Shirley Watts, Wife of the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts, Dies

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Charlie Watts and Shirley Watts, 2020, in what’s believed to be their final photo together, via Forever Hounds Trust

Shirley Watts, the wife of the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts, died Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, at age 82 after a a brief illness, her family announced today (Dec. 19). The couple were married for 57 years before the beloved drummer died in 2021. In a statement shared with the PA news agency, the family wrote, “It is with great sadness that Seraphina, Charlotte and Barry announce the death of their much-loved mother, grandmother and mother-in law Shirley Watts.

“Shirley died peacefully on Friday, December 16 in Devon [U.K.] after a short illness surrounded by her family. She will be also sadly missed by her sisters Jackie and Jill, and her brother Stephen. Reunited now forever with her beloved Charlie.” In the days following the announcement, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards paid tribute to “our friend, sweet Shirley Watts.” (See below.)

In 1964, Charlie Watts married his girlfriend, Shirley Ann Shepherd, and they remained together until Watts’ death on Aug. 24, 2021. Watts prided himself on his faithfulness, reportedly eschewing the groupies that constantly approached the band members. He generally disdained the rock lifestyle, even while remaining a core member of rock’s biggest band, preferring a quiet home life and recording in studios to the large-scale tours the Stones undertook.

In a quote from Watts’ 2022 authorized biography, Charlie’s Good Tonight, Shirley Watts said, “Charlie came home at the weekend, full of conceit about being a member of the Rolling Stones. So I made him clean the oven.”

Shirley Watts was born in September 1938. She met her future husband in 1961 while studying at the Royal College of Art. She became an accomplished sculptor, horse breeder, and patron of animal rescue organizations.

The above photo was posted by Forever Hounds Trust, on the day of Charlie Watts’ death. At the time, the organization wrote, “We feel like we’ve lost a member of the Forever Hounds Trust family as Charlie’s wife Shirley is one of our Patrons and a long-time supporter having adopted many dogs from us over the years. This photo was taken just last year when our greyhound Suzie was lucky enough to be adopted by this lovely family. We will never forget the joy that day bought everyone.” The U.K. organization’s mission is to rescue and care for unwanted, abused or abandoned greyhounds, lurchers and other sighthounds.

Ronnie Wood and Keith Richard paid tribute to “our friend, sweet Shirley Watts.”

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Ray
    #1 Ray 19 December, 2022, 16:11

    My condolences to Shirley’s family and friends. She and Charlie’s marriage was a beautiful love story.

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  2. JCB
    #2 JCB 20 December, 2022, 15:13

    Their daughter graces the cover of Charlie’s amazing album “Warm + Tender”. Check it out, it’s terrific. She is flat our gorgeous. What a wonderful life they had together. RIP.

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  3. Jarmo Keranen
    #3 Jarmo Keranen 21 December, 2022, 15:13

    Charlie looks so fragile in the picture. How long he could have lasted if he has been on the drums on 2021 tour?

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