They married in February 1989 and divorced in April 1991, after Kitaen’s appearance in three Whitesnake videos had helped secure Coverdale’s career. She died at age 59 in May; her cause of death was later revealed to be heart disease and was ruled natural. Coverdale has been married to current wife Cindy since 1997; the couple have a son together.
“I got a text late at night, and I thought, ‘Oh, my God,’” Coverdale told Talkin’ Rock With Meltdown. “Really, to be honest, there had been no communication for over 30 years. I’ve been deeply invested, and continue to be invested, in my marriage to Cindy. … I think it would have been different had Tawny and I had a child, but we didn’t. And I sent my condolences out to her family and friends, and made a modest public statement because it really wasn’t my place to do anything else.”
You can listen to the interview below.
He described Kitaen as “synonymous with Whitesnake, with MTV [and an] iconic, amazing beauty who brought so much attention to my music.”
He added that “once you go, ‘Oh, my God, she’s gorgeous,’ you go, ‘Wow, the songs aren’t bad either!’ Yeah, so that was a shock — there was no question. I didn’t see that one coming. But then, sadly, I’m losing a lot of people. At this age, it’s so weird the amount of people I know who are checking out, privately or professionally. It’s pretty crazy. But it’s onwards and forwards – it has to be my philosophy.”
In Memoriam: 2021 Deaths
Remembering the musicians, actors, producers and others who have died in 2021.