Things You Forgot Happened During Gwen Stefani's Relationship With Gavin Rossdale

They were one of those couples who seemed to have been together forever, so there'll understandably be things you forgot happened during Gwen Stefani's relationship with Gavin Rossdale. The couple were actually together for 20 years, of which they were married for 13. In that time, the two endured the rigors of various obstacles and upsets — many of which were covered in publicly painful detail within Stefani's own song lyrics and by the scandal vultures of the tabloids. 

Having met in 1995 when their bands No Doubt and Bush were on tour together, Rossdale told Details magazine that he was so eager to woo Stefani that he "threw a party in New Orleans just as an excuse to hang out with her." They subsequently "drank a bunch of Hurricanes and went around the French Quarter" together before enjoying their first kiss (via Bustle). Stefani's perspective of their budding romance was a little different, with the star telling "The Howard Stern Show," "Somehow he got my phone number, and that was that. He stalked me, I think," (via Refinery 29). Hopefully, she was only kidding.

However, as we've all been able to reflect on by this point, any behavior that resembles "stalking" might be a sufficient language of love for a rom-com, but in real life it's one of the biggest red flags there is. And as the history of Stefani and Rossdale's relationship shows, there were countless troubles and red flags throughout their romance.

The salacious rumors

To understand the couple's history, we have to start at the end. And so it was that in 2015, tabloids found themselves asking, "Why did Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale break up?" Gossip detectives everywhere with "insider" rumblings subsequently pointed a communal finger in one stereotypical direction: The nanny did it. The divorce of music's coolest and seemingly most enduring couple was reported as being due to Stefani suspecting that Rossdale was having an affair with the family's longtime nanny (via Radar).

US Weekly went deeper with their speculation by reporting that Rossdale's relationship with the woman had spanned three long years. An insider told the magazine that Stefani had allegedly found steamy texts between the two as well as "nude photos" of the nanny on the family's iPad which was (perhaps foolishly — buy a burner phone, people!) "linked to Gavin's phone. One of the other nannies discovered the exchange and told Gwen." The "Swallowed" singer is alleged to have initially dismissed the accusations, before confessing "to the affair months later." Understandably, Stefani kicked him to the curb.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, "The Voice" coach and current Mrs. Blake Shelton appeared to confirm the rumors by responding to a question about Rossdale's alleged affair by stating she "went through a real period of anger" following it. Sadly, their relationship was scattered with foreshadowing as to Rossdale's alleged salacious behavior — and by all accounts, Stefani was well aware of it, too. 

Red flags

The "Used to Love You" singer would be the first to suggest that there were potential problems in Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale's relationship from the get-go. In a 2000 interview with Nylon, the No Doubt frontwoman reflected on meeting the sexy Bush frontman for the first time in 1995 and how she immediately saw the potential issues that could arise. "I was like, 'Why am I going to go out with you? You're in a band. You live in another country, and you are too cute,'" she said, "Everything about that just says, 'wrong, hurt, bad idea.' But I couldn't help myself" (via Shefani Archive). Who could blame her?

Following their divorce amid rumors of Rossdale's infidelity, Stefani suggested that upon reflection, the clues about their future "situation" were always evident. The "Rock Steady" pop star told People that listening to old tunes she'd written about Rossdale made her "get sick." She explained, "You look at the songs and go, 'That was a red flag. That was a moment where I was feeling just as bad as I feel today'. Why did I keep it up?"

As the Nylon interview with Stefani touches upon, she and Rossdale had an unstable "on-again" and "off-again" relationship during the beginning of their romance. And there were a few key factors that contributed to that.

Long-distance love

First and foremost, on top of them both being successful touring musicians at the time that they met, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale were based at opposite ends of the world in the early years of their relationship. While Rossdale was based in his hometown of London, England, Stefani was very much an L.A. girl — and by all accounts neither seemed willing to compromise one for the other. 

