Don McLean, the 70-year-old singer of one of the most famous songs of all time, was arrested and accused of domestic violence around 2 a.m. January 18 at his Maine mansion. The “American Pie” icon has been married to renowned photographer Patrisha McLean (nee Shnier) since 1987. The couple, who have two grown children, live together on a massive estate in the coastal town of Camden.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Posted Bail as Soon as He Arrived at Jail
WABI in Maine reports that McLean has posted $10,000 bail and has been released from Knox County Jail. Police were called to his home in Camden, Maine, around 2 a.m. January 18. He’s due back in court to answer for his charges on February 22. The crime is regarded as a misdemeanor. Don McLean was last in trouble with the law in 2013 when he was fined $400 for speeding through a school zone. The Portland Press Herald reports that the singer was to contest the charge but reneged his claim when a judge told him a contested fine would be $515.
2. Her Photography Has Been Displayed in Several Museums
Patrisha McLean is a renowned photographer whose last book, My Island, was released in June 2015. It showed over “100 black and white photographs of children from Maine islands,” reports the Portland Press Herald. According to Don McLean’s website, she is also his official tour photographer. On her website, Patrisha says her photos are on permanent display at the Farnsworth Museum and the Portland Museum of Art. They’ve also been displayed in Pittsburgh, Maine. She describes her style as:
I photograph with a medium format camera and hand-craft each print in my darkroom, using the finest fiber-based paper for heirloom prints that will be enjoyed for generations. Darkroom prints have a classic look and depth that digital photography can not rival, and a proven track record for permanence.
Patrisha adds that her 2015 book dealt with the lives of children growing up on the Maine Islands of North Haven, Islesboro and Vinalhaven. She told the Bangor Daily News that the book took five years to produce. She told the newspaper, “Over the five years, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with [the project]. I just felt compelled to document the kids on the island in that time.”
3. Don Said in an Interview That ‘Having a Great Wife’ Is the Best Thing About Being Don McLean
In April 2015, Don McLean told the Washington Post that he had sold the lyrics to “American Pie” for $1.2 million in order to provide for Patrisha as well as their children, Jackie and Wyatt. In an interview, Don McLean described the best thing about being Don McLean:
Having a great wife, and two terrific children, I don’t think my life would amount to much if I didn’t have my family, and my wife, really is the person that keeps that together and has provided that, I’ve done my part, but you know, a woman’s very vital to the raising of children and staying together in a marriage, which is very hard to do, but hasn’t been hard for me and I hope it hasn’t been hard for her, it’s really important, so we have two kids in college now and they’re doing quite well, so that’s my greatest achievement really, because that’s the one that alludes a lot of people, you know, who may find success in business or in the arts, it’s the tough one, it’s the big one really.
The New York Times reported on Jackie McLean’s wedding in July 2013. She married English teacher Shawn Strack in Maine. The couple met while they were both students at Bard College. At the time, Patrisha told the Times, “We’ve never seen Jackie happier than since she met Shawn. He understands and appreciates her.” As part of the wedding, Patrisha gave each guest a jar of passion fruit syrup with a Romeo and Juliet quote written on it. The calligraphy of the quote was done by Patrisha.
4. She Wrote a Biography of ‘Shane’ Star Brandon deWilde
In addition to her photography, Patrisha is also a writer. She wrote an official biography of Brandon deWilde, the child star from the 1953 movie Shane. It was titled, All Fall Down, The Brandon deWilde Story. Among the contributors to the book were Paul Newman and Julie Harris. The writing took Patrisha more than two decades, mainly because deWilde “never reached the cult status of other dead stars like James Dean.”
5. Her Rose Gardens Are Patrisha McLean’s Passion
The McLean family lives in a Georgian-style house overlooking Megunticook Lake in Camden, according to Maine Home and Design. Patrisha told the website that gardening on their grounds is her passion, with nearly every part of their yard containing some type of rose. She adds:
I’m a city kid. I had grown up in Montreal and lived in San Francisco. I didn’t know anything about flowers, anything at all. The first thing I planted was modern roses, and they didn’t make it through the winter.
That profile piece says Patrisha began her working life as a newspaper reporter. She still writes a column on gardening for the Camden Daily Herald.