Stevie - The Telegraph (09.08.2007)

Between the cocaine and the banquets, the sports cars and the Hollywood mansions, Mick Fleetwood went bankrupt - twice. 'Because Mick didn't write songs, so he didn't make the publishing money that Christine and Stevie and Lindsey did,' Nicks says. 'But Mick spent just as much money. Millions. So if Mick Fleetwood could go back right now and change that, he would.'

Nicks and Buckingham were more careful, retaining an independent business management firm to handle their affairs when they joined Fleetwood Mac. 'So even though we spent a lot of money, a lot of it was invested.'

What was it invested in?

'I have no idea.'

When she and Buckingham were living together and struggling, before Fleetwood Mac, Nicks did everything: she kept house, worked as a waitress and a cleaner. 'I made the money that supported Lindsey and me, and I paid for the apartment and the car and everything. And I loved that.'

A few years ago she went to see a psychologist - she was having a 'horrible' menopause, she says, and wanted to talk to an older woman about it - 'and she said to me that in a way the saddest day of your life was the day you joined Fleetwood Mac, because that was when you ceased to be caretaker and became somebody that everybody else took care of. And she was absolutely spot on. Because I'm very much… if my family's coming here for Christmas, I'm the one who's making the house ready and fixing the beds. I don't have people around to do that kind of stuff for me.

'The people that I have gone out with will tell you that I'm a great girlfriend. I want to make sure that you have the llama hot-water bottle, and the perfect cashmere blanket and the exact perfect pillow. I know about all that stuff.'

There are the great loves of your life, she says, then there are the loves of your life, and then there are the companions of your life - 'there's all the different kind of love affairs that you have. But all the great loves of my life wouldn't have been any better at settling down than me.'

And who has been the greatest love of her life?

'My great, great love was Joe Walsh.'

Joe Walsh? Of the Eagles? I struggle to keep the note of surprise out of my voice.

'It's crazy, isn't it?'

I am no expert on Nicks's romantic adventures, but I've done my research. Her affairs with Buckingham, Fleetwood, Don Henley, the record executive Jimmy Iovine - all are well chronicled. But nowhere have I found a single reference to Joe Walsh.

'1983 to 1986,' Nicks says crisply. 'I don't know - why do you love somebody? Why do you love them so much that when they walk in the room your heart jumps out of your chest? I don't know. But I fell in love with Joe at first sight from across the room, in the bar at the Mansions Hotel in Dallas. I looked at him and I walked across the room and I sat on the bar stool next to him, and two seconds later I crawled into his lap, and that was it.

'We were probably the perfect, complete, crazy pair. He was the one that I would have married, and that I would probably have changed my life around for…' She pauses. 'A little bit. Not a lot. But he wouldn't have changed his life either.'

The reason they broke up, she says, is that they were both 'really seriously drug addicts. We were a couple on the way to hell.'

The relationship finally ended when Walsh got on a plane and went to Australia 'to get away from me, basically. He thought - or so I'm told by my friends that Joe told - that one of us was going to die, and the other person would not be able to save them. And I did think I was going to die, absolutely. It took me a long, long time to get over it - if I ever got over it. Because there was no other man in the world for me. And it's the same today, even though Joe is married and has two sons. He met somebody in rehab and got married. And I think he's happy.'
Oddly enough, Nicks once said very much the same thing about Lindsey Buckingham, telling one journalist that Buckingham was 'my first love and my love for all time. But we can't ever be together. He has a lovely wife, Kristen, who I really like… I look at him now and just go, "Oh, Stevie, you made a mistake." '

Nicks shoots me a look when I mention this. 'Well, he was my great musical love, and that's very different. Lindsey and I both loved each other not just because we loved Lindsey and Stevie, but because we loved what Lindsey and Stevie did. And that is definitely what kept Lindsey and me together for as long as we did stay together. It's not that he's not a great love - he is a great love. And I write songs about him to this day. I don't know why. But whenever we're together we fight - to this day.'