For those of us who grew up during the 1980s, the love story of Journey lead singer Steve Perry and his girlfriend, Sherrie Swafford, was the Romeo and Juliet of our teenage time.
Beginning with power ballad “Open Arms” and on through the megahit “Separate Ways,” among other Journey classics, there was no doubt Perry and Swafford were crazy about each other — so much so that when Perry released his first solo album, 1984’s Street Talk, he serenaded his lady love in the video for “Oh Sherrie,” an MTV favorite.
The song — another monster ballad celebrating the joys and pains of being in love — was given new life via the Broadway production of Rock of Ages, in which lead character Drew (played best by Constantine Maroulis) belted the chorus (“Oh, Sherrie / Our love / Holds on”) to his love interest. But what happened to the real-life Sherrie?
Like a line straight out of “Faithfully,” loving a music man ain’t always what it’s supposed to be — and it turned out the pressures of touring finally ended the romance. Since then, little was heard of Swafford. Until now.
Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of the blog Noblemania, caught up with Swafford while researching an article locating all of the women who originally appeared in the “Separate Ways” video. While Swafford declined a full interview, she acknowledged that Nobleman is the “only person [who] has ever received a response.”
However, she did give a brief statement to the blogger about what she’s been up to.
“MTV, VH1 [contacted me and] I did nothing and hoped they thought it was the wrong number! I am an esthetician, teach yoga, never married, no children. Love my animals, planting flowers and life. Cherish my friends (including Steve) and my privacy. It was so different for us! It was just Love, nothing else!”
In a November 2011 interview with the Tampa Bay Times, the now-64-year-old Perry, who no longer tours with Journey, sweetly recalled his time with Swafford, telling the paper: “Sherrie and I were crazy in love, I can tell you that. And it was a very tough time because the band was peaking. And if any woman out there thinks that it would be real exciting to be the girlfriend of somebody in a band like that and that it would be all peaches and cream, the truth is that it’s hard to navigate a relationship when you’re in the midst of such a ride.”
Watch Perry’s iconic video below: