LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It could have been a great rock ‘n’ roll love story.
Sixteen-year-old model meets penniless future rock star almost eight years her senior and is instantly smitten, they eventually marry, have two children, and live happily ever after.
Apart from the last bit, that’s the ballad of Mary Forsberg Weiland, who has just written a memoir of her life with Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland -- her soon-to-be ex-husband.
An awful lot of drug use together condemned their union, as she vividly relates in “Fall to Pieces,” whose title comes from a song by her husband’s former band Velvet Revolver. Mental illness (her) and incarceration (both) did not help.
But the book is no angry tirade from a woman scorned. Indeed, she says it has the blessing of Scott Weiland, who is working on his own autobiography.
For all the death and devastation detailed in its pages, the book is surprisingly funny. Even in the depths of junkie despair, she could see the absurdity of taking a limo -- “the douchemobile” -- to one of the couple’s countless rehab stints.
“It’s easier to connect with somebody, I think, if there’s humor there,” she said in a recent interview. “I don’t want anybody to think my life is tragic, or I‘m playing victim.”
In person, Mary Weiland looks like your typical suburban 34-year-old ex-model and mother of two. There is no indication that her face and arms were once covered in scabs or that she injected heroin wherever she could find a spot.
“I never went so far as my neck,” she cautions. “I don’t think I could have done that.”
The book traces her early days in a dysfunctional and impoverished southern California family. She started modeling at 14, quit school at 15, and traveled the world making great money.
Her future husband had an $8-an-hour job driving models in his beat-up car to their assignments around Los Angeles. She knew upon their first meeting in 1991 that they would be married. Alas, he was dating a woman who would become his first wife, but he deftly strung both women along for many years.
Their relationship was doomed from the start. Scott Weiland’s drug use prevented Stone Temple Pilots from building on the promise of its first two hit albums, and he was often in court and on pundits’ death-watch lists.
His career gets little space in the book. She says she was careful not to involve herself in band matters, and is not completely sure which of his songs are about her.
At any rate, she was too busy getting high to analyze the Billboard charts. She was a hard-core heroin user for “a really horrible year” until he was sentenced to a year in jail in 1999 for violating his probation on various drug charges.
They married in May 2000 when she was three months’ pregnant. By that stage, all the drug use, rehab and legal bills, and rock-star extravagance had wrecked their finances.
Marital bliss was in short supply, as his drug woes mounted and she succumbed to depression. They contemplated divorce three months after their daughter was born in 2002.
Mary Weiland reached her nadir one weekend in March 2007, when she was wired on Xanax, Vicodin and the contents of a hotel minibar. As her horrified husband looked on, she trashed a hotel room. She then torched his collection of vintage suits which were valued at upward of $80,000.
The police hauled her off to “the funny farm” (her words) and she was put on suicide watch. While it was humiliating to be all over the news, the incident did lead to her diagnosis as bipolar. A psychiatrist helped her realize that all the pill-popping had exacerbated her condition and that she had a genetic predisposition to addiction.
As for the marriage, they called it quits in November 2007. The divorce has yet to be finalized, because they are trying to handle all the paperwork without lawyers.
“We’re slackers in that department,” she said. “It’ll happen one day.”
For now, she takes handfuls of proper pills every day, goes to AA meetings not as often as she should, and is studying for certification in drug and alcohol counseling.
And “maybe,” she says, the ill-starred lovers will get back together, especially since the Los Angeles dating scene is depressing.
“Scott was ... definitely my true love, and most likely he will be always,” she said.
Editing by Jill Serjeant