Ronnie Spector’s husband says ‘Be My Baby’ singer ‘was in a wonderful place’ before her death at 78

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Ronnie Spector’s husband was immediately smitten when he saw the singer for the very first time.

It was 1974 and the 60s music icon, who had just divorced Phil Spector, was performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“Ronnie took to the stage singing ‘Walking in the Rain,’ rocking back and forth to the beat,” Jonathan Greenfield, Spector’s husband of nearly 40 years, told People magazine on Tuesday. “I was pretty convinced that when God created woman, she would look exactly like Ronnie when I saw her that night at the Garden.”

The couple wouldn’t meet until 1978, when Greenfield was handling an off-Broadway production of “The Neon Woman.” The star, along with others including Debbie Harry, were in the audience. At some point in the evening, Greenfield worked up the courage to approach Spector.


Ronnie Spector of the vocal trio The Ronettes, circa 1964.
(James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

“I said, ‘Do you mind if I hug you?'” Greenfield recalled. “She kind of looked at me like, ‘Give me a break.’ [But] Ronnie let me hug her and when I kissed her she squealed like a little mouse. It was the first time I hugged him.”

According to the outlet, Spector returned to the show every night. A relationship blossomed and they married in 1983. After saying “yes”, they soon welcomed sons Austin, 39, and Jason, 38.

“We did everything together for almost 42 years,” Greenfield said. “There are a lot of little things in our relationship that bring balance to each of us. It’s a bit like two trees next to each other; over the years they grow and the branches start to intertwine .”

As a solo artist, Spector has thrived in the music industry. But when the star wasn’t performing, she was a doting wife and mother in rural Connecticut, where she lived down the road from pal Keith Richards. Greenfield noted that Spector would run errands with full makeup and perfectly styled hair to greet fans.


Ronnie Spector signing autographs for fans after his performance in Asbury Park, New Jersey on May 22, 1987.

Ronnie Spector signing autographs for fans after his performance in Asbury Park, New Jersey on May 22, 1987.
(Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

“She never thought she was anything special,” Greenfield said. “She had been on top and then she knew what it felt like not being able to get into Studio 54 because she wasn’t cool enough. Wherever she went, whether it was on stage or just at ShopRite, she put a smile on everyone she came in contact with. That’s exactly what she did. I’m so convinced she was put here to spread joy, love and kindness. She had this gift of making people feel really good.

And Spector continued his love of music to the end. In October, she was to record a duet with Margo Price called “Fight to Make It”. However, the song was never completed. The Ronettes frontman died in January this year after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78 years old.

“I still have the lyrics on the music stand with Ronnie’s notes on them,” Greenfield said, noting that their final years together were filled with gratitude. “She was in such a wonderful place. She was so happy. We would go for walks in the park and [it was like] she had found the secret of happiness. I was happy to be able to be there with her and help her get to this point.”

“She and I have been through a lot together and she has grown into an amazing and inspiring person,” Greenfield continued. “I’ve been incredibly blessed to be a small part to let her recover and rebuild her amazing life and share it with people.”


Ronnie Spector is survived by her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and her two sons, Jason and Austin.

Ronnie Spector is survived by her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and her two sons, Jason and Austin.
(Tom Sheehan/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images)

In Spector’s final months, she revised the updated version of her 1990 memoir “Be My Baby,” which was released Tuesday. The outlet shared that she approved the final edits to the manuscript two weeks before her death. The book is being made into a movie starring Zendaya, who was handpicked by Spector to play her.

Greenfield hopes Spector’s story will continue to inspire others.

“She wanted to tell people, ‘Never, never, never let someone take over your life,'” Greenfield said. “She wanted them to know that you can go through hell and you can come out of it. And you can come out of it strong.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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