Brian Wilson Mourns Wife: 'She Was My Savior'

Melinda Ledbetter Wilson dies at 77
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 2:00 AM CST
Brian Wilson's Wife of 28 Years Dies
Brian Wilson, left, and Melinda Ledbetter arrive at the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Brian Wilson's wife of 28 years, famously portrayed by Elizabeth Banks opposite John Cusack's Brian in the 2014 film Love & Mercy, died Tuesday at age 77. Melinda Ledbetter first met Wilson in 1986 when she sold the founding Beach Boy a Cadillac; they had an on-and-off relationship for three years and then reunited in 1992 and married in 1995, People reports. She played a big role in getting Wilson out of the control of Dr. Eugene Landy, the controversial therapist who served as his legal guardian as he struggled with his mental health. The couple adopted five children together and Ledbetter Wilson, described by many outlets as the architect of her husband's comeback, took on the role of his manager in 1999, Entertainment Weekly reports.

"My heart is broken. Melinda, my beloved wife of 28 years, passed away this morning. Our five children and I are just in tears. We are lost," Wilson, 81, wrote on Instagram. "Melinda was more than my wife. She was my savior. She gave me the emotional security I needed to have a career. She encouraged me to make the music that was closest to my heart. She was my anchor. She was everything for us. Please say a prayer for her." The couple's children added their own statement below his, in which they said that their mom, "a force of nature and one of the strongest women you could come by," died peacefully at home. (More Brian Wilson stories.)

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