Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley were married on March 23, 1985 aboard a yacht on the Hudson River in the presence of around 150 friends and family members. Brinkley was given away by her dad, Don Brinkley on the 147-foot yacht, the Riveranda which was decorated with a thousand white tulips while the Statue of Liberty loomed large in the background. Paul Simon, Isabella Rossellini and Brian Setzer were in attendance. this was the second marriage for both Joel and Brinkley.
Christie walked down the paper runway carrying 50 long-stemmed ivory roses and wearing a Norma Kamali high-necked white satin gown overlaid with ivory lace and gold tulle. As she reached his side, Joel took her face in his hands and gave her a long, passionate premarital kiss. Then they exchanged vows, swearing to “honor and respect” each other’s “goals and ambitions,” all the while looking deeply into each other’s eyes. When Judge Shirley Fingerhood completed the seven-minute ceremony and proclaimed them man and wife, they went into one of the most exuberant hugs ever witnessed, while James Brown’s I Feel Good blared from the speakers. After the ceremony, the boat rounded the tip of Manhattan and headed for the site of the reception, the Water’s Edge restaurant in Queens. At the reception Joel and Brinkley dined on swordfish at a table for two. They danced to a Strauss waltz and fed each other pieces of the five-tiered wedding cake. Joel was 35 and Brinkley was 31 at the time of their wedding.
Joel and Brinkley have one daughter, Alexa Ray, born on December 29, 1985.
Brinkley appeared in a number of Joel’s music videos and was the inspiration for his major hit “Uptown Girl.” She even had her artwork featured on the cover of his River of Dreams album. Unlike other supermodels, she had no aspirations of becoming a movie star. However, she did appear as Chevy Chase’s fantasy girl in the blockbuster National Lampoon’s Vacation in 1983; she reprised her role in the 1997 sequel, Vegas Vacation. In 1992, she joined CNN, where she hosted Living in the ’90s with Christie Brinkley, a short-lived show where she introduced filmed segments, and two years later, she appeared as herself in a top-rated episode of Mad About You.
Joel and Brinkley had a home in Amagansett, Long Island and an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
They announced the end of their marriage in March, 1994 and were divorced august 25, 1994. Reasons for their divorce included differences in where they wanted to live, rumors of Billy’s infidelity, and the amount of time that Billy was on tour and away from home. They have remained on friendly terms.