He's toured the world with one of the world's biggest bands and lived the ultimate rock'n'roll lifestyle, but as Ronnie Wood revealed in an exclusive interview with HELLO! in March 2017 there is nothing he loves more than cuddling up with his wife Sally, 39, and their twin daughters. "Any time I’m with her and the girls, that’s the best for me, nothing tops it," he says. "When the twins come into our bed and we’re all snuggled up together, that, for me, is wonderful – my idea of heaven. It’s special. The girls are so cuddly and gorgeous. I’m a lucky man."
Sally reveals what life was like for her as a first-time mum: "For me, as a first-time mum, I couldn’t wait for them to get to six months and become a bit more robust because when they were tiny they seemed so vulnerable. I would wake in the night and stand there with my hand over their mouths to check they were still breathing. I woke them up so many times doing that. "But Ronnie was so great through all of it. He never once said anything like, ‘You’re being over the top.’ If it worried me, he was supportive and he was so confident it gave me confidence."
Ronnie with Sally and their twin daughters, Gracie and Alice
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Rolling Stones star Ronnie’s bond with the youngest two of his five children is evident the minute he enters the living room of their beautiful medieval house in Hertfordshire, complete with topiary hedging and tennis court, that is now the main family home. The now 71-year-old music legend was up most of the previous night painting in his top-floor art studio and he's an accomplished artist, whose works have sold for hundreds of pounds, Ronnie is a warm and gracious host, offering coffee, explaining the history of his home and eager to share his pride in his baby girls and in Sally, the smart and talented actress and accomplished theatre producer, who has brought peace and stability to his life.
"Sall's a natural mum, she’s amazing, and any time I’m with her and the girls, that’s the best for me, nothing tops it," he tells HELLO! On the day of HELLO!'s visit, she points out, the girls are nine months old exactly. It’s also precisely seven years since Ronnie, with whom she was friends for a long time before they got together, quit drinking. "Ronnie’s like the Queen – he has two birthdays," says Sally. "He has the day he was born and the day he got sober, which is also a day that deserves attention." Ronnie, who’s just dashed past us pulling a pink floral shopping trolley – an unexpected sight - pops his head back around the kitchen door; we subsequently discover the trolley is laden with logs for the huge open fire in the living room. "I’m ten months without a ciggie today, too," he says, explaining that while it was undoubtedly the impending birth of his daughters that prompted him to give up the last of his vices, it had also dawned on him that he’d been puffing away for 50 years. "And I thought, 'How much longer am I going to get away with it?'" Has he noticed a massive difference? "Not as much as Sally has," says Ronnie. "She sees things I don’t particularly see." "To me, there’s a huge difference," nods Sally. "The colour of his skin, the chesty cough, the smell of smoke…"
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Anyone lucky enough to have seen him on stage with the Stones in recent years will testify he’s never been short on energy. "But I can run around the field outside now and, although I never used to notice that I got short of breath before, I can see that it’s so much better now," he says. Hands-on with the feeding and nappy changing from day one, Ronnie – also dad to 40-year-old Jesse from his first marriage to model Krissy Findlay and Leah, 38, and Tyrone, 33, by his second wife Jo, as well as a granddad of six – jokes that the arrival of Gracie and Alice hasn’t exactly been "a whole new world". "Some things don’t change that much," he says. "Ronnie’s always been fantastic with children; we’ve both always had kids around us," adds Sally. Both confirmed night owls, they’re fortunate, says Sally, that the girls "keep our hours". "They go to sleep at around 9pm and don’t wake up until 8.30 or 9 in the morning, with a feed each in between. I know 9pm might seem quite late, but it works for us and I’d rather that than be up at 6am."
It would be hard to envisage a more idyllic place to bring up a family than the pretty village where Ronnie and his trio of females (quartet, if you count Dolly, the doe-eyed beagle) currently reside. "It’s like being in The Archers, living here," smiles Sally. "They have cricket on the green and village fairs and we go to all of it. We love it. That said, we love travelling, too, and the girls are so easy-going and adaptable, who knows where we’ll end up? When we joined Ronnie on tour last year, some people said to me, ‘How did you do that? Three months old! You’re crazy!’ But it was wonderful and I’d do it again like a shot."