’ ” When the elevator door opened to his apartment, there stood Macpherson.
He had an epiphany: “The people I was locked up with were never going to be able to overcome their problems, whereas mine were all self-made,” he told Schruers.“None of those people in the arena screaming your name really know you,” Joel tells author Fred Schruers in the new book “Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography.” (Joel, who sat for 100 hours of interviews, eventually withdrew from the project over fears it would be too revelatory.) “You just need one — one person out of millions — to know and accept and love you for being, well, just the way you are . I can even try to achieve it again, and often have.” His three tortured marriages — and the music they’ve inspired — are testament to that.Joel met his first wife in 1970, through his friend and bandmate Jon Small. intelligent and not afraid to speak her mind, but could also be seductive.Years later, Joel would find Frank had siphoned nearly million of his earnings, and in 1989, Joel sued him for that plus million in punitive damages. “What a family to pick.” Following the 1982 split with Elizabeth, Joel went to St. He found a piano bar and began playing; a few moments later, to his wonderment, Elle Macpherson, then just 19, and Christie Brinkley, 28, were standing at either side of the 33-year-old — along with an undiscovered Whitney Houston.Frank outwitted Joel by filing for bankruptcy, and in 1990, Joel settled out of court. They were all vying for Joel’s attention, Brinkley tells Schruers. ’ Meanwhile, Elle’s draped herself on the piano like Michelle Pfeiffer [in ‘The Fabulous Baker Boys’].” Back in New York, Brinkley and Macpherson competed for Joel, who was living in a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park.“I can fix this, I thought.” He began writing again.Never much into drugs, he self-medicated with booze and cigarettes.In 1982, they filed for divorce, but Joel hoped to reconcile.He agreed to buy her everything she wanted — a million town house on the Upper East Side, an Alfa Romeo — but then he had a motorcycle accident, smashing both his hands.For someone who hasn’t really released new music in more than 20 years, Billy Joel is having an epic third act.He has spent much of his life in battle: against his ex-wives, against booze, bad managers and bankruptcy, and against critics who’ve considered him too uncool for rock ’n’ roll.