Billy Joel and his wife Alexis Roderick made headlines over the weekend as they welcomed their second daughter, Remy Anne, on Sunday (Joel also has a daughter with ex-wife Christie Brinkley). Rock stars having babies isn’t necessarily newsworthy, but Joel’s age raises a few eyebrows: He’s 68 years old.
While Joel is by no means the first aging rocker to become a dad — Mick Jagger is 73 and his eighth child was born earlier this year — it’s unusual enough to bring out the judgmental comments, especially since his wife Alexis is only 35. Is it irresponsible to have kids when you might not live to see them graduate high school?
My answer? None of our business. The question of whether a man his age should be fathering children isn’t something anyone except Joel and his wife should be discussing.
The closest I’ll ever get to being a rock star is singing into my hairbrush in the bathroom, but I admit I’m a little biased on the subject of being an “older” parent: I’ll be 62 when my youngest son graduates from high school. The attitude that parenthood is only for people in their 20s and 30s is outdated and downright archaic when people routinely live into their 80s, 90s and beyond.
Most of the people I know who are in their 20s and 30s can barely afford to take care of themselves, much less a baby. But no one bats an eye when a young couple in debt up to their eyeballs decides to start a family.
No one bats an eye when a young couple in debt up to their eyeballs decides to start a family.
I first saw Billy Joel perform in 1987 and I’ve seen him several times since in the last three decades. Though he doesn’t climb up on his piano or run around the stage as much as he used to, he clearly still has the energy to keep up a rigorous performance schedule. So who’s to say he won’t live to see his children through another 30 years? He has access to the best health care (and nannies) that money can buy. If I’ve learned anything from being an older mom, it’s that older parents tend to take better care of ourselves because we do have young children. Plus, chasing after little kids is good cardio!
On the other side of the mortality coin, my husband lost his father when he was a child to a truck accident, so it’s important to acknowledge that no one knows how much time they’ll have with their children. Starting a family later in life means being prepared for the unthinkable, like assigning a guardian, writing a will, and saving for both college and catastrophe. I suspect Joel has all of that covered and his children will be well cared for regardless of his age.
No one can, or should, say when the “right” time is for someone else to have children. The birth of Joel and Alexis Roderick’s baby girl is something to celebrate — regardless of their ages.