Back in 1984, the future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Scialfa met for the first time at The Stone Pony bar in Jersey. Scialfa auditioned for Springsteen's iconic Born In the U.S.A tour and become its only female backup singer. They would frequently perform duets together on the road and had incredible chemistry on the stage.
Apparently, there was an immediate connection between the two, but a friend introduced the Springsteen to actress Julianne Phillips, who quickly stole Springsteen's heart. Springsteen and Phillips were married on May 13, 1985. It ended up being Springsteen's demanding tour schedule for the Tunnel of Love Express Tour that caused a rift between the couple. Scialfa had postponed working on a solo album to rejoin the tour and, this time, sparks really did fly.
According to Scialfa's high school teacher in an interview with People, it came as no surprise to everyone at home that the Jersey girl ended up with "The Boss."
"Patti's been in love with Bruce for as long as I can remember," says Curtis K. Smith, her art teacher at Asbury Park High. "We'd always heard this and that about Patti and Bruce from [her brother] Michael. It wasn't a big surprise around here when it finally came into the open."
Springsteen ended his relationship with Philips and shortly after moved in with Scialfa. The couple moved to Los Angeles together and immediately started growing their family. They welcomed son Evan James in 1990 and then married in a private ceremony at their home the following year. Soon after, they welcomed two more children together, Jessica and Samuel.
Though Springsteen initially received some negativity for how quickly he moved on from his first wife, he clearly proved everyone wrong. He and Scialfa have been together for nearly three decades. In an interview with Variety, Springsteen explained that over the years they have mastered their work/life balance. Scialfa even joined her hubby onstage in New York City for his "Springsteen on Broadway," which ended up winning a Tony.
"We've kind of developed natural boundaries. Some places we have a more professional approach, like if I walk into the studio while she's working, I have certain boundaries where if she requests my opinion or asks for my help, I give it on a very professional level. When she comes onstage with the E Street Band she's an E Street band member, and when we walk offstage we're husband and wife."
When promoting his biography Born To Run, the singer-songwriter explained that his wife was really helpful when he was battling depression.
"She was stable enough and strong enough and she brought a lot of love, you know, so those were very healing things over a long period of time," Springsteen said.
The family moved back to their East Coast home of New Jersey, where they first met before the Born in the USA tour. They continue to perform together regularly. The couple's daughter Jessica went on to become a nationally-ranked showjumping champion who represented the United States Equestrian Team. She recently won a silver medal in the Team jumping at the 2020 summer Olympics held in 2021 in Tokyo!
This article was originally published in July of 2020.
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.