25 Years Ago: Bruce Springsteen Marries Patti Scialfa
On June 8, 1991, Bruce Springsteen married E Street Band member and bona fide Jersey girl Patti Scialfa in the garden of their shared Beverly Hills mansion.
According to People, the ceremony included a 7PM cocktail hour and 8PM nuptials by candlelight, along with flourishes such as pink and white roses and a four-tiered wedding cake. “Guests, who later danced poolside to recorded versions of such Jersey-shore bar staples as ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Do You Love Me?,’ agreed Patti ‘looked gorgeous’ in a ‘simple but elegant’ floor-length white gown decorated with pearl teardrops,” the magazine reported, while the Boss sported a “traditional black tuxedo.”
The star-studded guest list included John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Daryl Hannah and members of the E Street Band (save for saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who “was notably absent,” People reported). A trio featuring the band’s Steven Van Zandt, Danny Federici and Roy Bittan provided the processional music, a Scottish folk ballad.
“Patti had never been married before,” a guest told People at the time. “She wanted a real storybook wedding, which is what she got.”
The happy occasion came at the end of an up-and-down period for Springsteen. The divorce from his first wife, model and actress Julianne Phillips, was finalized in 1989, and the following year he had started playing solo shows after firing the E Street Band. But also in 1990, Springsteen and Scialfa — who cut her teeth performing at the Stone Pony and singing backup for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes — had their first child together, son Evan James.
“Bruce has really grown up,” an unnamed friend told People. “He’s a family man now, and he’s happy. He’s an incredibly good father. Evan is a lucky little boy. Bruce spends a lot of time with the baby and even takes pride in changing diapers.”
The road to the altar and fatherhood, however, was plagued by plenty of negative tabloid reporting, due to the fact that Springsteen’s disintegrating marriage (and his burgeoning romance with Scialfa) played out in public during 1988’s Tunnel of Love Express tour. Though the pair’s relationship was officially exposed in mid-June, after paparazzi spotted the twosome canoodling at a Rome hotel, rumors about the couple had been swirling for months.
In fact, during the St. Louis stop on 2016’s River Tour, Springsteen revealed that the Gateway City held special significance to him. “St. Louis is a romantic city,” he said before playing “I Wanna Marry You,” one of the album’s centerpiece tracks. “This is where I got together with Patti. We took a walk underneath the big Arch, and that was it. The magnetic rays coming out of the Arch, like, got us for life.”
The feeling was more than mutual. “Patti’s been in love with Bruce for as long as I can remember,” Scialfa’s high school art teacher, Curtis K. Smith, told People in October 1988. “We’d always heard this and that about Patti and Bruce from [her brother] Michael. It wasn’t a big surprise around here when it finally came into the open.”
Twenty-five years later, Springsteen and Scialfa are still together and going strong, a united couple that continues to tour together and have raised three kids. “With Julianne, [Bruce] was euphoric, but it wasn’t real,” that same unnamed friend told People. “The truth is he and Julianne had nothing in common. Patti and Bruce, on the other hand, have everything in common. Frankly, I think Julianne was a dream, a digression. Patti and Bruce were meant for each other.”
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