Menopause has been in the news lately, thanks to Michelle Obama, Judy Greer, Courteney Cox, Naomi Watts and other famous women opening up about their experiences. Rod Stewart, however, is the rare man to speak up.
In aa new interview with the Sunday Times, the legendary crooner explained what it was like helping his wife of 15 years, Penny Lancaster, through hormonal changes. Though he’s 77 years old, Stewart admitted that he hadn’t had a partner experience menopause because his first two marriages, to Alana Stewart and Rachel Hunter, ended when the women were still in their 30s.
“I hadn’t seen [menopause] before because my marriages didn’t last that long, so Penny was the first, but she would get into blinding fits of rage,” Stewart, who shares two sons with 51-year-old Lancaster, shared. “One night she threw utensils, so me and the boys gave her a hug and since then she’s worked to let people know what it is.”
To properly understand what Lancaster was going through, Stewart educated himself about menopause. In April, the British signer backed Lancaster’s Menopause Mandate campaign in order to raise awareness about the issue. The campaign seeks to expand medical education about menopause and increase the availability of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which isn’t free in England.
According to Stewart, “men have to understand and not just go down the pub.”
Last year, the “Young Turks” signer suggested that husbands and partners should undergo educational classes on menopause to help them understand what women deal with, saying the lessons would be a “very good way to go.” His desire to educate other men comes from his own struggle to understand Lancaster’s journey.
“I Googled and Googled and Googled. I Googled menopause so much when she was going through it,” Stewart shared on the British talk show Loose Women in 2021, the Independent reported. “She was in a fragile situation. I just had to listen and learn and get ready for saucepans being thrown through the kitchen.”
He called the initial experience “frightening, because this really wasn’t the person I married.” But by openly discussing Lancaster’s feelings, the couple dealt with it. “We talked about it, which I think is the most important thing a couple can do, and she explained to me — through the tears, as Penny likes a cry — and talked it through, and that’s what couples do,” said Stewart.
Ultimately, Stewart said he believes “Men have got to get on with it, understand and come out the other end.”
Lancaster said she initially mistook the common symptoms of menopause, which include fluctuations in mood, hot flashes, reduced libido as panic attacks, as COVID-19 since the onset took place during the lockdown period. She was put on anti-depressants but eventually discovered hormone replacement therapy.
“Now that I’m on HRT it’s like a fresh start. Not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter,” Lancaster said.