Skip to main content

Grammy Award-winning singer Meat Loaf carries an incredible music and acting legacy with him. Sadly, Meat Loaf, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, died in January 2022 at 74 years old with his wife, Deborah Gillespie, and two daughters by his side. Prior to his marriage to Gillespie, he was married to Leslie Aday for over two decades. So, who was Meat Loaf’s wife, Leslie Aday? And why did he reportedly propose to her with a “giant whole salmon”?

Who was singer Meat Loaf’s wife, Leslie Aday? How did they meet?

A black and white photo of Meat Loaf and his ex-wife, Leslie Aday
Meat Loaf and his ex-wife, Leslie Aday | Melissa Hill/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Meat Loaf’s wife, Deborah Gillespie, was with him when he died. “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side,” an official statement from Facebook reads, according to CNN. “Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.”

Prior to Meat Loaf’s marriage to Gillespie, he was married to Leslie Aday. According to HITC, Leslie Edmonds was her maiden name prior to marrying Meat Loaf, and she’s from Norfolk, Virginia. They married in 1979 and divorced in 2001. Their marriage lasted 22 years. The Sun reports Meat Loaf adopted Aday’s daughter, Pearl, when Pearl was extremely young. Aday and Meat Loaf then had a second daughter, Amanda, together.

So, how did Meat Loaf and Aday meet? HITC reports Aday worked at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York, as a secretary. Meat Loaf recorded “Bat Out of Hell” at the studio.

He reportedly proposed to Leslie Aday with a ‘giant whole salmon’

A black and white photo of Meat Loaf and ex-wife Leslie Aday
Meat Loaf and ex-wife Leslie Aday | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

It seems Meat Loaf had an immediate attraction to Leslie Aday. Grunge reports “Bat Out of Hell” producer Todd Rundgren shared his story about Meat Loaf and Aday to Billboard.

According to Rundgren, “Meat Loaf kind of fell for her” — and it led to a very odd proposal. Rundgren said Meat Loaf made his “big first move” on Aday in the Bear Cafe. Meat Loaf reportedly “had a package that he had brought up from New York and presented it to her, and it was a giant whole salmon,” Rundgren explained. “And it was as if a bear had proposed to his mate. Instead of a ring, a salmon.”

It seems this odd courtship ritual worked as a marriage proposal, too. Aday and Meat Loaf married within a month of the salmon offering.

Meat Loaf divorced in 2001 and remarried Deborah Gillespie

Actor/singer Meat Loaf (L) and wife Deborah Gillespie smiling together at a premiere
Actor/singer Meat Loaf (L) and Deborah Gillespie arrive at the after party for the premiere ‘The Showgirl Must Go On’ | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for AEG Live/Concerts West

Meat Loaf Explained What ‘That’ Is in ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’

Meat Loaf and Leslie Aday divorced in 2001, Grunge reports. It’s unclear why the two couldn’t make their relationship work after over two decades of marriage. The singer married a second time in 2007. Meat Loaf’s wife, Deborah Gillespie, didn’t have any children of her own with the musician, but she and his two daughters he had with Aday remained by his side when he died.

A lot less is known about Deborah Gillespie and Meat Loaf. The Sun reports Gillespie was born in Canada, and she made a few appearances in his concert films. Additionally, the couple reportedly traveled back and forth between Meat Loaf’s home state of Texas and Los Angeles.

Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!