Bruce Springsteen & Patti Scialfa, married 32 years, were bandmates before becoming soulmates

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Bruce Springsteen, who will be performing in Birmingham’s Villa Park along with The E Street Band on Friday (June 16), has been maried to wife and bandmate Patti Scalfia, 69, since 1991

In relationships, some people prefer it when opposites attract but for others, it works out better when there are similarities.

For American rockstar Bruce Springsteen, lasting love came in the form of the latter. Not only is Springsteen and his wife both from New Jersey but also have Irish and Italian ancestry and share a love for music.

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Springsteen, 73, who will be performing in Birmingham’s Villa Park along with The E Street Band on Friday (June 16), has been maried to wife and bandmate Patti Scalfia, 69, since 1991.

The couple, who celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on June 8, raised three beautiful children while touring together over the years.

How did Bruce Springsteen meet Patti?

The first time they met was at a New Jersey bar called The Stone Pony in 1980 where Patti was to perform with Bobby Bandiera - who has played with Springsteen and is also from New Jersey.

“I remember getting off the stage one night, and I was talking to a few of my friends,” Scialfa told New Jersey Monthly, “and I saw this group of people slowly swarm up to me, like a tide rising toward me, coming up looking over my shoulder. I was getting really self-conscious. And finally, I turn around, and Bruce is standing there. He was such a magnet, he had all of these people around him.”

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Patti Scialfa (L) and musician Bruce Springsteen (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)Patti Scialfa (L) and musician Bruce Springsteen (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
Patti Scialfa (L) and musician Bruce Springsteen (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon) | (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)

They stayed in touch and he helped her out as their friendship grew. “It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” she said. “We had a beer together, sat at a table and talked. After that, I would go down every Sunday and sing, and sometimes he would be there. He knew I lived in New York and that I didn’t have a car, so he would offer to drop me off at my mom’s [in Deal]. Sometimes we would go out to the Ink Well in West End and have a hamburger and the chocolate milk with the whipped cream on top. The old Ink Well—I had been going there since I was a teenager.”

In the initial days, he gave her advice to stay away from the gig life but that didn’t stop Patti and she joined his E Street Band in 1984. “I even spoke on the phone to a high school-age Patti Scialfa,” he wrote in his 2016 autobiography Born to Run. “Dispensing the fatherly advice that this was a traveling gig and it’d be best for a young lady to stay in school.”

Even as she joined the band, and they went on their fabled Born in the USA tour in 1984 - they didn’t realise they had feelings for each other.

Patti Scialfa is joined on stage by her husband Bruce Springsteen(Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)Patti Scialfa is joined on stage by her husband Bruce Springsteen(Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Patti Scialfa is joined on stage by her husband Bruce Springsteen(Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Springsteen was married to actress and model Julianne Phillips between 1985 to 1989. They had a rocky relationship that didn’t last and the rockstar accepts that he was no good at relationships back then. “I was real good at music,” he told Rolling Stone, “and real bad at everything else.”

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How Bruce Springsteen mended his heart

In 1988, after his tour for his Tunnel of Love album ended - he tried to get the reigns of his life back. While on tour, his marriage deteriorated and tabloids wrote about his relationship with Patti.

About his ex, Springsteen said: “I didn’t really know how to be a husband. She was a terrific person, but I just didn’t know how to do it.”

It had gotten complicated for the rockstar but once off the road, he started therapy, got divorced from Phillips and eventually married Patti in 1991.

Musician Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa  (Photo by June McKim/Getty Images)Musician Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa  (Photo by June McKim/Getty Images)
Musician Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa (Photo by June McKim/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The left New Jersey for sunnier shores of California and started a family. And, the rest is history. They are still creating magic together on stage - something fans had recognised and loved right from the start.

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“We’ve kind of developed natural boundaries,” Bruce told Variety. “When she comes onstage with the E Street Band she’s an E Street band member, and when we walk offstage we’re husband and wife.”

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be performing live at Villa Park on June 16.

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