On April 7, legendary folk-singer John Prine died after complications with the COVID-19 coronavirus. He was hospitalized on March 26 after showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Prine leaves behind his three children, as well as his wife.
Born in Ireland, Fiona Whelan Prine is John’s third wife and has been a large part of John’s professional and private life for decades. During the last few weeks, Fiona has kept John’s fans up to date with his battle with COVID-19.
Here’s what you need to know about John Prine’s wife, Fiona Whelan Prine:
1. Fiona Was Diagnosed With COVID-19 in Mid-March & Announced Her Recovery on March 30
On March 17, Fiona posted on social media that she had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus. She said that John had been tested for the coronavirus as well, but his results came back indeterminate — they isolated themselves from each other after she tested positive.
In the Instagram post, she said, “There is a chance that he doesn’t have this virus, and we are working really hard and being really diligent about all the protocols. We are quarantined completely, we are isolated from each other and all the members of the family.”
On March 30, Fiona took to Twitter to reveal that she had recovered from COVID-19. She tweeted:
Her tweet reads, “I have recovered from Covid-19. We are humbled by the outpouring of love for me and John and our precious family. He is stabile. Please continue to send your amazing Love and prayers. Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you.”
She also tweeted about John’s battle with COVID-19:
Her tweet reads, “I need to clarify what I mean by ‘John is stable’. That is not the same as improving. There is no cure for Covid-19. He needs our prayers and love – as do the thousands of others who are critically ill. Stay at home. Wash your hands. We love you.”
2. Fiona Was Born in Ireland on August 4, 1947
72-year-old Fiona was born in Ireland on August 4, 1947. As reported by Country Thang Daily, her father was a businessman who passed away when Fiona was 13 years old. He left behind her mother, who was a homemaker, and Fiona’s five siblings.
When she was younger, she worked as a recording-studio business manager in Dublin.
3. Fiona Met John in 1988 at an After-Party & They Got Married When She Moved to Nashville
Fiona met John back in 1988 when he was touring Ireland. They first met during an after-party at the Blooms Hotel in Dublin. According to Country Thang Daily, Prine said about meeting Fiona:
I was at this bar trying to get a drink, and I was 14 people back. I had my guitar with me. I couldn’t get to the front, so I went around to the other side. And there was this Irish actress at the end—she said to me, ‘C’mere, John Prine, there’s someone I want you to meet.’ It was Fiona. Fiona said, ‘I saw you play when I was 17. When will I hear you next?’ And I said, ‘Right now,’ and walked up on stage with her and just started playing. And oh yeah, it was love at first sight.
They kept in touch for years until Fiona moved to the United States in 1993. The two then tied the knot at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Nashville.
4. Fiona Has Two Children With John & One From a Prior Relationship
In 1994, the two had their first child together, Jack. And then a year later, they had their second son together, Tommy. Fiona had a son named Jody from a previous relationship, and John adopted him as his own. The family has remained very close throughout the years — both Jack and Tommy play guitar and sing, and Jody runs John’s record label.
5. Fiona Manages John’s Career As Well As His Record Label, Oh Boy Records, With Jody
John owns a record label called Oh Boy Records which he founded in 1981. All together, Oh Boy Records has released over 40 videos and audio recordings by musicians including John himself, Shawn Camp, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Snider and Dan Reeder.
The albums that Prine released under Oh Boy Records are: Red Vinyl Christmas 45, Aimless Love, German Afternoons, Green Vinyl 45, John Prine Live, Bruised Orange, Pink Cadillac, Storm Windows, The Missing Years and A John Prine Christmas.
After John’s longtime manager Al Bunetta passed away in 2015, Fiona stepped in as John’s full fledged manager. In an interview, John said, “[Al Bunetta] ran my record company and we did everything together, so when he died it was a case of do we continue or sell it or what? So Fiona stepped in and started managing me and Jody came and ran the record company.”
According to Rolling Stone, Fiona, along with their son Jody, run Oh Boy Records.