Eric Clapton, an iconic figure in the music world, has captivated audiences for decades with his remarkable guitar playing and songwriting skills. His personal life, though, has faced a range of emotions, particularly when it comes to family.
Clapton has fathered five children over the years. His first marriage to Pattie Boyd did not result in any children, but his subsequent relationships brought the joys and tribulations of fatherhood into his life.
It’s a blend of both heartwarming moments and tragic losses that mark Clapton’s journey as a parent. Alongside his current wife Melia McEnery, Clapton has three daughters: Julie Rose, Ella May, and Sophie Belle. There’s also Ruth Kelly, his eldest daughter from a previous relationship.
The story of his children takes a sorrowful turn with his son Conor, who tragically passed away at a young age, a loss that profoundly affected Clapton and inspired one of his most poignant songs, “Tears in Heaven.”
Key Takeaways on How Many Children Does Eric Clapton Have?
- Eric Clapton is a father to five children, his parental experiences mingling joy and tragedy.
- Three daughters with his current wife and an older daughter from a previous relationship comprise his immediate family.
- The loss of his son Conor influenced his music and personal life deeply.
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Eric Clapton’s Early Years and Musical Beginnings
Eric Clapton emerged as a prominent and influential rock guitarist, beginning his illustrious career with bands like The Yardbirds and Cream before carving out a successful solo career.
Rise to Fame with the Yardbirds and Cream
Eric Clapton joined The Yardbirds in 1963, an English blues rock band, showcasing his burgeoning talent as a guitarist. The band’s single “For Your Love” became a major hit, but Clapton’s devotion to blues led him to depart for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, where his guitar work on the “Beano” album cemented his status as a guitar icon.
He left the Bluesbreakers in 1966 and formed Cream with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Cream was a powerhouse trio that elevated Clapton’s stardom, defined by virtuosic guitar solos and extended jams in songs like “Crossroads.”
Solo Career and Formation of Derek and the Dominos
Following Cream’s dissolution in 1968 and a brief stint with Blind Faith, Clapton embarked on a solo career. By 1970, he formed Derek and the Dominos with keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, and drummer Jim Gordon.
Their album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” achieved critical acclaim, particularly the title track “Layla,” which was inspired by Clapton’s then-unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, wife of Beatles guitarist George Harrison. Throughout the 1970s, Clapton’s solo career accelerated with hits like “I Shot the Sheriff,” and his 1977 album “Slowhand” further solidified his legacy as a premier rock and blues artist.
Personal Life and Relationships
Eric Clapton’s personal life has been as eventful as his music career. The renowned guitarist’s relationships and familial ties have shaped his life, from his marriages to being a father, which in turn has influenced his music.
Marriages to Pattie Boyd and Melia McEnery
Eric Clapton was first married to Pattie Boyd, an English model, in 1979. The song “Layla,” which Clapton wrote, was reportedly inspired by his love for her. Boyd was previously married to George Harrison, making their relationship a subject of public intrigue. Despite their marriage, Clapton and Boyd did not have children together, and they divorced in 1988.
His second marriage was to Melia McEnery, a graphic artist from Ohio. Clapton married McEnery in 2002 in a low-key ceremony at a church in Surrey. Together, they have three daughters: Julie Rose, Ella Mae, and Sophie Belle. For Clapton, his family life with McEnery has been kept relatively private, away from the media spotlight.
Relationship with Lory Del Santo and Yvonne Kelly
Outside his marriages, Eric Clapton had a relationship with Italian model Lory Del Santo, who is the mother of his late son, Conor. Tragically, Conor’s death at a young age inspired the hit song “Tears in Heaven.” Clapton’s relationship with Lory Del Santo was much discussed in the media due to the tragic circumstances surrounding their son.
Additionally, he had a daughter, Ruth, with Yvonne Kelly, a recording studio manager in Montserrat. Their affair occurred while both had other partners and Ruth’s existence was kept from the public initially.
Clapton’s family life has had its complex dynamics, but he has made considerable efforts to be involved in his children’s lives. He also founded the Crossroads Centre, a drug treatment facility, reflecting his commitment to giving back and helping others with battles he’s familiar with firsthand.
Eric Clapton’s Children and Family
Eric Clapton, the celebrated British guitarist and songwriter, has five children. His family life has been marked by both tragic and joyful events, influencing his music and personal story.
