American Pie singer Don McLean's ex-wife opens up about his 'abuse'

‘He punched me, kicked me, pulled my hair… I was terrified’: American Pie singer Don McLean’s ex-wife reveals violent ‘physical, emotional, and sexual abuse’ she says he subjected her to throughout their 29-year marriage

  • Don, 75, and Patrisha McLean, 61, split in 2016 following Don’s arrest for domestic violence; he later pleaded guilty but publicly denied wrongdoing
  • They divorced after 29 years together, with Patrisha citing ‘adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences’ in legal papers
  • In a new interview, Patrisha said their relationship started as a ‘whirlwind’ and moved ‘really fast,’ but Don soon showed his ‘temper’
  • She ‘felt trapped,’ describing how he’d ‘put both hands on my head and squeeze it like it was in a vice. It was his hallmark’
  • Patrisha says she was ‘terrified’ throughout her marriage, which produced two kids, Jackie and Wyatt
  • After Don pleaded guilty, he paid fines and Patrisha’s legal fees and had to stay away from her for two years, which Patrisha said ‘set her free’  
  • She has since launched a nonprofit for victims of domestic abuse called Finding Our Voices 

American Pie singer Don McLean’s ex-wife is sharing more details about the alleged abuse she suffered at his hands during their 29 years of marriage. 

Don, 75, and Patrisha McLean, 61, split in 2016 following Don’s arrest on domestic violence charges, and within months reached a $10 million divorce settlement, with Patrisha citing ‘adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences’ in legal papers.

While Grammy Hall of Fame member Don has lately been flaunting his relationship with his 27-year-old girlfriend, Patrisha has opened up to Scary Mommy to share some of the harrowing details of their decades-long abusive marriage, revealing how he would punch her, kick her and squeeze her head in a vice-like grip during his violent episodes.

Candid: American Pie singer Don McLean’s ex-wife Patrisha McLean, 61, is sharing more details about the alleged abuse she suffered at his hands during their 29 years of marriage

Split: Don, 75, and Patrisha split in 2016 following Don’s arrest on domestic violence charges, with Patrisha citing ‘adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences’

This guy: In a new interview, Patrisha said she suffered physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse at his hands

Patrisha, a photographer and mother-of-two, describes the start of her relationship with Don as magical before it eventually turned toward physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. 

She met him when she was a 27-year-old newspaper reporter interviewing him for a story, and the pair hit it off, with Don inviting her to his concert that night.

Their relationship was a ‘whirlwind,’ she said, moving ‘really fast’ from the beginning. Don told her he loved her that very first night, and sent her plane tickets to meet him the following weekend.

Patrisha saw his attentions as romantic and felt swept off her feet. Eventually, smitten, she quit her job, sold her car, and moved across the country to be with him

But the night she moved in, she experienced his ‘temper’ for the first time.

‘I felt trapped. I didn’t have a job, apartment, or car. When I was dependent on him, I saw his anger. His temper. But before then, life was a fairytale. Things were good,’ she said. 

Thought the abusive manifested in non-physical ways as well, she says he could also be incredibly violent. 

‘He punched me, kicked me, and pulled my hair. He liked to put both hands on my head and squeeze it like it was in a vice. It was his hallmark and trademark. His thing,’ she alleged. 

‘But the most devastating aspect was the emotional abuse. The physical behavior was more extreme, but the emotional effects lasted longer. I was terrified the rest of the marriage. I walked on eggshells the whole time. For 29 years.’

As many people in abusive relationships do, Patrisha stayed with him, manipulated and put down. After marrying in 1987, they had two children, Jackie and Wyatt.

But nearly three decades into their marriage, Patrisha was looking for a way out. She had been trying to leave him for a year, but he’d always woo her back with messages and voicemails.

Then, in January of 2016, Don was arrested for domestic violence, which set their split in motion.

Patrisha filed for divorce two months after the arrest, citing ‘adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences.’ 

She also filed for a protection order. In a statement supporting her request, she alleged that her husband had ‘terrorized’ her ‘for four hours’ on the night before he was arrested. She also wrote that she feared for her life after the singer allegedly grabbed her forcefully and said he wanted to ‘strangle’ her. 

Arrest: In January of 2016, Don was arrested for domestic violence, which set their split in motion

Don was also ordered not to have any contact with his ex-wife for two years, and to pay $5,500 in legal fees on her behalf (pictured in 2008)

But just days later, she withdrew the request for a restraining order, saying that she didn’t anticipate the statement to be made public and said she felt ‘blindsided’ after her claims were publicized.

Then, in July of 2016, Don pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault. His lawyers said at the time that he would face only a $3,000 fine if he stayed out of trouble for a year.   

His attorney, Walter McKee, also told Daily Mail Online that despite the plea, Don insisted he hadn’t been violent.

‘Don has been adamant since day one that he did not do what his now ex-wife said he did,’ McKee said. ‘But in the end he decided it was better to just resolve the case now and be done with it by entering pleas with zero jail, zero probation, and only fines.’

Don was also ordered not to have any contact with his ex-wife for two years, and to pay $5,500 in legal fees on her behalf. 

Patrisha said the no-contact with her ex ‘set her free’ and made it possible for her to leave once and for all. 

Forward: Patrisha launched a nonprofit for victims of domestic abuse called Finding Our Voices

Documented: In 2019, she launched a photo exhibit including portraits of 14 women who had been abused. She had also rape-recorded them telling their own stories

Though Patrisha said that all the headlines about their marriage and Don’s arrest made it easier her for her to finally step away, her private struggle becoming so public had its downsides — like that Don could say whatever he wanted to the press and it would be printed, and she says media never reached out to her for a response 

Last year, he told The Irish Times, ‘I can truly say that my ex-wife is the worst person I ever knew.’ 

Patrisha explained: ‘That is a big problem with the celebrity culture. The press needs to stop being the mouthpiece of abusers. They are a tool of abuse.’ 

Don has also had quite a bit of coverage for his relationship with his girlfriend, 27-year-old Paris Dylan, a former Playboy model known for her appearances on MTV’s Catfish. They have been together since 2017, when Paris was 23 and Don was 71.

The consequences Don has faced have also been made public, too. 

In 2019, he was told he’d be receiving the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, presented by the Student Alumni Association at UCLA.

But the award was almost immediately rescinded after the association was told of the disturbance involving Don and Patrisha in 2016.

Age difference: Don has had quite a bit of coverage for his relationship with his girlfriend, 27-year-old Paris Dylan 

Fame-chaser: The former Playboy model is known for her appearances on MTV’s Catfish

Five decades: They have been together since 2017, when Paris was 23 and Don was 71 

Living it up: The former Playboy model was all smiles while in Venice, Italy, with her beau earlier this month 

Meanwhile, Patrisha is moving forward, giving a platform to other victims of domestic abuse.

In 2019, she launched a photo exhibit including portraits of 14 women who had been abused. She had also tape-recorded them telling their own stories.

Eventually, the project evolved into Finding Our Voices, a nonprofit.

Patrisha is also speaking out to help other women who find themselves in abusive relationships.

‘If he abuses you, he’s not a good father. Period. You can’t be a good father and be abusive,’ she said. 

‘It’s also not going to change. It does not get better. So don’t minimize their behavior. Don’t excuse it, and realize there is a better life out there. There is life beyond the abuse. You can get out. There is help and hope.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to McLean’s spokesperson for comment. 

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