Mick Jagger’s First Wives Club gathered last week to celebrate Jerry Hall’s new beginning with her billionaire groom, media mogul Rupert Murdoch. And what an extraordinary gathering of the sisterhood it was.
The first Mrs Jagger, Bianca, now a rather forbidding 70-year-old human rights campaigner, arrived at the event wearing a crow-black hat, top-to-toe designer clothes and a face like thunder. She had been chauffeured to the St Bride’s ceremony in Fleet Street from her home in Kensington.
Former girlfriend Marsha Hunt, now 69, who bore Jagger his first child, Karis, was also there, having travelled from her home in the north of France for the occasion. She wore cropped hair, a sunshine yellow jacket and a ready smile.
During the nuptials, Marsha gave a moving, short speech about former supermodel Jerry, 59, paying tribute to her sterling qualities as a mother and valued friend.
The very public crowning of Jerry as undisputed matriarch of the extended Jagger clan strikes many as long overdue, says Alison Boshoff
It concluded — to the surprise of many guests — with a black power salute.
Why was she there? Well, as Marsha is wont to say: ‘I don’t care what Mick says his relationship is with Jerry Hall. For at least 20 years she was my daughter’s kind stepmother, so she’ll always be somebody near my heart. She’ll be part of my realm for ever.’
Marsha and Bianca, both rivals at some point for Mick’s attention and affection, came together with their children, grandchildren and, in Bianca’s case, great-grandchild, in a united display of support for Jerry.
For the truth is that the presence of these two formidable women indicates the success of Jerry’s all-inclusive family strategy which she embarked on back in 1978, when her relationship with Jagger became official. It’s a policy she has been following ever since.
A friend of Jerry’s said: ‘The divorce could have been the bitterest one in rock.
‘She got naff all out of the divorce and naff all out of the relationship, but she didn’t fall out with Mick.
The first Mrs Jagger, Bianca, now a rather forbidding 70-year-old human rights campaigner, arrived at the Hall-Murdoch wedding with daughter Jade
‘She has always adored him and has never bad-mouthed him with the other women, but it’s fair to say that they have drawn ever closer now he has discarded them all.’
Some may say, of course, that being confronted by this united front of jilted women is just desserts for Jagger, who juggled his lovers with notorious ruthlessness. And the very public crowning of Jerry as undisputed matriarch of the extended Jagger clan strikes many as long overdue.
A friend of Jerry’s said: ‘Jerry always invited everybody into the family and into her life — which (Mick’s late girlfriend) L’Wren Scott didn’t so much.
‘Jerry had her way of doing it, which was always being really nice to all the exes. She was always polite to Bianca because that is the way Jerry does things. And she has a very good relationship with Bianca’s daughter, Jade. Jerry has more social energy and polish than anyone else in London.’
Certainly her invitation to Bianca is held as proof of Jerry’s saintly patience because Bianca — an aloof, often brusque woman who is engaged in various campaigns for social justice — is not popular among the Rolling Stones crowd and never has been. Indeed, Nicaraguan Bianca is not many people’s idea of fun — as she sniffed to Vanity Fair magazine recently when asked about her colourful nightclub past in New York: ‘I would rather die than talk about Studio 54.’
To this day, Keith Richards calls her ‘Bianca the w*****’.
Nonetheless, Bianca attended the wedding to honour the special relationship between Jerry and Jade.
Now 44, Jade regards Jerry with the utmost respect and fondness as someone who took on the role of third parent in her life.
For despite the fact Bianca filed for divorce from Mick on the grounds of his adultery with Jerry, it was Jerry, not Bianca or Mick, who threw Jade a lavish baby shower when she was expecting baby Ray with husband Aidan Fillary.
And Jerry was the one who — during Jade’s wild Ibiza years — quietly kept in close contact with her and was supportive and sympathetic about her high-octane love life and attempts to make money.
While Bianca was busy flying around the world protesting about human rights and Mick was running the most lucrative rock band in history, Jerry had time for the maternal touches.