"It's one of my big problems," Stefani once told US Weekly. "I am supposed to live in London, but I don't really want to. It's only because I love my family so much, and I want to be around them" (via Shefani Archive).  The problem was so persistent that it apparently inspired "much of" No Doubt's 2001 album "Rock Steady," which Stefani told Rolling Stone "is about how hard it is having a relationship that's not only long-distance but also between two people in different touring rock bands." 

The topic is probably most evident on the song "Making Out," in which the singer pours her heart into lyrics that measure the amount she missed her partner and how romantic gestures — like flowers or notes — "just ain't good enough." There are also other more ominous lyrics that point to suspicions of Rossdale's infidelity: "I'm with my friends, 'till the night ends," she sings. "And honestly you can trust me, but that just ain't good enough" (via Genius). 

Was Gavin Rossdale always cheating on Gwen Stefani?

It's one thing to suffer insecurity about a partner's faithfulness in private, but it's another to then see constant tabloid speculation that appears to confirm your worst fears. During the early years of their relationship, plenty of tabloid attention was given to rumors that Gavin Rossdale was cheating on Gwen Stefani with a variety of high-profile women.

The Guardian suggested that he was once linked with All Saints star Natalie Appleton, NME theorized that he was "seen on the arm of" supermodel Kate Moss (via Shefani Archive), and 3AM reported that he was "officially an item" with Irish musician Andrea Corr, after five years of dating Stefani (via The Free Library). Whether there was any truth to the rumors is another matter entirely, but regardless, it seemed to cause understandable hurt for the "Don't Speak" performer. 

When asked by The Herald Sun about Rossdale's rumored romance with Corr, Stefani wryly responded, "Is he cheating on me again?" and suggested that her beau simply "has bad luck" and is "photographed with girls" everywhere he goes. "It's a little annoying for me," she said. "At a certain point you think, 'God, everyone must think I'm getting the raw end of the deal'" (via Shefani Archive). And though she assured the interviewer that "things are rad" between herself and Rossdale, there was a whole album of songs that appeared to suggest otherwise.

No Doubt's biggest break-up album

Released in 2000, "Return of Saturn" is a sonic shock of an album which pounds with fury, anxiety, and heartache. According to The Guardian, at the time of the album's release, Gwen Stefani was said to have confessed to feeling "insecure and jealous and paranoid" — something which she later denied saying but which can undeniably be heard all over the album's central lamentation of fighting for a lover who may not be fighting for you.

As Bustle pointed out, the album is blatantly full of songs about Gavin Rossdale. Break-up opening track "Ex-Girlfriend," for instance, references the Bush lyric "I'll burn before I mellow" from "Dead Meat," with Stefani biting back, "You say you're gonna burn before you mellow/ I will be the one to burn you." 

"Home Now" poses big questions of the couple's long-suffering long-distance relationship, with the singer asking, "So, what you giving up for me? And what I shall I give up for you?" And "Bathwater" agonizes over her hurtful attraction to "the boys that are naughty." She sings, "I know I can't tame you, but I just keep trying." 

The album's allusions to Stefani's troubled romance with Rossdale were obvious, and by all accounts not a secret. While discussing her inspirations for the album with NME, the singer suggested that her relationship had taken "a difficult route" due to being in a band. "So I write about it. I don't know what else to write about" she said (via Shefani Archive).

His teenage lovechild

If things were difficult during the long-distance and cheating rumors phase, then they were about to reach a new level of hard for the couple. In 2004, Gavin Rossdale discovered he had a 15-year-old lovechild with singer and designer Pearl Lowe, and People reported that Gwen Stefani was "devastated" by the news, according to "her friends." 

The revelation apparently came to a shock to everyone when Rossdale agreed to take a DNA test after Pearl began to suspect her daughter — the model Daisy Lowe — was fathered by him. The two reportedly enjoyed a "very brief fling way back when" — which you'll know is sometimes all it takes, if you've seen any old "Jerry Springer" episodes. 

Though he's since stepped up into a fatherly role and maintained a good relationship with Daisy (via People), the Bush frontman and secret baby daddy was reportedly not too happy with the discovery, with Pearl telling (the ironically titled) Easy Living magazine, "Gavin told me if Daisy, then 14, had a DNA test, he'd never speak to me again and he's kept his word" (via Hello!).

