Backstage as Mick Jagger Makes First Appearance After Heart Procedure

The 75-year-old rocker, recovering from a heart procedure two weeks earlier, remained behind the scenes for the duration of his girlfriend's April 18 ballet, telling an event insider that he wanted to avoid crowds because he "didn't quite look like" himself.
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Mick Jagger could be heard but not seen at Lincoln Center during the April 18 premiere of girlfriend Melanie Hamrick's new ballet, Porte Rouge. The 75-year-old rocker, recovering from a transcatheter aortic valve replacement operation two weeks earlier, remained backstage for the duration of the dance performance (which Hamrick choreographed to Rolling Stones classics like "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Paint It Black"), telling an event insider that he wanted to avoid crowds because he "didn't quite look like Mick Jagger."

Still, the rocker did greet the audience over loudspeakers. "Mick Jagger here. Hope you enjoy this wonderful new ballet and the music," he announced.

According to backstage sources, Jagger was dressed in black jeans, a black jacket and sneakers, and stayed for the entire performance, holding Hamrick’s hand and congratulating the dancers. Jagger skipped the dinner, which Hamrick attended along with such guests as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; the twins designed a white tutu for the gala.

The ballerina did dodge an afterparty to go home to the singer, and friends say she has given up her apartment and moved to a new Upper West Side home with Jagger and their 2-year-old, Deveraux, who is mistaken by neighbors for a girl due to his long locks. “People say, ‘You have such a beautiful daughter, but I still refuse to cut his hair,’’ says Hamrick.

The ballet was part of the 20th anniversary gala for Youth America Grand Prix, a nonprofit international student ballet competition and scholarship program. Hamrick has a soft spot for YAGP, which launched her career as an ABT dancer, and it’s the organization’s artistic director, Larissa Saveliev, who suggested she use the Stones' music. “I picked the music but Mick guided me,’’ says Hamrick. “He would say, ‘This song is easier to cut to the right length.'"

She admits she was nervous about how the audience would receive her first choreographic effort. “I would love to do more, but I was so self-conscious. Mick is really supportive, though, and a wonderful partner. He was backstage hugging the dancers after the performance. He is my rock.”

A version of this story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.