Steven Van Zandt Jokes That the Key to His Successful 40-Year Marriage with Maureen Is 'Staying Apart' (Exclusive) 

They say behind every great man is a great woman — and in Steven Van Zandt's case, that's his wife Maureen

Published Time: 01.07.2024 - 17:31:04 Modified Time: 01.07.2024 - 17:31:04

They say behind every great man is a great woman — and in Steven Van Zandt's case, that's his wife Maureen.

In the HBO documentaryStevie Van Zandt: Disciple, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival on June 8, fans will get an inside look at the E Street Band member's marriage to Maureen.

Speaking to PEOPLE, the rocker, 73, revealed the key to keeping their relationship strong after 40 years of marriage.

"As I often say, the key to staying together is stay apart. We've been together, God, what is it now, 40-plus years and probably have spent about 10 years of that together out of the 40, because I'm always on the road. So, you go home, and it's always new again," the "Men Without Women" singer says.

While Steven was out on the road, Maureen, 72, who's an actor and a former ballerina, kept busy with her own projects.

"I think there is something to keeping one's own identity. She's a very, very strong person. She has a theater company. She's the real actor in the family. She's the real thing. Aside from her literary knowledge, she teaches acting to American Ballet Theater. She was a ballet dancer," he says.

He continues, "I think finding a way to keep one's identity and making sure that one plus one equals three rather than one plus one equals one-and-a-half, which you see all the time in relationships where people just start to lose their identity and compromise it in ord -

er to get along."

Neither of them compromise very well, Steven admits. Though after all these years, they've managed to make it work.

"I think with some boundaries, if you will, allowing the other one to have their very strong identity and coming together and finding the common ground. We have both. That's the key," he says.

Steven and Maureen married on Dec. 31, 1982 in New York City and Bruce Springsteen was his best man, Little Richard was the minister and Percy Sledge sang "When a Man Loves a Woman."

"I just wanted to reflect their love. I never fail to be moved when Stevie's singing the song to Maureen at the end," Director Bill Teck adds of capturing their love story in the documentary. "It's inspiring to me as a man and as a person in a relationship, as a human being, I should say, and as a person in a relationship, the commitment and the love and how present those two are for each other, how protective they are of each other. So, I was very honored and moved that we were able to bring that off."

In the documentary, Steven recounts the moment he met Maureen — who also played his onscreen wife on The Sopranos — and says he went "nuts" before convincing her to go out with him "like a year later."

“She rocked my world as they say," he said. "I’m very grateful to her for that."

Springsteen added, "Once Steve met Maureen that was it."

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