Stevie Nicks Supported Christine McVie’s Exit From Fleetwood Mac: ‘Pack Your Bags and Go Home’

After decades of performing with the band, one of Fleetwood Mac’s two female members, Christine McVie, decided to retire. Though she eventually returned after a 16-year hiatus, her exit initially seemed permanent. Her bandmate and close friend Stevie Nicks explained that she was completely supportive of McVie’s decision, even though she was relieved when the lengthy hiatus ended.

A black and white photo of Stevie Nicks embracing Christine McVie from behind.
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks | Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie became close friends while in Fleetwood Mac

After McVie helped welcome Nicks into Fleetwood Mac, the two became fast friends. They stuck together, particularly when the band dynamic soured after both woman’s breakups. They helped each other navigate the primarily male-dominated world of rock and roll.

“Christine [McVie] and I were a force of nature,” Nicks told NME. “In the first two months I was in the band, Chris and I made a pact that we would never be in a room full of famous English or American guitar players and be treated like second class citizens.”

According to Harper’s Bazaar, Nicks is grateful for McVie, referring to her as a “mentor, sister, and best friend.”

Nicks fully supported McVie’s exit from the band

Given the closeness of their relationship, it was difficult for Nicks when McVie chose to exit the band in 1998. She had been dealing with anxiety related to flying, something that made international tours nearly impossible. Because of this, she chose to retire and move home to England. Nicks was supportive of this decision.

“I understood why,” she told Vulture. “I understood that in her heart of hearts, she could not do it anymore. There were reasons … she was having panic attacks. She was getting to be afraid to fly. There’s nothing worse than being afraid to fly. I understood that she needed to go home.”

Nicks said that she personally gave McVie her blessing to leave the band.

“I love Chris, and she was my best friend for 30 years,” she said. “So when your best friend looks at you, in your eyes, and says, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ you just have to let her go. And I did. I said, ‘Christine, pack your bags and go home. We’ll be fine. It’s not your responsibility to stay in this band for the rest of your life. It’s your responsibility to be true to yourself. You’ve done a great job. You’ve been in a band with Mick [Fleetwood] and John [McVie] for five years before Lindsey [Buckingham] and I even came along. So you’ve paid your dues. Go home.’”

Stevie Nicks was thrilled when Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac

Though Nicks gave her wholehearted blessing for McVie to leave, she said she was relieved when McVie returned after 16 years.

“When we went on the road, I realized what an amazing friend she’d been of mine that I had lost and didn’t realize the whole consequences of it till now,” Nicks told the Star Tribune. “She brings the funny back into Fleetwood Mac. Before, it was just a boys’ club. With her back, there’s more of a feminine touch to the whole thing. I never want her to ever go out of my life again, and that has nothing to do with music and everything to do with her and I as friends.”

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