And crucially, when Mick and Jerry’s union hit the rocks back in 1999 — with Mick pointing out that the correct paperwork was never filed to make their Bali beach ceremony anything more than a gesture, an omission that saved him millions in their divorce — Jerry’s relationship with his children and former lovers continued, unaffected by the fall-out.
Jade told a magazine recently: ‘As a family we are close. I get on well with Jerry. She’s very cool, very helpful.’ In the beginning, who would have thought that Jerry — wild, leggy and Texan — would have been such a force for stability?
Former girlfriend Marsha Hunt, now 69, who bore Jagger his first child, Karis (right), was also there
At many times, her skills as a diplomat and negotiator have been required to broker peace in the family.
When Jerry arrived on the scene in 1976, having met Mick at a dinner party, he was not only married to Bianca, but was also facing a paternity suit from Marsha, who was trying to get Mick to acknowledge that he was the father of their daughter, Karis, born in 1970.
Marsha, the daughter of a Philadelphia psychiatrist, had been pursued by Mick when she appeared in the musical Hair. ‘It wasn’t based on a simple love affair,’ Marsha has said of her relationship with Jagger. ‘It was based on two people having mutual admiration for each other.’
Nonetheless, in the early stages of pregnancy she moved out of his flat on the Chelsea Embankment on discovering that he was still romancing other women.
It took Marsha, who moved to Los Angeles with her daughter, nine years to get Jagger to admit his paternity after a U.S. court ruled he was the girl’s father and ordered him to pay $1,500-a-month child support.
When, four years later, Marsha decided to send the 12-year-old Karis to Bedales boarding school in Hampshire, Jagger re-entered the picture — and with Jerry’s blessing he and Karis started to spend time together in London at the weekends.
The First Wives Club gathered to celebrate Jerry Hall’s new beginning with media mogul Rupert Murdoch
She sent out the message at the wedding, which took place in St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street, that with or without Mick Jagger they are all doing great
Having got to know both Karis and Marsha, Jerry seems to have been a prime mover in reclaiming Karis for the Jagger clan. She invited Karis to family events such as Christmas, birthdays and Thanksgiving.
Jerry also started a tradition whereby all of Mick’s children would gather at some point over the summer holidays. A friend of Jerry’s says: ‘Jerry is the consummate homemaker and she understood that to be the perfect woman for Mick she would have to learn how to be the leader of the Jagger clan so that it would all work for him.
‘She had an open-door policy and would orchestrate the family holidays in Mustique because he liked to see all of them at some point over the summer.’
Jagger’s eldest daughter by Jerry, model Lizzie, once sighed that he liked to ‘line them all up’ and take a look at them — as Jerry understood all too well.
Thanks, in no small part to Jerry, Mick’s children have developed their own relationships with each other, with Jade and Karis being particularly close.
Marsha Hunt pictured with daughter Karis in 1971
Only a year apart in age, they became fast friends as teenagers — seeing each other in school holidays.
Karis, in fact, helped to deliver Jade’s second daughter Amba, who was born at home, while both of Jade’s girls were her bridesmaids.
When Mick’s father Joe died in 2006, both Marsha and Karis made the journey to England to support him, and when Mick’s partner L’Wren died in 2014, Karis helped her father with the funeral arrangements and supported him in the depths of his grief. All of which was undoubtedly made easier under nurturing Jerry’s care.
Marsha Hunt said: ‘These are siblings who share a notorious father, but they deal with each other in beautiful ways. All the kids were at Karis’s wedding, you know.
‘Jade was the maid of honour. I remember standing up and saying something important — that modern life has created new kinds of families, and the crucial thing is to do the best you can with that. And things have worked out pretty well.’
A friend of Mick’s sums up Jerry’s policy neatly: ‘It’s like the Knights of the Round Table — when you’re in, you’re in.’
How fitting, then, that every Jagger child, grandchild and great-grandchild attended to salute Jerry last weekend.
‘The great thing with Jerry is that now she’s had the chance to make a big point at the wedding — which is that, with or without him, they are all doing great,’ says a friend.
‘It’s something that they have all wanted to say to him, at one point or another — with varying degrees of politeness.’
Mick, currently on tour in South America with the Rolling Stones, will surely have got the message loud and clear.