Brian Wilson "broken" after announcing the death of his wife Melinda Ledbetter

31 January 2024, 11:01

Brian Wilson is "broken" after it was announced his wife Melinda Ledbetter has died.
Brian Wilson is "broken" after it was announced his wife Melinda Ledbetter has died. Picture: Getty/Brian Wilson Instagram

By Thomas Edward

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Brian Wilson's wife of 28 years, Melinda Ledbetter, has died.

On Tuesday morning (January 30), it was announced that the legendary musician's lifelong love had died aged 77.

The former member of the Beach Boys first met Ledbetter in 1986 after she worked at a Cadillac dealership where he was buying a car.

They dated for two years, but Brian Wilson - under orders from his controversial psychiatrist Eugene Landy - broke up with her.

The pair would reconnect some years later, after she almost ran over Brian in a car, and would later become both his manage and his wife.

In 1995, Brian and Melinda married, and she helped his revive his career as well as stabilise his life after years of torment from Landy.

"My heart is broken," Wilson wrote in the caption next to a picture of a youthful Ledbetter which was posted to his Instagram followers with another photo of them together.

"Melinda, my beloved wife of 28 years, passed away this morning. Our five children and I are just in tears. We are lost."

Brian Wilson with his beloved wife Melinda Ledbetter in 2016. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Brian Wilson with his beloved wife Melinda Ledbetter in 2016. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage). Picture: Getty

Brian continued to pay tribute to his late wife, championing her as his saviour and anchor after pulling him out of a torrid period of his life.

"Melinda was more than my wife," he adds. "She was my saviour. She gave me the emotional security I needed to have a career."

"She encouraged me to make the music that was closest to my heart. She was my anchor. She was everything for us. Please say a prayer for her."

In the post, there was also a joint statement followed by Wilson's children - Dakota Rose, Daria Rose, Delanie Rose, Dylan and Dash - who the married couple adopted.

"She was a force of nature and one of the strongest women you could come by," their children wrote.

"She was not only a model, our father's saviour, and a mother, she was a woman empowered by her spirit with a mission to better everyone she touched."

"We will miss her but cherish everything she has taught us. How to take care of the person next to you without expecting anything in return, how to find beauty in the darkest of places, and how to live life as your truest self with honesty and pride."

If it weren't for meeting Melinda, Brian would've very likely been on a one-way path to destruction due to the control his psychiatrist Eugene Landy had over him.

Not only did he worsen Wilson's struggles with his own mental health, but he also became involved in his business affairs related to his career.

It was when he reconnected with Ledbetter - after she coincidentally ran him over a few years after they'd initially broken up - that was the catalyst for breaking off with Landy and finalising his album, Smile.

The couple's story was told in 2014 Bill Pohlad directed the biopic, Love & Mercy, where Wilson was depicted by Paul Dano and Ledbetter was played by Elizabeth Banks.

After Banks first met Ledbetter ahead of filming, she revealed how Melinda told her: "'Music is his first love. Nothing can replace it. It's his being, it's his essence, it's his everything, So I'm settling for second, but it's a pretty good– it's a pretty good second'."