Keith Richards’ multiple extended families “all love each other”, the 79-year-old rock star has said in a new interview.
Richards also described shedding some of his vices, including heroin and cocaine, over the years as he embraces a life of near-sobriety – calling it a “unique experience”.
Earlier this month, Richards joined bandmates Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood as they paid tribute to late drummer Charlie Watts at the launch of The Rolling Stones’ forthcoming album Hackney Diamonds in east London.
Ahead of the release of the eagerly anticipated record, Richards spoke to The Telegraph about his relationships with his many children and grandchildren, the “fascinating process” of ageing, and giving up the alcoholic beverage he ominously calls “Nuclear Waste”.
Richards has been married to former model and actor Patti Hansen, 67, for nearly 40 years. The couple share two children, daughters Theodora, 38, and Alexandra, 37.
Before his marriage to Hansen, the legendary guitarist was in a 13-year relationship with Rolling Stones muse and “It Girl” of the Seventies, the late German-Italian model Anita Pallenberg.
They welcomed three children during that time, Marlon, now 54, and Dandelion Angela, who turned 51 in April. Their third child, a son Tara Jo Jo Gunne, tragically died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 1975, when he was just two months old.
Marlon, a gallery curator and photographer, and his wife Lucie Richards have three children, including model Ella Richards, 26.
On the subject of family life, Richards told the newspaper: “I love my families. I have several – extended. And they all love each other.”
Elsewhere, the musician said he was embracing a healthier way of living; Richards said he hasn’t touched a cigarette since 2019, gave up heroin in 1978 and then cocaine in 2006.
“I still like a drink occasionally – because I’m not going to heaven any time soon – but apart from that, I’m trying to enjoy being straight. It’s a unique experience for me,” he said.
However, Richards’ drink of choice is now no longer what he dubs “Nuclear Waste”, a blend of vodka and orange soda that he was frequently seen sipping during earlier interviews.
Despite the years of substance abuse, Richards said that he is “blessed” to be healthy as he approaches his eighties.
I’m blessed, maybe, that physically this thing just keeps going,” he said, during the interview. “So far, I have no real problem with getting old. There are some horrific things that you can see in the future, but you’ve got to get there.
Richards continued: “I’m getting along with the idea of being 80, and still walking, still talking. I find [ageing] a fascinating process...”
The Rolling Stones’ new album Hackney Diamonds will be released on 20 October.