Jack White marries Olivia Jean on stage at the Detroit tour opener


Jack White’s to-do list was packed on Friday: release a new album. Sing the national anthem for the Detroit Tigers opening day. Self-guided tour in Detroit. Get married during the encore.

The rocker married Olivia Jean, a singer from his Third Man label who had served earlier in the evening as the opening act for his concert, on stage at the Masonic Temple Theater, a historic venue in the common hometown of the couple. The surprise marriage proposal itself had come minutes earlier, in the middle of a rendition of “Hotel Yorba.”

Third Man’s best man Ben Swank presided over the nuptials, at which bass players White and Jean served as best man and bridesmaid.

By account of Detroit Free Press Headlining writer Brian McCollum was 80 minutes into his set performing “Hotel Yorba,” on which he had brought Jean on stage to sing background vocals, when the show took a detour. White introduced her as his girlfriend and said, “And I love her very much”, an unusual PDA for White, even though things were about to get more unusual.

The song has a lyric, “Let’s get married”, the approach of which was White’s cue to have the group drop out and ask his assistant to start filming the proceedings on a cellphone.

“I have a quick question for you, Olivia Jean. Will you marry me?” he said. After “signalling a gushing yes, his face streaked with tears,” as McCollum put it, they finished the White Stripes’ signature number — with White picking it up with a jubilant reading of that “Let’s get married” line – and he carried his fiancé offstage.

Minutes later, they returned to the stage for an encore that included a wedding ceremony, which White’s mother, Theresa Gillis, was said to be in attendance for.

Fan footage of the nuptials is sparse, as White has been a longtime proud supporter of requiring fans to have their phones locked in Yondr pouches at his concerts, but fans have sneaked a video of the proposal. Her website uploaded photos from the Detroit show (including the one at the top of this story), as always, but none including the new bride.

This is the third marriage for White, who was previously married to White Stripes drummer Meg White and model Karen Elson, who also recorded for Third Man.

Jean has a long history on White’s label: a solo album with his band, the Black Belles, was released in 2011, followed by two solo efforts for Third Man, the most recent of which was 2019’s “Night Owl.”

White Friday’s busy day began with the official release of his new solo album, “Fear of the Dawn”, which Variety said in a review, “White’s latest album is exciting enough to almost make up for how unexciting most of the rest of rock ‘n’ roll is right now.” (See the full review here.)

His release date for the album coincided perfectly with what turned out to be the late season opener for his beloved Detroit Tigers, with the famous baseball fanatic wearing a team jersey at Comerica Park. Lest anyone worry about whether White could hit the notes as well as Whitney Houston, he performed the tune as a slide guitar-based instrument with his touring band (see video below).

“God bless you Detroit,” fans reported, saying White at the end of Friday’s show. “What a day.”

Any honeymoon might have to wait a while, as White’s Supply Chain Issues tour continues until May 1, although there is a gap of several weeks before it resumes on May 23. Jean is also set to open for the next two shows, again tonight in Detroit and then Sunday in Grand Rapids, though what they will do for an encore at that encore remains to be seen.

Musician Jack White performs the national anthem before the first inning of a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


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