Jane Benyo is popularly known as the first wife of famous rock musician Tom Petty. She came into the limelight in the 1970s when she married Petty, who was experiencing a meteoric rise in the music industry at the time. Tom Petty was the legendary frontman of the American rock band “Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers”.
The couple had two children together, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1996. The relationship seemed like a fairy tale, but details that became known after the divorce showed that it was a tortured relationship.
When her marriage to the famous rock legend ended, Jane Benyo disappeared from the media radar. After the death of her former husband Tom Petty, her name reappeared in media circles in 2017. Petty died on October 2, 2017, after suffering a complete cardiac arrest in the early hours of the morning at his home in Malibu. According to the medical examiner, he died from an accidental overdose of various drugs.
Jane Benyo Biography
Jane Ann Benyo was born in Gainesville, Florida. Although she is known as the first wife of the late rock legend Tom Petty, details of her early life are not publicly known at this time.
Benyo met Petty when she was still a teenager. The two lovebirds had a marriage that lasted over two decades and they also had two children together. Their marriage seemed glamorous and blissful to the outside world. It turned out, however, that the marriage was, in reality, fleeting, as evidenced by the gory details revealed at the end of the marriage.
The divorce was hard for both parties. Jane Benyo became obsessive and threatened her estranged husband with suicide calls. Tom Petty, for his part, was also addicted to alcohol and heroin. However, he went into therapy before the end of their marriage.
Finally, on June 3, 2001, Petty remarried his second wife Dana York Epperson, whom he had met at one of his concerts in 1991. The legendary rock musician credits his second wife for helping him overcome his drug addiction. Dana York also helped him to rebuild his relationship with his children. Their marriage remained intact until the death of Tom Petty in 2017. The famous rock frontman died at the age of 66.
6 Quick Facts About Tom Petty’s Ex-Wife
1. Meeting Tom Petty
Jane Benyo met Tom Petty when they were both in high school in their hometown of Gainesville, Florida. The high school love stayed together for a while, and eventually, they started living together.
2. Jane Benyo’s Marriage
At the age of 24, the late rock legend Tom Petty entered into the covenant with his first wife Jane Benyo on March 26, 1974. After their marriage, Benyo moved with Tom Petty to Los Angeles, where he continued his flourishing music career.
The couple had 2 children together, daughters Kimberly Violette (born 1974) and Adria (born 1982). Kimberly “AnnaKim” Violette is an artist and fashion enthusiast. She changed her last name from Petty to Violette just because her favorite color is ultraviolet. After his death in October 2017, she paid an ardent tribute to her rock star father. Adria Petty is an art director and editor. She has worked on music videos by artists such as Beyoncé, Coldplay, Macy Gray, and Regina Spektor.
Despite its fairytale beginning, the marriage between Tom Petty and his first wife Jane Benyo ended after 22 years. The divorce between the two was finalized on September 9, 1996.
5. Edge of Seventeen
Jane Benyo is also the inspiration behind Stevie Nicks’ 1982 single Edge of Seventeen. During her marriage to Tom Petty, Benyo had met Nicks and told her that she had met Petty at the “age of seventeen”. Queen of Rock and Roll, however, confused this with “Edge of Seventeen” and adopted the phrase as the song title.
6. Jane Benyo’s battle with Depression
The end of their marriage was attributed to the fact that the late rock legend devoted too much time to his music career. As a result, Benyo found herself in a sea of loneliness and depression. In his biography Petty: The Biography, published in 2015, the late rock legend described his former wife as mentally ill. In defense of her mother, her daughter Adria Petty admits that her mother loved her father deeply, but became verbally insulting to him because of her own insecurities.