His Son Conor and the Impact on His Music
Eric Clapton’s son Conor, born in 1986 to Italian actress Lori Del Santo and Clapton, tragically passed away at four years old after falling from a New York City apartment building.
This event led to the creation of the hit song “Tears in Heaven,” which reflects the immense grief and loss Clapton experienced. Conor’s death had a profound impact on Clapton’s life, leading him to publicly share his struggles and seek solace through his music.
His Daughters and Ongoing Family Life
Eric Clapton’s family expanded with the birth of his daughters: Julie Rose (born 2001), Ella May (born 2003), and Sophie Belle (born 2005). They are Clapton’s children with his second wife, Melia McEnery. Clapton also has another daughter from a previous relationship, Ruth Kelly Clapton (born 1985). His relationship with his daughters has been more private, but it’s clear they are a central part of his ongoing family life.
Clapton’s eldest daughter Ruth gave birth to Isaac Eric Owen Bartlett, bringing a new generation into the family. With their residence in Ripley, Surrey, the Claptons maintain a family environment away from the public eye, allowing them to foster personal relationships and share experiences away from the spotlight.
Philanthropy and Current Projects
Eric Clapton’s dedication to philanthropy, particularly through the Crossroads Centre, is a testament to his commitment to social causes. His contributions to music education also reflect his passion for fostering new talent in the industry.
Involvement with Crossroads Centre and Music Education
Eric Clapton founded the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a facility that has been instrumental in providing treatment and education about addiction. Established in 1998, the centre offers therapeutic recovery programs, and Clapton’s involvement has been pivotal in its ongoing success. The centre embodies his commitment to assist others in overcoming personal struggles, akin to those he faced earlier in his life.
His altruism extends to the realm of music education. Clapton’s guitar work and musicianship are celebrated in his solo career, inspiring many up-and-coming guitarists. Recognizing the importance of nurturing talent, he has been active in supporting music programs and education initiatives.
For example, proceeds from his festivals and concerts, like the Crossroads Guitar Festival, have often benefitted the Crossroads Centre and music education programs.
Eric Clapton’s personal experiences, such as the tragic accident in New York City involving his son and his struggles with health issues like tinnitus, have influenced his philanthropic approach. Despite these challenges, he remains forward-looking in his charity efforts, frequently leveraging his public presence for fundraising events in Surrey, Hyde Park, and beyond.
Clapton’s private life, including his family with children such as Isaac Eric Owen and Dean Bartlett, has remained relatively guarded, yet his public commitment to charitable causes continues to shine through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eric Clapton’s family has drawn public attention not only due to his legendary status in music but also because of personal tragedies and joyous milestones. This section addresses some common queries surrounding his familial life.
What is the total number of children Eric Clapton has fathered?
Eric Clapton has fathered five children. His family includes children from different relationships over the years.
Can you detail the tragic event involving one of Eric Clapton’s children?
One of Eric Clapton’s children, his son Conor, tragically died in 1991 at the age of four after falling out of a New York apartment building.
Has Eric Clapton had any children with his former partner Pattie Boyd?
Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd did not have any children together during their marriage.
Who are Eric Clapton’s daughters?
Eric Clapton’s daughters with his current wife Melia McEnery are Julie Rose, Ella Mae, and Sophie. He also has a daughter named Ruth from a previous relationship.
How many times has Eric Clapton been married, and does that relate to his family size?
Eric Clapton has been married twice, and his marriages have indeed influenced his family size, with all his children being born during or outside these marriages.
Is Eric Clapton currently in a relationship, and does he have children with his current partner?
Eric Clapton is currently married to Melia McEnery, with whom he has three daughters. They have been married since 2002 and their relationship has been a significant part of his family life.
My name is Howard Matthews and I have been playing the guitar since I was knee-high. My parents like to joke that I was pulling the strings even before I was born. In fact, one of my earliest memories is sitting on the couch with my dad’s guitar, wreaking havoc on the chords.
Now, 40 years later, I can attest that I play them much better than I did back then. I have followed in the footsteps of both my parents – much to their delight – and have been the main guitarist in my band for the best part of three decades.
Music has always been my passion, and until recently my life has been so consumed with it that I haven’t had a moment to have a breath (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)!