Christine McVie Revealed How Mick Fleetwood Helped Her Conquer Her Fear of Flying

Christine McVie opened up about her flying phobia and how Mick Fleetwood, drummer and founding member of Fleetwood Mac, helped her conquer her fears. McVie’s phobia affected her ability to perform with the classic rock group, and Fleetwood said the band wasn’t the same without her. Here’s how he helped McVie overcome her fear of flying and what it was like when she rejoined the band after a 15-year hiatus. 

Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac stand together on stage.
Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood | Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Christine McVie quit Fleetwood Mac due to panic attacks and a flying phobia 

In 1998, Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The same year, keyboardist, singer, and songwriter Christine McVie dropped out of the band after nearly 30 years of playing with Fleetwood Mac. 

McVie has cited panic attacks and her flying phobia as one of the main reasons she quit the band. “I did have a phobia about flying. And I had the phobia when I left Fleetwood Mac,” she told CBS News (via Express). “It was a multiple of different reasons that led me to leave – my father had died in England, and I wanted to be close to my own family there. So I bought a house.”

She continued, “The (Northridge, California) earthquake happened in ‘94 and I developed a phobia about flying. It was multiple reasons why I thought, ‘I’ve had enough. I wanna go home, and live in the country and get a Range Rover and get the dogs, the wellie (Wellington) boots and the scarf and cook for the YMCA,’ or whatever.”

After years of being constricted by her ability to travel only by boat or train, McVie decided she’d had enough. She called on the help of an old friend, drummer Mick Fleetwood, to work through her fear of flying. 

Christine McVie said Mick Fleetwood helped her overcome her fear of flying

The musician started seeing a therapist to help her deal with her flying phobia. After a few sessions, the therapist asked Christine McVie where in the world she would most like to go if she could fly anywhere. 

“I said Maui because that’s where Mick was living at the time,” the keyboardist told Harper’s Bazaar in March 2019.  “So, the therapist said, ‘Why don’t you just buy a ticket. You don’t have to get on the plane, just buy the ticket.’”

It turned out that Mick Fleetwood had just booked a flight to see McVie. “Then as irony would have it, Mick called me just after and said, ‘Look, I’m coming to London, are you around?’ I told him that I’d just bought a ticket to see him and he said, ‘Well I’ll meet you in London then and we’ll fly back together.’ So that’s what I did.”

Mick Fleetwood said the keyboardist filled the ‘void in the chemistry of the band’

After overcoming her fear of flying, Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac. She hadn’t performed with the group in about 15 years. 

Mick Fleetwood said he’d had some concerns about the keyboardist during her period of semi-retirement. “She seemed happy in her life,” the drummer told Elle. “But I did always find it odd and somewhat worrisome that someone as creative as Chris was so utterly divorced from music in general.”

But after she returned to the group, Fleetwood said McVie filled “a void” in the band. “Since she’s been back, I’m already feeling the steadying effect of her presence,” he said. “There is no doubt that there was a void in the chemistry of the band. The band rose successfully to the creative withdrawal, but emotionally … the balance was challenged.”

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