She’s been through stalking, sexism and also drugs – and had her residence taken through the taxes collector. Yet at 74, the Blondie star is tho irrepressibly creative, and also happier than she’s ever been



It wasn’t till she to be 31 – relatively old through pop-star standards – that Debbie Harry ended up being famous. This go some means to define how she regulated to throwing in therefore much before she ended up being the superstar frontwoman the Blondie. Come name however a couple of of she experiences, as a child, she endured being in a coma as a result of pneumonia; as a young woman in new York, she operated for the BBC, hung out through Andy Warhol and also other brand-new York faces, escaped one abusive relationship, became a driver for the brand-new York Dolls, started a girl band, developed Blondie and believes she had actually a happy escape from the serial killer Ted Bundy. “I’m certain I don’t have all my experience on tap,” bother writes in her new autobiography, face It.

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I accomplish her in a suite at the Savoy in London. She appears alone, wearing sunglasses. Bother is tiny (despite her platform trainers) and also pale, v her soon recognisable peroxide hair brushed up back. She looks as delicate and ethereal as a dandelion clock, however the sunglasses come off and her eyes space quick and determined. She appears warm and tries to ask me as many questions as I ask her – i can’t decide if it is her enduring curiosity or a deflection technique. Possibly it is both.


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Harry v David Bowie in 1980. Photograph: Nancy Kaye/APShe remembers remaining at the Savoy when with kris Stein, she Blondie bandmate and also then boyfriend, if Prince Charles and also Diana were attending a party there. She recalls, v a laugh, that security concerned interrogate them since of Stein’s collection of ceremonial weapons.

She seems to have stories about everything, i m sorry makes face It one often an extremely funny read. To be it sometimes complicated looking back? take care of is 74, and has been with some traumatic events. “Sometimes, yeah. It no something …” She pauses. “I often tend to move on, acquire interested in something and also see those about. I guess there to be moments once I thought: ‘God, you were together a fool.’ you look back, and you think around all the mistakes girlfriend made: ‘Why go I ever do that?’” She smiles. “But, every in all, i guess i’ve been an extremely lucky.”

Her best mistake, she says, was money. “That i didn’t pay more attention to business, and also that i was really only interested in do music and also performing.”

In the at an early stage 80s, Harry and also Stein – they to be in a partnership for 13 year – lost everything. Their debut album, the eponymous Blondie, came out in 1976, and for year they toured the world; they had six No 1 UK hits, including Heart that Glass and also Call Me, and also sold 40m records. When the US internal Revenue business hit them through a vast bill for unpaid tax, they shed their brand-new York townhouse; the IRS even took few of her clothes, she writes. Worse, Stein remained in hospital recovering native an autoimmune disease – take care of would invest the next few years looking after him – and they were no sure exactly how they would pay his clinical bills. It additionally meant the end of the band.

At the time, they to be both ~ above heroin. In her book, Harry, who would lug the drug to Stein in hospital, writes: “I think the doctors and also nurses knew that he was high all the time, however cast a remote eye due to the fact that it preserved him reasonably pain-free and also mentally less tortured.”


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Harry through Andy Warhol in 1985. Photograph: Sipa/Rex/ShutterstockHarry had an initial tried heroin v an old boyfriend, but judging through old interviews it doesn’t seem to have been a problem for her. Exactly how would she describe her relationship with it? “I don’t in reality regret taking it, however I carry out regret the quantity of time … it’s a time-consumer. Yet I think at that allude it was a essential evil. To some degree, it was self-medicating. It was a rough, depressing time that life and it appeared to fit the purpose, yet then that outlived that benefits.”

She acquired off it, she claims matter-of-factly, “just the way anybody go – go to a programme, or get in therapy. It’s not easy.” her eyes widen and also she transforms tack. (She walk this a lot.) “Now, the whole opioid crisis is even an ext serious,” she says. Her aunt ended up being addicted to painkillers. “She was a little bit older 보다 I to be today as soon as she had actually this problem. It was tough for her to acquire off of every this.”

