Rock Muse Buell Remembers Many Loves
Feb. 6 -- Imagine having Mick Jagger serenade you from a street corner, or jetting off to Europe with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.
That's the life Bebe Buell lived during the '70s, as girlfriend and "muse" — don't call her a groupie — to some of the biggest stars in rock 'n' roll.
Her other beaux included Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Todd Rundgren and Elvis Costello. But none of them stuck around, something Buell admits was painful.
"I realized that there is no fairy tale," she told 20/20 Downtown's Chris Cuomo in an interview airing tonight. "Never being able to get it right — the love, the failures."
Now 48, Buell has a fiancé, a successful book out, and a new house — a gift from one star who has stayed in her life: her daughter, actress Liv Tyler.
Buell came to New York in 1972 with a contract from a prestigious uptown modeling agency. She found work as a model — she was Playboy's Miss November in 1974 — but she found her true home downtown, mixing with rockers at cutting-edge music clubs like CBGB's.
She soon moved in with Todd Rundgren, beginning a parade of rock-world lovers. Then one day, Mick Jagger showed up outside Rundgren's townhouse at 4 a.m. Like something out of Romeo and Juliet, he called her name from the street, "Bebe, Bebe, … I've got yogurt."
"I guess I was pretty hot," she remembers now.
Buell would later date Jagger and many others. Her love life was so complicated that 20/20 Downtown made a chart to help her sort it out. Looking at the chart, Buell said it made her feel fortunate: "What a lucky girl I am to know so many wonderful, exciting, brilliant people. They represent different changes and different phases of my growth."
Each rock star brought new experiences to her life, Buell said. "Todd introduced me to the world I always dreamed of being a part of … Mick introduced me to culture, food, designers, good shoes … Rod Stewart … helped me to realize what I didn't want in a boyfriend. Steven gave me my beautiful daughter."
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