Katie Lee is a cookbook author, food critic, and chef, and stars in her own series Beach Bites with Katie Lee on the Cooking Channel. She’s also Billy Joel’s third wife.
Lee was a college student at Miami University in Ohio studying journalism and food-science when she met the famous singer, and they married just one year later. Read on to learn more about their whirlwind romance and marriage.
1. Lee Was Joel’s Third Wife
Joel is currently in his fourth marriage, and Lee was his third wife.
Before her, he was married to manager Elizabeth Weber from 1973 to 1982, and Christie Brinkley from 1985 to 1994. The “Uptown Girl” singer is currently married to Alexis Roderick, who he wed in 2015. In April of 2015, Lee spoke to to Extra about the fact that her ex was expecting a baby with his new girlfriend, and expressed genuine optimism about the news. “I’m really happy for them. He’s a great guy, he deserves all the happiness in the world, and he’s a terrific father so I’m really really happy.”
She added on that she and Joel are still close, and she thinks he’s “just the greatest.”
2. They Decided to Split After Nearly Five Years of Marriage
Katie and Billy split after nearly five years of marriage. In a statement announcing their separation, the couple said, “After nearly five years of marriage, Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel have decided to separate. This decision is a result of much thoughtful consideration. Billy and Katie remain caring friends with admiration and respect for each other.”
After Joel, E! News reported that Katie Lee was rumored to be dating Will Arnett, who had split from Amy Poehler in September of the previous year. Then, earlier this year, she was seen enjoying the Miami sun with a mystery man.
3. Lee and Joel Met at a Hotel Bar
Lee and Joel met at the Peninsula Hotel. Katie was with a friend when she bumped into Joel, and according to New York Magazine, she didn’t know much about him at the time. “My mom played a lot of Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, and the Rolling Stones, but I didn’t know much of Billy’s music… After we met, I went out and bought his Greatest Hits because I thought I should know what he did.”
It was only a year later that the couple married. Katie acknowledges that being married to Joel helped her pursue the career she wanted, but also says that it comes down to hard work and determination when it comes to pursuing your goals. “I’m the first person to say having that last name helped me get a foot in the door,” she tells NY Magazine. “But I feel like I can stand on my own two feet working toward my dreams.”
4. Lee Is Just Four Years Older Than Joe’s Daughter Alexa
Lee, 35, is only four years older than Alexa Ray Joel, Billy’s daughter from his marriage to Christie Brinkley.
A friend reportedly told The New York Daily News that age may have factored into their divorce. “It was really the age difference that caught up with them,” the source reportedly told the outlet. “They grew apart. She is very career-oriented. She loves going out. She loves the city. When Billy isn’t touring, he’d rather be on Long Island with his motorcycles and boats.”
Joel has two children– Alexa, 31, and daughter Della Rose Josel, who was born August 12, 2015.
5. She Reportedly Received Joel’s Luxury New York Townhouse in the Divorce Settlement
According to a 2011 post in The Daily Mail, Lee received a luxurious New York City townhouse in the couple’s divorce settlement, which Joel reportedly paid $5.9 million for in 2006. Lee then sold it for $11.65 million.
The outlet reports that the home is 4,000 sq-ft and sits on Perry Street in Manhattan. It comes equipped with four bedrooms, four baths, and four fireplaces.
After the divorce, the couple also put their side by side homes in Sagaponack, New York, on the market. The couple had bought them for a combined $28 million in 2007, according to Variety. Joel asked $12.5 million for the oceanfront cottage that featured 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and $22.5 million for the 5,472 sq ft home nearby.