It must have been difficult for the then-childless Stefani, who once sang, "I always thought I'd be a mom/Sometimes I wish for a mistake" in the song "Simple Kind of Life." A year later, during an emotional and broody interview with Rolling Stone, she sadly confessed, "I've always wanted to do the family thing."

The gay former lover

But more bombshell secrets were awaiting the couple. From stage left entered British singer Marilyn with allegations that he'd once had a five-year relationship with Gavin Rossdale, prior to Gwen Stefani. The performer made the claims in a 2009 newsletter to fans where he described Rossdale as "the love of my life" (via Express). Marilyn's friend Boy George had previously written about the relationship in his 1995 autobiography, with Rossdale initially denying the claims. He told Rolling Stone he "wasn't dating Marilyn" but that the two remain good friends. "George thinks everyone is gay," he added (via HuffPost).

Fast-forward to 2010, and Rossdale was furiously backtracking during an interview with Details where he confirmed the romance did indeed happen. Asked if it was a "one-time experimentation," Rossdale replied, "Yeah. That was it," and suggested he was simply 17 and "learning about life" at the time. "It's a part of growing up," he said. "That's it. No more, no less" (via Daily Mail).

Regardless, the Bush frontman reportedly "pleaded" with the magazine's editors not to publish his admission, as Stefani reportedly didn't know about his past romance with Marilyn (via Daily Mail). Throwing a final shovel of dirt on the situation, Marilyn later claimed to Radar that Rossdale called him to rant about how his divorce from Stefani was his former lover's fault. "Because I did an interview about the affair ... and everything from then on is all my fault," he said.  

Courtney Love vs. Gwen Stefani

The messy romantic pile-up continued for the couple with the addition of one of music's most polarizing figures: Courtney Love. Love claimed that Gavin Rossdale had once cheated on Gwen Stefani with her. Never one to shy away from a ruckus, Love made the claims while on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2010 and suggested the dalliance lasted for eight months (via US Weekly). "We had a really good time," she said. "He was lovely."

When asked by Stern whether Love was sleeping with Rossdale while he was with Stefani, Love made the shocking claim, "Yes, she does know," and added he was sleeping with her "and a few other people" in addition to his relationship with the No Doubt frontwoman. The couple immediately went into recovery mode and released a statement via Rossdale's Facebook account which reassured fans, "All is well with the Rossdale family," and "that anything that may have occurred prior to their marriage has no impact on their current situation" (via Pop Sugar). 

The longstanding feud between Stefani and Love has been well documented — it's rumored to have even inspired Stefani's hit track "Hollaback Girl" — and it showed no signs of ending anytime soon. In 2013, Love suggested that the Bush frontman was now controlling his wife's career. "He runs the Gwen show, that's him," she told ABC News. "He runs the clothing line ... he has nothing else to do."

Was the romance always doomed?

Gwen Stefani had always been open about her relationship with Gavin Rossdale being a difficult one. Be it telling Marie Claire that the survival of her marriage was a "miracle" based on the constant problems they'd faced (via Metro) or confessing to Rolling Stone how she was "always questioning" whether Rossdale was The One ("I think we both question that"), the course of true love never did run smooth for these two lovebirds.

Divorce rumors first started swirling in 2012 when Star Magazine claimed the split was "inevitable" for the couple (via Pop Crush), and later that year Just Jared reported them as leaving couple's therapy together. As was always the case with the pair, on the outside they seemed solid and happy, but underneath it all was a darker truth. Were the two always crumbling beneath the façade?

Stefani once claimed to Elle that she wears "make-up every single day ... for Gavin" (via US Weekly) — a fact which takes on a grim subtext alongside the lyrics to the No Doubt track, "Magic's in the Makeup," where Stefani sings about using makeup to "camouflage [her] nature" and lyrics which state, "A counterfeit disposition can't be good my health." Indeed. By all accounts, Stefani and Rossdale seemed to camouflage these problems for as long as possible, but there's only so much damage that can be hidden by the makeup of a bad romance. By the end, there was no disguising it — they were done.