The Beach Boys co-founder and musical legend Brian Wilson has announced that his second wife, Melinda Ledbetter, has passed away at 77-years-old.
On Tuesday, Wilson, 81, shared an emotional Instagram post revealing that his wife had passed away in their home. Wilson shared his sorrow and posted two pictures following her death.
The pair got married in 1995.
“My heart is broken,” Wilson said. “Melinda, my beloved wife of 28 years, passed away this morning. Our five children and I are just in tears. We are lost. Melinda was more than my wife. She was my savior.”
The Beach Boys legend and solo artist went on to voice his appreciation for Ledbetter’s support during their almost 30-year-long marriage. Ledbetter, a former model turned car salesman turned talent manager, was also Wilson’s manager during his career.
“She gave me the emotional security I needed to have a career. She encouraged me to make the music that was closest to my heart. She was my anchor. She was everything for us. Please say a prayer for her,” Wilson added.
Additionally, Wilson shared a heartfelt message from his kids with Ledbetter in his social media post. Wilson and Ledbetter were parents to five adopted children together, including Dakota Rose, Daria Rose, Delanie Rose, Dylan and Dash.
Brian also has two other daughters from his first marriage, Carnie and Wendy Wilson. Both daughters helped form the 1989 pop vocal group Wilson Phillips, alongside The Mama & the Papas leader John Phillips’s daughter, Chynna Phillips.
“It is with a heavy heart that we let everyone know that our mom, Melinda Kay Ledbetter Wilson passed away peacefully this morning at home,” their children wrote. “She was a force of nature and one of the strongest women you could come by. She was not only a model, our fathers savior, and a mother, she was a woman empowered by her spirit with a mission to better everyone she touched. We will miss her but cherish everything she has taught us. How to take care of the person next to you without expecting anything in return, how to find beauty in the darkest of places, and how to live life as your truest self with honesty and pride.”
His children concluded the statement, saying: “We love you mom. Give Grandma Rose and Pa our love.”
Wilson and Ledbetter first became acquainted in 1986 when she sold The Beach Boys star a Cadillac. They quickly began dating up until 1989, before breaking up for a brief period. Later, in 1992, the pair reconnected in Los Angeles, began dating again, and then later got married three years later.
In 1998, Wilson had an interview with the press where he showed his immense love towards his wife. He illustrated Ledbetter as a “partner who’s also a best friend,” adding that he had “never had a relationship with a girl like we have.”
Ledbetter also reportedly helped Wilson throughout their relationship in managing his schizoaffective disorder, which involves ongoing hallucinations, paranoia, and other distortions of reality.
Ledbetter, a native of Whittier, California, worked as a model for 16 years before entering the auto sales industry.
Their relationship was portrayed in the 2014 biopic film Love & Mercy, which starred actors Paul Dano and John Cusack as the young and middle-aged Wilson, alongside actress Elizabeth Banks who played Ledbetter.