Charlie Watts - Private Life and Public Image

Private Life and Public Image

On 14 October 1964, Watts married Shirley Ann Shepherd, whom he had met before the band became successful. Still married after 47 years, they have one daughter, Seraphina Watts, born on 18 March 1968. Watts also has a granddaughter, Charlotte.

Watts has expressed a love–hate attitude toward touring. In the Canadian magazine Maclean's, he told interviewer Brian Johnson that he has had a compulsive habit for decades of actually sketching every new hotel room he occupies – and its furnishings – immediately upon entering it. He stated that he keeps every sketch, but still doesn't know why he feels the compulsion to do this.

Watts' personal life has outwardly appeared to be substantially quieter than those of his bandmates and many of his rock-and-roll colleagues; onstage, he seems to furnish a calm and bemused counterpoint to his flamboyant bandmates. Ever faithful to his wife Shirley, Watts consistently refused sexual favours from groupies on the road; in Robert Greenfield's STP: A Journey Through America with The Rolling Stones, a document of the 1972 American Tour, it is noted that when the group was invited to the Playboy Mansion during that tour, Watts took advantage of Hugh Hefner's game room rather than frolic with the women.

Watts has spoken openly about a period in the mid-1980s when his previously-moderate use of alcohol and drugs became problematic: " my way of dealing with ... Looking back on it, I think it was a mid-life crisis. All I know is that I became totally another person around 1983 and came out of it about 1986. I nearly lost my wife and everything over my behaviour".

A famous anecdote relates that during the mid-1980s, an intoxicated Jagger phoned Watts' hotel room in the middle of the night asking "Where's my drummer?". Watts reportedly got up, shaved, dressed in a suit, put on a tie and freshly shined shoes, descended the stairs, and punched Jagger in the face, saying: "Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're my fucking singer!"

Watts is noted for his personal wardrobe: the British newspaper The Telegraph has named him one of the World's Best Dressed Men. In 2006, Vanity Fair elected Watts into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, joining his style icon, Fred Astaire.

In June 2004, Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer, despite having quit smoking in the late 1980s, and underwent a course of radiotherapy. The cancer has since gone into remission; and, he returned to recording and touring with the Rolling Stones.

Watts now lives in Dolton, a rural village in Devon, where he and wife Shirley own an Arabian horse stud farm. He also owns a percentage of The Rolling Stones' various corporate entities.

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