Billy Idol, whose revolutionary take on punk-rock made him one of the most recognizable faces of the 1980s, has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Idol attended the ceremony with his girlfriend, children, and grandchildren.
Born William Broad, Idol crossed over to the US from the London music scene as the lead singer for the band Generation X. His career picked up traction in the early 1980s, with chart-topping songs like “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell”. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Idol has one certified Gold record, two certified Platinums, and one Double Platinum.
While his music has garnered intense success, Idol has faced significant upheaval in his personal life. Idol is a recovering addict—the full list of substances he has had trouble with is laundry—but he credits his survival and journey to sobriety to his children.
Idol has two children, Willem Wolf and Bonnie Blue, by ex-girlfriends, Perri Lister and Linda Mathis. The younger, Bonnie, was born in 1989; the height of Idol’s career and addictions.
The following year, an intoxicated Idol would run a stop sign on his motorcycle and be hit by a vehicle. Doctors were unsure if they would be able to recover one of his damaged legs. Idol would have seven surgeries over a seven-month hospital stay, including one to install a metal rod which would render his limb usable.
Of this time in his life, Idol would say, “I was lucky. I only have minimal kind of problems. I’m not too bad. But when you hit the concrete, it leaves its mark — psychological scars and physical scars. I think the accident gave me both.”
As a consequence of his injuries, Idol was forced to sacrifice a blooming film career. He dropped out of his role as the main villain in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and his role in Oliver Stone’s The Doors biopic had to be greatly reduced to hide his injuries.
The most noteworthy affect the crash had for Idol was on his psyche, saying, “It was a bit of a watershed time for me. I had to change my life, had to think about things. I mean, I was kind of destroying myself, really. And I had young children as well at that time. I was thinking, ‘What am I saying to them by continuing to be a drug addict and nearly having an accident that seriously hurt me and possibly could have killed me?’ … I needed to get ahold of myself.”
After the accident, Idol used the love of his children to stave off any urges to relapse. To this day, he is not entirely sober, admitting that he still enjoys marijuana, but the vast percentage of his time is spent sober, enjoying the company of his two grandchildren by Bonnie Blue.