Elaine Irwin: From Supermodel to Rockstar Wife and Beyond

Before her marriage to rockstar John Mellencamp, Elaine Irwin was a successful American model who had graced dozens of magazine covers. 

Born on August 26, 1969, in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, Irwin left home at 16 to pursue a modelling career and was quickly discovered by photographer Paul Pelak and his wife Margaret while enrolled at John Casablancas in 1985. Soon she was signed by Ford Models and featured on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Self and Elite, and walked the runway for Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein. 

Irwin met Mellencamp on the set of his “Get A Leg Up” video and got hitched the following year at a cabin near the rockstar’s hometown of Seymour, Indiana. In a marriage that was Mellencamp’s third and Irwin’s first, the couple welcomed two sons, Hud and Speck, and lived in their abode in Lake Monroe, Indiana.

However, after 18 long years of marriage, Mellencamp filed for a divorce from his then-wife in 2011, terming the relationship as “irretrievably broken.” 

“The only thing certain in life is change itself,” the mother of two told GlobalGrind.com“Change is good, some would say it is our greatest teacher, and I am embracing it.”

The couple negotiated “an amicable settlement of all issues involving property and maintenance rights, the custody and support of their children, and all other issues,” according to the settlement agreement.

Post her failed marriage with the music star, Irwin found love in publishing entrepreneur Jay Penske in 2012. The couple which is still married welcomed a daughter a year later.

 “I had no idea how much fun it would be to have a girl,” Irwin told Issu. “It’s good to have things that you do outside of your home, and it’s good to have a lot of investment in how you raise your kids. I’m trying to spend time and enjoy my little one. I love that part of my life.”

The 52-year-old does occasionally still model, posing for her good friend Sheryl Lowe’s jewelry campaign in 2020. One thing Irwin is done with social media. She decided to take a break from Instagram in December 2020 and hasn’t posted anything since. “I have so much more time with my day. It’s very liberating,” she explained.

As for Mellencamp, rumours of him dating actress Meg Ryan at the time of his divorce from Irwin had gone viral and the duo went on to split and date again even getting engaged in 2018. They finally broke up in 2019.

Well, since then though he hasn’t gotten married again, he has dated quite a bit. During his break with Ryan, he dated supermodel Christie Brinkley for a brief period. 

According to People, in 2020, Mellencamp did some quarantining in his Indiana home with Hollywood nurse and celebrity skin expert Jamie Sherrill. That relationship was over soon after the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve 2021. Then, the Heartland rock star took up with realtor and Santa Barbara native Natasha Barrett.