Problems of Being a Monkee’s Girl

Ever wondered what it would be like to be either married to a Monkee or at least going steady with one? I betcha that you HAVE! All the girls would probably regard it as being a permanent state of heavenly bliss. I’m not trying to be a spoilsport but if it really came true there can be… PROBLEMS!

First, let’s put right a few rumours by a quick summing-up of the Monkees’ status, in terms of marriage and romance. Two are married, of course. Micky to Sammy; Mike to Phyllis. Two down and two to go, then…

There’s Davy who we know is at least very keen, if not entirely thataway, on Linda Hale [sic]. And Peter, who doesn’t say much on the subject of his personal life, has been going pretty steady with the daughter of actor James Stewart (Reine is not actor James Stewart’s daughter).

So there you are. Now let’s take things in order. Mike was married some time before the Monkees became a headline-grabbing international group. He had bad times and good… even while struggling to make a living and be the bread-winning husband. Then came more or less instant fame. No hiding of the marriage, not from the ever-honest Mike. He owned up, explained how lucky he was, and became positively deliriously happy with the arrivals of Nesmith juniors, Christian and Jonathan Derby [sic].

But now there are rumours. In fact, it wouldn’t seem right if there were, suddenly, NO rumours about the boys… most of them being hopelessly inaccurate.

It’s been said that the marriage is on the rocks. Well, it isn’t. But this is where the problems come in. One month, Mike and Phyllis were virtual unknowns, with plenty of time to be in each other’s company. They grew together in a sort of common bond of mutual comfort and aid. Mike was determined to be a singer and Phyllis was determined to help him. There were times when he thought of taking up a regular job, an ordinary career, but she knew that he’d set his heart on being an entertainer.

Then, virtually in the next month, Mike was a national hero. Now being married to a Monkee means that your husband is somehow shared with millions of fans. From a sort of darkness, the Nesmiths were in the full glare of the spotlight. It takes a lot of understanding to appreciate that YOUR husband is receiving letters and adoration from people all over the world, some expressing their undying love.

It takes a very special sort of wife. And it would be pure stupidity to suggest that Mike and Phyllis are different to all other married couples… and NEVER, EVER argue. Sure they do. “We have spats”, says Mike. “But we have the kind of understanding where it’s okay to bring things out in the open and not have one party sit around sulking for a couple of weeks.”

The question of the constant phone-calls from people who had bribed out the Nesmith telephone number caused one healthy little argument… until Phyllis appreciated that life simply HAD to change now she was married to a huge star. But there were other things, too… things stemming directly from the changeover from rags to riches, as it were.

So, sure, they have arguments. But they’re still very close. To see how close have a look at the pictures of the boys’ tour in Australia. Phyllis was right there at Mike’s side on this history-making series of engagements. And he gave her a new car just before the lads left for “down under”.

Let’s switch a while to Micky and Sammy. This was a love-match right from the start—and we pass on our sincerest congratulations on the news of the anticipated baby Dolenz.

As you all know their marriage was very different to that of the Nesmiths. For a start, Sammy was an established telly-personality and model girl here in Britain. Her face was familiar to millions. Come to to that, Micky had been a familiar face since his pre-teen days as “Corky” in “Circus Boy”. Which means that they were both USED to the spotlight and for Micky the transformation to Monkee status was not quite so hard.

Even so, stories circulated about the romance of Micky and Sammy. Believe them all and you would have to believe that they’d gone through the marriage ceremony on at least fifty previous occasions. Everybody wanted to know what was happening… and it is to their lasting credit that the whole lead-in to them exchanging vows was done with masterly dignity. There was no cashing-in on cheap publicity… and that’s no mean feat when you’re as important a star as the energetic Mr. Dolenz.

So, for them, the adapting to married life, in that goldfish bowl of publicity, was not such a problem. But even now Sammy knows that Micky has to give a great deal of himself to people outside their own circle of friends. It takes a great deal of tolerance. You know your husband is “fancied” by umpteen admirers… but fortunately Sammy has learned completely to trust Micky and vice versa.

See what I mean? About it not necessarily being all roses and sunshine if you’re married to a Monkee? Incidentally, Peter was an early-wed member of the group, of course, but both he and his wife were young, unsure of themselves and also the marriage did not last very long.

But Peter, though reluctant to talk much about his private life, has always insisted that no untrue stories were put out about it. For a long time, though, it was simply assumed that he was not married… and had never been married.

The point was not that Peter was hiding from the truth. It was simply that nobody bothered to ask him about being married. He said: “Soon as I was directly asked, I admitted that I’d been married. I didn’t want to hide anything, but seeing as how I was never asked I didn’t feel obliged to say anything about it. So our marriage turned out to be a mistake. There’s no point in worrying about it… and by being honest, by explaining how mistakes can happen in the most lovelorn relationships, maybe you’re helping other guys and girls to keep out of trouble.”

So that is the scene. Davy, specially, is the sort of chap who likes to “protect” his dates from prying photographers and reporters. As he told me on his last trip to London: “If you’re seen out with a girl once, some guy or other is gonna say you’re engaged. If you go out twice, oh brother!—that means you gotta be married!”

Either as wife or as girlfriend, then, there are problems surrounding the groovy side of being involved with a Monkee. And not the least is learning NOT to listen to rumourmongers, because some of the stories put round are so wild, so stupid, that they could cause a hopeless rift, even between a couple who trust each other completely.

Of course it’d be fabulous to be THE girl in a Monkee’s life. What an exciting life it would be. But sometimes you’d feel very much like a goldfish in a bowl, or a monkey in the zoo… with the whole world looking in on your every move.

The Monkees are very loyal to their women… be they wife or “just-good-friends”. But remember this. They’re also very loyal to their fans.

And it’s up to us to appreciate some of THEIR difficulties as they go barnstorming along Monkees’ pathway to the stars.


Magazine: Monkees Monthly
Editor: Jackie Richmond
Issue: 22
Publisher: Monkees Monthly
Pages: 25, 27