‘I was a rock star! You don’t dump a rock star!’ Rod Stewart opens up about his split with Rachel Hunter

It seems our Rachel was definitely 'the one who got away'.

Legendary rocker Rod Stewart has shared new details about his split with Kiwi supermodel Rachel Hunter which reveal just how devastated he was when Rachel left him.

In an endearingly candid interview with The Mail on Sunday’s Weekend Magazine the 74-year-old said, “I couldn’t believe it.

“I was a rock star. You don’t dump a rock star!

“It knocked me for six.”

The UK singer, who reportedly lay on the couch for four months clutching a hot water bottle after Rachel left him, admitted that their 26-year age gap had impacted their relationship.

“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.”

Watch: Rachel Hunter gets her first big modelling contract at age 16. Article continues below.

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Rod, of course, is now married to Penny Lancaster and the couple, who tied the knot in 2007, have two sons, Alastair, 13, and Aiden, eight.

But before Penny, Rod was married to Rachel and by all accounts, was absolutely smitten.

He once said, “In the eight years we were together, I was entirely faithful … Rachel was everything I wanted; I became a devoted husband overnight.”

The pair had met at LA nightclub the Roxbury and in Rod’s autobiography, Rod: The Autobiography of Rod Stewart (released in 2012) he revealed that he had been in the midst of plans to propose to model Kelly Emberg (the mother of his daughter Ruby) at the time.

He had even got to a point where a small plane had been hired to trail a banner popping the question.

Rod and Rachel at the premiere of Evita in London in 1996.

But the night before the proposal he met Rachel: “There was a connection straight away,” he wrote.

“She was extremely beautiful, but there was something no-nonsense about her as well. It was there in her New Zealand accent, but also in her face, which was open and smart.”

He also liked the fact she was financially independent.

“Not only was she as far removed as could be from the stereotype of the flaky model, but she already had money and fame. That was a relief. In my position, that suspicion was always there: does this woman really like me, or just the stuff that surrounds me?”

Rod followed Rachel to New York, where she was working at the time, to pursue her. A whirlwind romance developed and three months later, in December 1990, they were married.

Rod with his third wife, Penny Lancaster. The couple has been married 12 years.

During their marriage, whenever Rod toured the couple always traveled together with their children, Liam and Renee.

And they famously always dressed formally for dinner, meeting on the landing to appreciate each other’s outfits before descending the stairs together.

But Rachel found the lifestyle oppressive and in later interviews revealed she felt she lost her identity.

Rod wrote in his autobiography, “I had no idea how oppressive Rachel found this, how much she wished she could have been in her jeans, eating poached eggs on toast.”

In 1999 the couple split and in a bombshell interview with the London Mirror in 2001 Rachel said: “To the outside world, I was mother of two beautiful kids, a wife to Rod and a successful model without any financial worries, but, inside, I was in torment.

“By the time I was 29, I had spent eight years with someone else’s group of friends…

“In the nine years we were together, I’d never done anything for myself. If you’d asked me then what I liked or didn’t like, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I didn’t even have a hobby.

“Like lots of women who marry young and find themselves mothers by the time they’re 25, I felt I no longer had an identity. I was just nothing.”

Rod and Rachel officially divorced in 2006 and Rod married Penny in a lavish Italian wedding the following year.

Rod has been married three times – as well as Rachel and Penny he was also married to Alana Hamilton, and he has eight children to five different mothers (model Dee Harrington makes up the fifth mother of his children).

Talking to The Mail on Sunday’s Weekend Magazine about how Penny deals with all of his different ex-partners and children, Rod acknowledged how well his wife does.

“I don’t know how she does it,” he spilled. “I get on well with all of them, although it can be a bit awkward if Alana and Kelly [Emberg, mother of Rod’s daughter Ruby] and Rachel [Hunter] are all in the same room.”

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