She brought "the light" back into the musician's life and inspires him to create more music.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 13, 2020. It has since been updated.
Music has the ability to bring two people closer together, to make them feel each other's embrace without physically being there. And when it came to Neil Diamond belting out love songs like Feels Like Home, You Are The Best Part Of Me, and more, it certainly felt like the world would melt away, leaving just you and your loved one to melt in each other's arms.
But as you sway to these songs, to the singer-songwriter, it's The Art of Love that holds a far deeper meaning. And it has everything to do with his third wife and the love of his life, Katie McNeil.
The couple first met, not as potential love interests, but rather as professionals. According to Telegraph UK, Diamond met McNeil, a young Californian woman almost three decades his junior, when he was filming a concert documentary. She was a video producer at that time with his 2009 concert documentary, Hot August Night/NYC. But some time later, she left production and was soon his manager. However, the sparks started flying not long after and they were dating while she continued her job as his manager.
Taking to Twitter, he introduced her as his girlfriend and claimed he was “lovestruck.” But even so, while the 78-year-old musician was head over heels for her, McNeil wasn't completely convinced. The 49-year-old stated, “Part of me said, ‘Don’t get involved; he’s a client.’ There are a lot of complications for a lot of reasons. But our chemistry grew into something that couldn’t be denied,” reported Yahoo.
On April 21, 2012, the two tied the knot, ready to embark on their new journey together. But McNeil was more than just a wife to the musician. She was his muse and inspiration, especially for The Art of Love, which was five years in the making. The song, a standout for critics on his 2014 album Melody Road, according to News AU was a difficult one to write. But he credits his wife for helping him find the motivation to finish the song. “I had a woman I was in love with in the picture,” he said. “And just being with her and having her around me inspired me to stay with it.”
Additionally, "A few of these songs in particular were either inspired by her or she caused them to be completed. They were waiting for her and I don’t know whether she liked that too much. She said, 'Some of these songs were written for somebody else' and I said, 'Maybe, but I can’t remember who or why.' But they were waiting for her so that I could complete them. She settled for that and definitely three or four were written for her," stated Diamond.
However, that's not the only track that the Golden Globe winner states that McNeil inspired. In fact, their love is written all over his album Melody Road, states Belfast Telegraph. When asked if she was behind the romantic lyrics of the songs, especially Something Blue, he said, "It is her. You can't avoid it. Yeah. She has informed the album but me too. There is no question about it. I am a happy man," he laughs, "and it is about time. I have waited 70 years to become a happy man. I am very fortunate that I have reached this point in my life and I am around to enjoy it."
"I consider myself so fortunate to be able to find a little niche for myself in this world. But my life with Katie and our marriage has brought me a kind of satisfaction that I don't think I've ever experienced in my life," he said, of beating the darkness he was going through. “In many ways, she’s the opposite of me,” admitted the father-of-four (from his previous marriages). “She’s bubbly, funny, smart. She’s made me happy again.” And as he says himself, she's brought “the light” back into his life.
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Photo by Jason Merritt / Staff, (R) Neil Diamond Facebook