When Billy Joel married chef Katie Lee in 2004, she would become his third wife. Their romance was something of a whirlwind, but how did they meet?
Katie Lee was visiting New York City in November 2003 for a weekend trip with her friend, when she met Billy Joel. The pair met in the rooftop bar of The Peninsula hotel and married just under a year later in October 2004, in Long Island.
Read on to learn more about the origins of their romance, their divorce, and Katie’s career.
Though a widely successful musician, Billy Joel hasn’t always had the easiest time finding love. Before meeting Katie Lee, Joel had experienced two painful divorces but remained optimistic about his romantic future.
Lee, who was studying journalism and food science in Ohio at Miami University, was on a weekend trip to NYC with a friend, in November 2003. It was on that weekend that Joel and Lee would have their chance encounter.
More specifically, Joel and Lee met in the lobby of the rooftop bar at The Peninsula hotel in Manhattan. Katie bumped into Joel on her way back from the bathroom and it was her friend who then asked Joel if he’d like to have a drink with them.
Drinks led to dinner and Lee told Oprah Magazine, “we had this great dinner, and we had pasta and white truffles, and he was really trying to impress me”, adding “I’d say it was love at first bite because we had such a good meal and we both love food, so that was what we bonded over.”
The evening didn’t end there and the group headed on to Broadway to watch Joel’s jukebox musical ‘Movin’ Out’.
Though it would have been entirely understandable, Lee wasn’t the least bit starstruck on meeting the music legend, as she didn’t really know who he was.
According to New York Magazine, Lee said, “my mom played a lot of Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, and the Rolling Stones, but I didn’t know much of Billy’s music”, adding that she went out and bought his album after their meeting to try to understand his success.
Though there was an age gap of 32 years between Lee and Joel, the couple quickly fell head over heels for each other. Billy dismissed comments about their ages, saying “when it works and it clicks, you don’t fight it. You go with it”.
Divorce and Continued Friendship
Though the couple remained together for almost five years, their relationship began to unravel and Lee and Joel divorced amicably in 2009.
A statement released by the couple stated “this decision is a result of much thoughtful consideration. Billy and Katie remain caring friends with admiration and respect for each other”.
At the time of their divorce there was rampant speculation suggesting that their age was the determining factor in their growing apart, but the pair have remained supportive of each other, despite no longer being romantically involved.
On hearing that Joel was expecting a child with his fourth wife, Alexis Roderick, Lee told Extra, “he will always be in my life, and I think he’s just the greatest”, adding “he deserves all the happiness in the world”.
Katie Lee’s Career
Though still a college student when she met Joel back in 2003, Katie Lee is now a nationally recognized TV host and cookbook author who co-hosts ‘The Kitchen’ on Food Network.
Katie Lee has acknowledged the helping hand her marriage and association with Joel gave her career but insists that it’s her own determination and personality that have ensured her staying power.
Watch Katie Lee on Food Network in the YouTube video below.