Harry, who was adopted as a baby, grew up in small-town new Jersey. She to write movingly about how a fear of abandonment has lasted every her life: “I guess somewhere in mine subconscious, a scene was play on a loop that a parent leaving me somewhere and never comes back.”

Was it painful to revisit that in her book? “Not in ~ this suggest in mine life since I’m one adult. I think we all have a tiny area the clutter that’s nagging sometimes and also it’s frequently hard to obtain rid of. Probably this is mine purge.” did it feeling cathartic? “Well, girlfriend know,” she claims with a sigh, “I think I’ve solved a many those difficulties that to be hanging on and I’m happy it’s sort of done.”

She spent a few years in brand-new York ~ college, waitressing, failing in ~ auditions and also playing in bands. It wasn’t functioning out, for this reason she moved earlier to brand-new Jersey and also started a partnership with a guy who was possessive and also controlling; one night he damaged into her flat, thinking she had an additional man there, placed a total to her head and threatened come rape her. “That was crazy, wasn’t it?” she says. She denies it had actually much the a lasting impact. “I was just happy to obtain away from him and move on through my life. Fortunately, that’s when I met Chris, so the was one of the finest things in mine life, if not the really best. We’ve had actually a lengthy run of good friendship and an innovative success so, my God, i can’t ask for more.”

She is similarly dismissive of one more horrific incident. In the early on 70s, when she and also Stein to be coming home after a gig, a man adhered to them and forced them at knifepoint come let him into their apartment. That was searching for drugs and also equipment. The tied up Stein, climate Harry. When he had actually piled increase the devices he was going to take it – guitars, Stein’s camera – the raped she on the bed.


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Harry and Stein in brand-new York in 1978. Photograph: Roberta Bayley/RedfernsIn she book, she writes: “I can’t say that i felt a lot of fear. In the end, the steal guitars pains me more than the rape.” have the right to this be true? “Yes,” she says. “I mean, ns was angry and I felt victimised. Ns wasn’t beaten or harmed physically, it to be all emotionally or mental. Being raped – or fucked – by part stranger versus my will certainly at knifepoint, you understand …” She pauses and also sighs. “It no a happy minute in my life, but I really, seriously, empathise v women who space beaten. That would certainly be something that emotional implications for the rest of my life. However this doesn’t.”

She to know it might seem hard to believe. “It is ludicrous,” she says, “and the is sort of funny that I would say it, but, truly, i wasn’t physically molested. Afterwards, i was through Chris, and also I was, you know …” She makes a sound to signal the horror she must have actually felt. “I go on v my life. But as ns say, ns wasn’t beaten or assaulted and I think that, coupled v being sexually violated, is truly awful. Then you space really made to feeling powerless.” however she was tied up at knifepoint. Didn’t the make her feeling powerless? “Yeah. No the same. It wasn’t for me anyway.” She didn’t have counselling, and says Stein to be supportive “and we moved on”.

People, me included, have discovered it tough to fathom she reaction. For this reason, she says: “I’m type of wondering if ns should have left it out , yet it’s component of the story.” it feels not correct to press her on it as well much. “I can’t define it,” she says, as she talks about whether that had any lasting impact. “I didn’t want it to. I just said: ‘I’m not hurt, i’m alive, i’m doing what I desire to do, I have a wonderful boyfriend’ – and also that was it. I had to think about what was necessary to me, and also being a victim was really not who I want to be.” Perhaps, i suggest, minimising it has helped defend her native it? She smiles. “Yeah. Absolutely.”

Few women have been objectified as lot as Harry. Her confront – those killer cheekbones and heart-shaped mouth – is immortalised top top Blondie album covers and in Warhol’s renowned portrait. Was she constantly aware of men’s reaction come her? “I think we all have issues of self-esteem and I’m not clear the that,” she says, by means of one answer. “I additionally think that since it’s my occupation – to it is in a performer and also to entice attention and to appeal to sexuality – it’s sort of a given in showbiz.”

