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Meat Loaf facts: real name, age, wife, children and more

Meat Loaf was one of the biggest artists of the 70s, both literally and figuratively. This Rock and stage sensation almost single-handedly created a combination of musical theater and Rock and Roll that defined a huge part of that decade. He arrived on the scene like a bat out of hell. And although he had his ups and downs, Meat Loaf ended up finding huge success.

In my in-depth look at Meat Loaf facts: real name, age, wife, children and more, we’ll dive deep into the man behind the music. After all, this is an artist who has won a Grammy, sold over 100 million albums, and also had a successful acting career. The legacy of Meat Loaf’s work will live on for decades.

What’s Meat Loaf’s Real Name?

What, you don’t think his parents named him after their favorite meal? OK, in this case, you’re right. Meat Loaf is not and has been this star’s real name. Marvin Lee Aday is Meat Loaf’s given name. But, as his first two initials suggest, his stage name developed from a childhood nickname.

There are three stories about how he got the name Meat Loaf…

The first is a simple story that smacks of embellishment. The singer claims that he was born a very disconcerting bright red color and stayed that way for his first week of life. He claims the staff at the hospital and his parents took his initials, M.L., and playfully called him ‘Meat’ and sometimes “Meatloaf.”

He was also a very big child, always much larger than his classmates at school. It’s surprising since he went on to become a star of the stage, but this caused him to become very socially anxious. And kids giving him the nickname ‘Meat Loaf’ didn’t help.

He also played football in high school since he was such a big fella. So, another story tells that he trod on a coach’s foot with his cleats, and that coach called him a “meatloaf.”

However he got the name…

Meat Loaf decided to accept it. If it was an insult, he turned it around into something positive by claiming it for himself. Born in 1947, he was already using the name as his professional stage name by the late 1960s. Meat Loaf’s first group was called Meat Loaf Soul.

But what about his real name?

The reality is he seems to have preferred just about anything to Meat Loaf’s birth name. After battling with weight issues for decades, Meat Loaf legally changed his name in 1984, not to Meat Loaf, but from Marvin to Michael.

That’s because he associated the name Marvin with being overweight. So, for the rest of his life, he was Michael Lee Aday. But, to almost everyone, he will forever be Meat Loaf.

Was Meat Loaf Married?

Yes, he was married twice. Meat Loaf’s first marriage lasted 22 years, while his second was cut short by his sudden death. His first wife was a secretary at Bearsville Studios, where he went to work in 1978 on his second album. This was Leslie Edmonds, and the couple was married in 1979.

Leslie had a daughter from a previous relationship, and she and Meat Loaf had another daughter together. As a family, they spent most of their time in Connecticut and also bought a house in Beverly Hills in the late 90s. In 2001, the couple divorced.

Meat Loaf was unmarried for the next six years. Then, in 2007, he married his second wife, Deborah Gillespie. They remained married for the next 15 years. She was by his side when he passed away in 2022.

Did Meat Loaf Have Children?

Yes, Meat Loaves seem able to be able to reproduce after all! Meat Loaf had two children, both with his first wife, Leslie Edmonds. Their oldest daughter, Pearl, was actually Leslie’s from a previous relationship. However, once they were married, Meat Loaf legally adopted her, and they changed her name to Pearl Aday.

Then in 1981, Leslie gave birth to another girl. She was named Amanda Aday. Pearl grew up to be a singer and even worked in her father’s backing band, Neverland Express. Amanda is an actress with a host of TV credits under her belt. So, both of Meat Loaf’s daughters followed in their father’s footsteps, each going in one of his two professional directions.

Although he later remarried…

Meat Loaf had no more children. He was known as a family man who taught his girls music skills and coached them in softball. To see how Meat Loaf’s family viewed him, you can watch a memorial video produced by his daughters.

Is Meat Loaf Dead?

Is Meat Loaf Dead?

Sadly, yes. This Rock Music legend passed away in 2022 at the age of 74. At the time, he was said to be working on new material and was getting close to going into the studio to lay it down for what would have been his 13th album.

How did he die?

In January 2022, Meat Loaf’s daughter reported that people in the family were infected with the COVID-19 virus. Meat Loaf was brought to the hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, and passed away there on January 20th.

Although the family did not release an official cause of Meat Loaf’s death, it was widely speculated that Meat Loaf died from COVID-19-related complications.

Before his passing…

Meat Loaf was quite outspoken about COVID-19 restrictions. He argued that lockdowns and mask-wearing, though possibly useful at the beginning of the epidemic, were restrictive and unnecessary in the long term. He also said that he went out of his way to make emotional and even physical contact with people to help them during rough times.

Before his death, Meat Loaf was no stranger to hospitals and health issues…

This was a tremendously passionate performer who worked hard his whole life. He lost his voice several times in his career, causing him to need periods of rest. In 1978, he jumped off a stage during a performance and broke his leg. Years later, in 2019, he fell off a stage and broke his collarbone.

In the intervening years, he had to walk off stage in both 2007 and 2016, citing exhaustion. He had asthma, and in 2003 was also diagnosed with a rare heart condition that caused him to have an unusually fast heartbeat.

In 2016, he also had back surgery to treat a spinal fusion and used a cane and a wheelchair to get around temporarily. Yet, despite all of Meat Loaf’s health conditions, he battled on and continued to put his all into his dramatic stage performances.

The Meat Loaf Method – How This Singer Performed

One thing that made Meat Loaf stand out as a singer was his on-stage presence. As a young school student, he joined in performances of school musicals.

