David Lee Roth‘s reputation as a ladies’ man came dangerously close to ending a marriage on account of infidelity, although he had absolutely nothing to do with it.
In today’s Washington Post, Nancy French writes about how, when she was 20, she and a man named David fell in love quickly and, over the objections of everyone they knew, got married and moved to New York City from Tennessee. But one week into a marriage with a man she barely knew — her mother would only refer to him as “rank stranger” — they started getting phone calls from random women asking for David, only to be told by him that they had the wrong number.
“I believed him,” she continued, “until the phone rang at 3AM. And 4. The calls became more regular, at all hours of the day and night. It got so common, I was no longer surprised when the breathy voices on the other end of the line morphed into sighs of disappointment.”
After talking with some of the women, whose reactions to Nancy’s existence ranged from “testy” to tears, she finally demanded the truth. David, who worked as a lawyer in Midtown Manhattan, pleaded ignorance.
Eventually a man called, and he was upset to learn that David was at work because, as he told Nancy, “All work should go through me.” Upon learning that she was his wife and that it was done impulsively, he went into damage control mode, asking if she was pregnant, with “a little David Lee” inside her, because that would “really hurt our comeback.”
As it turned out, the man was David Lee Roth’s agent, and they figured out the reason for all those phone calls. Roth had been the previous owner of their phone number, and gave it out to women that he didn’t want to see again. Both of them started laughing with relief when they realized what was going on.
Although French doesn’t specify when all this took place, she wrote that it coincided with his appearance with Van Halen on MTV, which would set it in 1996. That also led to more calls, only this time with people hoping he was reuniting with his old band and inviting them to parties.
She concluded by saying that, against the odds, her relationship with her husband has “outlasted Manhattan; Ithaca, N.Y.; Philadelphia; two cities in Kentucky; and three cities in Tennessee. Our love survived a harrowing deployment to Iraq. It survived two parents with cancer, a lump in my breast, a chronic disease. It lasted when jobs, friends and vehicles didn’t. It survived when the months lasted longer than the paychecks. It’s thrived through one difficult pregnancy, one premature birth, an adoption that spanned two continents, horrible heartbreak and unspeakable joy.”