The Shady Side Of Rod Stewart Everyone Ignores

Rod Stewart is a rock music legend with over 200 million record sales under his belt. And after more than five decades in the industry, he's still a fan favorite. But like most rock legends, Stewart has his controversial and shady side.

The singer is as famed for his personal life as his music career. Rod Stewart has eight kids from five different women. His first, Sarah Streeter, was born when he was 18. He told The Mirror that Sarah was adopted because he was too poor to care for her. They reconnected after her adopted mom's death. Rod shares his troubled oldest son, Sean Stewart, and second daughter, Kimberly Stewart, with his first wife, Alana Stewart. He welcomed his third daughter, Ruby Stewart, with model Kelly Emberg. Then, Rod shares Renee and Liam Stewart with his second wife, Rachel Hunter, and Alastair and Aiden with his third wife, Penny Lancaster.

Over the years, Stewart has also been in some relationships with uncomfortable age gaps. For instance, Hunter is 24 years younger than him. In an interview with the Mail On Sunday Weekend magazine, the singer admitted that their disparity in years meant the relationship was doomed. "She was just 21 when we married and a mum a year later," he said. "My sister Mary told me she was too young for me as we were walking down the aisle. And she was right." Still, Stewart wasn't deterred as Lancaster is 26 years his junior. However, that's just scratching the surface of Rod's shady side.

Stewart keeps a very tight grip on his wallet

Throughout the years, Rod Stewart has been subjected to serious shade over his thrifty ways. Rolling Stones rocker Ronnie Wood is among those who have commented on his tight purse strings. "My father, being a Scotsman, taught me to look after finances. I'm shrewd. Some people may call me tight," the singer told Esquire in November 2013. "My old pal Ronnie Wood loves making jokes about it. 'Tight as two coats of paint,' he calls me. Tight as two coats of paint!"

Stewart's ex-girlfriend, Britt Eckland, also had something to say on the subject. The Swedish model dated him for two years back in the 1970s, but he left a lasting impression — albeit for the wrong reasons. "I had to pay $100 a month board and lodgings when I was living with him," Eckland claimed in an interview with the Mail On Sunday in January 2020. "I would go shopping with him and watch him buy clothes from Yves Saint Laurent, but nothing for me."

To dispel the rumors, Stewart majorly splashed the cash on New Year's Eve 2023. He left a whopping $10,000 tip for the staff who served him, his wife Penny Lancaster, and their sons, Alastair and Aiden Stewart, during a Hogmanay at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. "I advised the boys and girls at Gleneagles to invest the money wisely – stick the lot on Scotland to win the Euros," he told the Daily Record.

Stewart slammed TV talent shows

Rod Stewart ruffled some feathers in February 2024 when he slammed TV talent shows. He admitted to the Radio Times that he'd never actually watched any, but that didn't mean he didn't have a strong opinion about them. "Some great artists have come out of those shows, but I think they've also destroyed lives. People got so far, then they just got pushed out the door, and their 15 minutes of fame was over," he opined.

The singer also insulted the late great Frank Sinatra during the same interview. He said he'd been unhappy with the swing album he was making because it was in the vein of Ol' Blue Eyes. "There's nothing wrong with Frank at all; he's the greatest. But the arrangements were very, very polite," Stewart said, sharing that the result "was stale, and it was white, to be quite honest with you."

However, Stewart's disapproval of TV talent shows doesn't prevent him from performing on them, presumably in return for a bundle of cold hard cash. He took to the "X Factor" stage in December 2012 to perform a rousing rendition of "Merry Christmas Baby" with the finalists.

Stewart cheated on his first wife with his second

Rod Stewart is a happily married man. The singer tied the knot with Penny Lancaster in 2007, and he credits her with making him a better man. "They have not invented the words for how I feel about her. She is everything," he told The Mirror in May 2020, explaining that Lancaster taught him the importance of respect in a marriage. "It took me a while to learn because I have been a scallywag in the past," Stewart said.

It's an admission that his first wife, Alana Stewart, would definitely agree with. He cheated on Alana with Rachel Hunter, who later became his second wife. "Divorce is never easy, but it's even more painful when you find out your husband is having an affair with a beautiful model fifteen years younger than you," Alana told HuffPost in December 2012. Ouch.

Still, it appears that Alana eventually managed to put any bad blood aside for the sake of their two children, Kimberly and Sean Stewart. Rod told Esquire in November 2013 that he had all his wives and kids over for the holidays once (and only once). "They all arrived around 11 o'clock on Christmas Day, and they all decided to stay," he shared. "It was great. But it surely won't happen again, trust me."

Stewart shaded Ed Sheeran

Rod Stewart is definitely not on The A-Team of everybody's favorite red-headed Brit, Ed Sheeran. Stewart made his feelings clear during an interview with The Times. "I'm sure they are," Stewart said when asked if he believed artists still make iconic songs that will stand the test of time. "I like whatshisname. Oh f****** great, Rod. Well done," he continued. "He's British, really talented, and his songs will be around. Erm ..." The interviewer intercepted, asking Stewart if he was referring to Sheeran. "No, not Ed, I don't know any of his songs, old ginger b***ard. Jesus ..."

It transpired that Stewart was referring to George Ezra. Stewart complained that musicians today are not what they were back in the good old days. He said that back then, they all did it for the love of music, period. "Now it's more, 'Ooh, let's have a go at music. I don't even have to play well. Maybe I'll get rich.' Fame comes before everything. All kids want is fame," Stewart claimed.

Unless Stewart has lived under a rock for the past two decades, it's highly unlikely he doesn't know any Sheeran songs. "Shape of You" is one of the highest-grossing tracks of all time — U.K. and Stateside. According to Nielsen ratings, it topped the 2017 U.S. bestseller list, along with Sheeran's album "Divide."

Stewart beefed with Elton John

Rod Stewart also had a few words to say about Elton John. Although the two legends have performed together multiple times, Stewart took umbrage at his fellow musician's Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. According to John's website, he threw in the touring towel to focus on his family. He went out with a bang, going on a tour that spanned five years, and was Billboard Boxscore's highest-grossing of all time. It sold 6 million tickets and raked in $939 million in sales.

Stewart wasn't among the ticket holders, though. He made his feelings clear regarding the tour during an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live," where Andy Cohen asked what he thought about John's touring retirement. "I did email her [John] and said, 'What, again, dear?'" Stewart quipped. "And I didn't hear anything back!" He vowed that he would never officially retire himself; instead, he'd "fade away." Stewart accused John of money grabbing, sniping, "It's dishonest. It's not rock and roll."

John clapped back in his autobiography, "Me," claiming Stewart was in no position to pass judgment. "I certainly didn't feel like I needed a lecture on the feral spirit of rock and roll from someone who'd spent most of the last decade crooning his way through the Great American Songbook and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," he wrote. He called Stewart a hypocrite for "complaining about me promoting a tour while he was sat on a TV show promoting his own tour."