This led him to want to become a stage performer. And at age 19, he started up his first professional band, Meat Loaf Soul. They played around California, and Meat Loaf became known as a strong singer and a wild performer.

Local popularity in the late 60s…

…and, long flowing locks, got him enough attention to be accepted into the cast of the L.A. production of Hair. This counter-culture musical became explosively popular and garnered the singer even more attention. He was then contracted by Motown Records, where he recorded and toured with Shaun “Stoney” Murphy, also from Hair.

In the early 70s, he returned to stage acting with off-Broadway and Shakespeare performances. His strong character and memorable name continued to build his personal brand.

In 1973, he got a huge break acting in the stage version and then the cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While he also played Dr. Scott in the stage show, his performance as Eddie, the delivery boy, in the film, is one of his best-loved of all time.

With this strong stage acting background…

Meat Loaf was set to bring the characters in his songs to life with what he called the “Meat Loaf Method.” He has explained that each song he sings is part of a story and is voiced by a different character.

When he performed these songs on stage, he didn’t just sing them. He adopted the physical and vocal mannerisms of each character, adding a strong dramatic flair to each performance.

Heavily critical of himself, he was never satisfied with his performances. So, he constantly pushed himself to add more drama and passion to his stage work.

Meat Loaf’s Music

So far, we’ve looked at lots of Meat Loaf facts: real name, age, wife, children and more. But, even outside of his acting, it was Meat Loaf’s music that made him into a legend.

In 1972, Meat Loaf began what would end up as a lifelong collaboration with composer and lyricist Jim Steinman. Together, they worked on material that would eventually become the legendary album Bat Out of Hell. The music was written by Steinman, and Meat Loaf assisted with the lyrics. The album was recorded in 1974 and produced by Steinman.

Then, no one wanted to touch the thing…

The pair spent two and a half years shopping their album around and getting rejected multiple times before it was finally released in 1977 by a small Cleveland label. A lucky move by the label.

Why was it lucky?

…because the album, with famed tracks on it like Paradise by the Dashboard LightBat Out of HellTwo Out of Three Ain’t BadYou Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), has gone down in Rock Music history.

It became one of the highest selling Rock albums of all time, moving at least 40 million copies. The song “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” was the highest charting song from the album, going to #11 and becoming a gold single. But, the song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is probably the most famous track from this album.

It’s almost a mini-Rock Opera in and of itself, with three very distinct parts (Paradise, Let Me Sleep On It, and Praying for the End of Time) portraying the negotiation of love and sex. This song is also known as the most popular background music for first sexual experiences in the 1970s.

Ask your parents or aunts and uncles about that little tidbit…

Meat Loaf released a total of 12 albums in his solo career, most in collaboration with Steinman. However, it was the original Bat Out of Hell album, along with its two sequels, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993) and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (2016) which were Meat Loaf’s most famous albums.

The second installation of the Bat albums spawned Meat Loaf’s biggest musical success in 1993. The song I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” was written by Steinman as a power ballad duet. It was recorded with Meat Loaf and UK singer Lorraine Crosby (billed as “Mrs. Loud” on the album).

This song is huge and powerful…

Sweeping through different emotions and musical parts. It ended up as Meat Loaf’s only song to make it to #1 in the US charts and was also a top single in the UK.

As a single, it was certified platinum in the US after selling more than a million copies. And this song also earned him a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo.

For more fascinating insights into his songs, check out our thoughts on the Top 10 Meat Loaf Songs ever!

Meat Loaf on Video

Meat Loaf on Video

As far as Meat Loaf facts: real name, age, wife, children and more are concerned, we’ve covered quite a bit. But there is a whole other side to this legend.

As a singer with broad stage acting experience…

Meat Loaf quickly understood the power video would have to promote his music. Even in the 1970s, before MTV and other music video channels, Meat Loaf made videos for his music to capitalize on the visual aspects of his theatrical performances.

He made videos for three songs from Bat Out of Hell and distributed them to theatres showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show, piggybacking on the success of that film. He also filmed many live performances, which have become cult classic videos.

And, with the 1993 video for “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, he created his masterpiece. In this epic video, Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera themes combine to produce a brilliant visual for the song.

But Meat Loaf didn’t just act in his music videos…

In addition to his famed performance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, he appeared in over 50 TV shows and films during his career. While some were small and forgettable, other roles were in huge projects like Wayne’s World (1992), Fight Club (1999), and Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006).

Meat Loaf sometimes played himself or characters based on him. But, in other performances, he threw himself into his roles, acting with power and conviction gained from decades on the stage and screen.

Curious About The Lives Of Other Famous Artists?

If so, check out our takes on Jon Bon Jovi facts: Singer’s age, wife, children, songs and net worth revealedTina Turner facts: Singer’s age, real name, husband, children, and more revealed, and Ringo Starr facts: Beatles drummer’s age, wife, children, net worth and songs revealed for more eye-opening information.

You might also enjoy our thoughts on the Best Classic Rock Songs, the Best 70s Rock Songs, the Best 80s Rock Songs, and the Best 90s Rock Songs for more incredible song selections.

Meat Loaf facts: real name, age, wife, children and more – Final Thoughts

If you just know Meat Loaf as the actor behind Eddie or the singer of “Paradise By the Dashboard Light,” I hope you’ve found out a whole lot more about this icon.

Michael Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf, released 12 albums during his solo career and acted in over 50 TV shows and movies. He won a Grammy Award and sold over 100 million albums during his lifetime.

In his personal life, Meat Loaf was married twice and has two daughters, both also performers. And, even though he passed away in 2022, the legacy of his characters, his music, and his dedication to never stop rocking lives on.

Until next time, happy listening.

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