Rod Stewart's wife Penny Lancaster has played down reports suggesting they secretly separated during a difficult period in their marriage, insisting the break-up was 13 years ago during their first month of dating.
The Maggie May hitmaker covered Tom Waits' song Picture In A Frame for his latest album, and revealed it was inspired by a time when Lancaster walked out on him.
He said of the track, "Penny and I broke up for two weeks and the song is about that time. I asked her for a photo of herself in a frame so that I could see her when I went to bed and when I woke up."
The revelation sparked gossip about the state of the couple's marriage, but Lancaster has now revealed the two-week split occurred during the early stages of their romance - years before they wed in 2007.
She tells Britain's Daily Mirror, "It was 13 years ago - in the first month of our relationship! After Rod mentioned it people were going, 'What? Rod and Penny split up?' and thought it happened last week. We'd met in 1999 and we'd started having a few dates but we weren't really together. Then I just stopped seeing him. I said, 'Look, this isn't for me, great to have met you, blah, blah, blah' and he said, 'Well, can I keep a photo of you in a frame?'
"I thought, 'Erm... that's weird!' But it must have stuck in his head all this time for him to have made the connection with that track. I actually think it might have been his wake-up moment - kind of, 'What am I doing letting her go?' Bless him!"