Billy Joel’s divorcing 3rd wife, Katie Lee. Surprise! Not. It was a very’ unpopular marriage. Billy’s daughter, Alexa, couldn’t stand Katie Lee, and vice versa. I am told that Katie Lee also lived in the shadow of Alexa’s mom, Christie Brinkley, who remains friendly with Billy. There were rumors of infidelity. It was more of a mess than one of Katie’s southern recipes.

Apparently the New York Daily News’s George Rush went with the story that most of us knew was coming soon. More than a month ago I was told by Joel’s pals that the marriage to the very much younger cookbook author (well that’s what she became) was burnt to a crisp.

Katie Lee’s youth turned out not to be asset in this, Billy’s third marriage (after Elizabeth Weber, whose brother caused Billy financial nightmares, and Christie Brinkley). She was too young to be smart enough to stick to his side, a rule known by rock wives around the world. If you want to stay married to a rock star, you have to tour with them, be in the recording stdio, and never let them out of your sight.

Instead of touring with Billy, she wanted her own life, her own career, and her own friends. She should have asked Heather Mills ex-McCartney how successful she was with this plan. Rock’s long marriages don’t work this way. Linda McCartney was never seconds away from Paul. Trudie Styler — with her own career and lots of interests–puts Sting first. Patti Scialfa, likewise with Bruce Springsteen despite rumors.

Katie Lee had her own issues. She was forever on the arms of other men while Billy was away. The National Enquirer tagged her for possibly to being too close to a fashion designer. According to my sources, Billy went ballistic when he saw the bad publicity. When he returned from the first part of his tour with Elton John, he tried to reconcile with Katie Lee. But the marriage was over, say insiders.

The timing of the divorce is no shock either. The couple was married on October 2, 2004. In the pre-nup world, a five year deadline was coming up. If Joel gets out now, the money he gives to Katie Lee is no doubt substantially reduced. It’s a smart move financially.

For Katie Lee, 27, this may be the end of her fifteen minutes of fame. She’s made some inroads in New York media and society, but possibly not enough to sustain her as a solo act without a brand name husband. Her story is right out of the pages of the great novelist Dawn Powell, who wrote about these things in the 1930s. Nothing has changed.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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