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Dennis Wilson had a few surprising relationships since his rise to stardom with the Beach Boys. He dated one member of Fleetwood Mac. He even married the daughter of his cousin/bandmate, Mike Love. 

Their marriage wasn’t without strain, as these two were in the process of separating when Dennis Wilson died in 1983.

Dennis Wilson is a founding member of the Beach Boys

Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys performing on stage, keyboards
Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys performing on stage, keyboards | Fin Costello/Redferns via Getty Images

The Beach Boys is known for their surfer sound and their somewhat controversial partying habits. As a drummer for the band, Wilson performed songs “You Still Believe in Me,” “God Only Knows,” “I Get Around,” and “Help Me, Ronda.” 

Outside of music, though, Dennis Wilson was known for his drug use and alcohol consumption, which also bled into his personal relationships. He was named a “womanizer” by friends close to him. 

This musician even began a relationship with his band member’s illegitimate daughter. That was Mike Love’s illegitimate daughter, Shawn Marie Love, who was never publicly acknowledged by her father.

Dennis Wilson started a relationship with his band member’s daughter

At one point, Wilson was married to Mike Love’s daughter named Shawn. The two met in Wilson’s Venice home. Shawn Love was 16 years old at the time and recalled a conversation with Wilson asking for her last name. After Wilson insisted he know her father’s first name, Shawn revealed that she was related to Mike Love.

“He started talking to me like a big brother,” Love mentioned during an interview with Rolling Stone. “He said, ‘It’s not safe for you to tell everybody who your dad is.’ All of a sudden, he changed the conversation. At first, some people thought he was coming on to me to get at Mike.”

Mike Love was also Wilson’s cousin, which only complicated the relationship between Shawn Love and Dennis Wilson. (The original members of The Beach Boys were Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine.) The couple had a son together — Gage. 


Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s Friend Called Him ‘a Notorious Womanizer’: ‘He Called Himself The Wood’

Shawn Love left her relationship with Dennis Wilson because of ‘personal things’

By 1981, the relationship was showing “signs of strain,” including Wilson’s drug and alcohol use, which became “embarrassing.” Shawn Love even mentioned that she heard he was trying to take another woman to bed.

“I left partially because of me and Dennis not getting along because of personal things — jealousies and stuff,” Shawn added during the same interview. 

Divorce was in the works up until Dennis Wilson died in 1983. Although the couple was “working things out,” Love said that the two “probably would have been together, then apart again.”

Wilson was married five times before his death. He also briefly had a “wild” relationship with Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie. At the time, Wilson’s heavy drinking added stress on the couple, with the two officially separating in 1981.