed a long list of Top 10 singles including, “Hurts So Good”, “Jack & Diane“, “Crumblin’ Down”, “Pink Houses”, and more. Overall, the rocker garnered 22 Top 40 his in the United States. Additionally, Mellencamp holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit number one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Track chart, with seven. He earned 13 Grammy Award nominations and ended up winning one. All in all, Mellencamp has sold over 30 million albums in the US and over 60 million worldwide.

John Mellencamp Talks Parenting

As a parent, Mellencamp describes his childrearing style as “not crazy” but “colorful”. He admits he always wanted to have his kids with him while he was on tour. The accomplished musician emphasized the fact that he would set his children up in hotel conference rooms in an effort to keep their homeschooling schedule intact.

“When you’ve been in a rock band since you were 12, you become colorful,” Mellencamp explained. “When the kids were little, I’d say, ‘What are you guys going to do today?’ They’d say, ‘We’re going to school,’ and I’d go, ‘No. You did that yesterday. Why are you going to school? What are you going to learn today that you don’t already know?’ I was teasing, of course.”

The devoted father and longstanding entertainer said self-deprecation is what keeps him spry and easygoing.

“I try to make sure that my kids understand how fortunate they are and that they shouldn’t take any of this for granted,” he said.

Mellencamp has five children from his three marriages. He shares sons Hud, 27, and Speck, 26 with Irwin, Michelle, 51, with ex-wife Priscilla Esterline, and daughters Teddi, 40, and Justice, 36, with ex-wife Victoria Granucci.