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Billy Joel Divorce Update: He Didn’t Start the Fire

Billy Joel’s okay. That’s the word from those who know the pop singer-songwriter. Even as his third marriage has finally, expectedly, tanked, they say Billy is philosophical about it.

Billy Joel and Katie Lee

After all, when he met and married Katie Lee, they say, she was a struggling chef in the Hamptons. Now she’s the author of two cookbooks, and a New York celebrity.

But the marriage was doomed from the start. Katie Lee was 21 when she met Joel. She’s only a couple of years older than his daughter, Alexa, burgeoning singer-songwriter herself. The two naturally did not get along.

On top of that, Katie Lee was not ready to start a family. She was happy being a celebrity. But Joel is a piano man, and likes to tour and perform shows. When he returned for a break in his recent schedule, sources say, he tried to reconcile his situation with Lee.

“But she doesn’t like to stay at home,” says a source. “There was no compromise.”

Most of Billy’s inner circle is thrilled, they tell me. Ex-wife Christie Brinkley, who remains a good friend, couldn’t be more pleased, although she’s keeping mum. Last night Brinkley skirted the subject when she picked up a humanitarian award from the Wayuu Taya Foundation at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen space in the West Village. Billy and Christie’s daughter, Alexa Ray, performed for the A-list crowd.

In the end, Katie Lee was a child in a world of adults, and she was in over her head. Joel’s pals say she was clueless about the 60-year-old’s demons ‘ common to rockers ‘ and turned a deaf ear to them. “She actually kept booze in the house,” says a source, demonstrating her lack of awareness about Billy’s issues.

Katie Lee also married into an existing dysfunctional functioning family unit. Even though Brinkley and Joel are divorced, they are close. When Brinkley was forced to endure her crazy divorce from philanderer Peter Cook, she sought refuge at Joel’s home. That didn’t go over too well. This summer, Brinkley’s 12-year-old son is “working” for Joel, helping him with his motorcycle exhibition in the Hamptons.

But do their mutual divorces spell a certain reunion for the Piano Man and the Uptown Girl? It’s doubtful, friends say. To paraphrase Billy, they like things “just the way they are.”