Did she feel objectified? “There to be a time in the earlier Blondie years when I was trying difficult to perform, sing and write, and every one of those contributions would be overlooked . And that was, well …” She doesn’t complete the sentence. She to be furious once Blondie’s document label placed out a poster with a picture of she wearing a see-through blouse. In the book, she writes: “Sex sells, it is what they say, and also I’m no stupid, I understand that. Yet on mine terms, not some executive’s.”

Did she feeling dismissed due to the fact that of the method she looked? “Yes. A little bit of fluff.” Wasn’t that infuriating? “Yes, but, you know, in a way it was great because I can sneak up on lock unawares. Ns think time have adjusted in the respect. Women are significant wage-earners, and also we create an excellent things, and also it appears clear come me that we deserve to be supportive of one one more regardless the what sex .”


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Blondie in 1976: (from left) Gary Valentine, Clem Burke, Harry, chris Stein and also Jimmy Destri. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesI doubt the revelations from the #MeToo movement can’t have actually come as any type of surprise – her publication is full of incidences of being abused, stalked and also generally mistreated by men – yet she claims incidences the harassment in her career were rare. “I was working as a team and in a relationship. I wouldn’t have actually felt comfortable being a solo artist and I’m certain that those girls have actually a lot more to say around that 보다 I do. I never went into meetings do the efforts to obtain a record deal through myself, therefore it’s a little bit different.” The many important part of the #MeToo movement, she says, “is the it makes guys stop and think about their welcomed behaviour”.

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She is pleased through how far women have come in the music industry, with much more representation and power 보다 before. “It’s a radical change,” she says. “I constantly admire young women who are so gifted writing and performing. It’s wonderful and also that’s an inspiration for me, even though i have gone end the hill, together it were.” She laughs, mimicking clawing her method up. “I’m climbing up the various other side.”

How go she feel around getting older? “It sucks,” she states with a laugh. However later, once I asking her once she to be the happiest, she says: “I’m nice happy now.”

There to be a time, just after 9/11, which she watched unfold from the window of her apartment, when she longed because that the 70s. “You look back and every little thing looks a tiny bit rosier, yet it to be a good time. It to be a an excellent time to it is in a young person.” and to it is in an artist due to the fact that you could afford come live in pre-gentrified new York? “All of that,” she says. “Everybody in the 70s was living in squats and everything; that was sort of romantic.”

She has actually outlived plenty of of she friends and the new York characters who populate she book, such together David Bowie, Warhol and also Joey Ramone. “There have actually been times as soon as I’ve had to face mortality and, as a human with solid survival instincts, i’m blessed in that way,” she says. Her numerous brushes with death include agree a background at about 2am in brand-new York, native a male she believes to be the serial killer Ted Bundy (people have said Bundy no in new York at that time, yet she is convinced it was him). “I know that I’m yes, really lucky and the much longer I live, the an ext I recognize it, therefore it has led me to carry out things that are not around myself,” she says. She is “really concerned” about environmental issues and also despises Trump: “Being stuck with the administration we’ve got now, and also the absence of decency, is appalling come me.”


Andy Warhol’s portrait that Debbie Harry. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty ImagesHarry is a survivor. There isn’t much she would have done differently, she says. “We all make mistakes, but the thing is to discover from them. And also make different mistakes.”

It is just recently, she says, that she has thought she could have favored to have actually had kids (she is godmother come Stein’s 2 daughters.) “I type of thought: ‘Gee, probably it wouldn’t have actually been so bad to have actually kids.’ however I don’t know if I might have excellent it while i was functioning so much.” since she would certainly have had actually to give up some of her freedoms? “My organic inclination is come really throw myself into things. It wouldn’t be prefer I can hand over the baby. I would really desire to it is in involved.”

She is tho working, writing and also touring. She would certainly quite prefer to execute “a actual serious function in movie or in TV, yet that’s kind of wishful thinking”. There might be another solo album at part point, and another book.

She reaches right into her bag and also brings out two tiny notebooks – she “snippet books”, in which she writes ideas for songs, words and also phrases. “I’m always coming up v ideas,” she says. “I nothing know how much longer I’ll be working, however I enjoy it – it’s my life, and people still desire to watch me.” She says, no for the an initial time: “I’m really lucky, and I think I know it an ext and more.”