Married to John McEnroe for nearly a quarter-century, Patty Smyth might deserve a medal. Her spouse would probably agree, but their relationship probably doesn't come as hard to her, one who fronted a rock band, as some might think. One with that mindset knows how to give orders and take no tomfoolery. Besides, as she told NPR recently, she's actually the "hothead" of the pair.

She also knows how to give great answers. In a new Q&A with The New York Times, Smyth, one-time frontwoman for the band Scandal, dishes on everything from her new-in-2020 solo album to quarantine, McEnroe's increased guitar prowess to how he still eats healthy 26 years after retiring from pro tennis.

That is, perhaps, Thanksgiving aside—as with so many of us.


Smyth's new album, her first solo effort in 28 years, arrived in October. Titled It's About Time, it probably could have borne a parenthetical extension of that, and perhaps (... COVID-19 Got Gone) would have worked. But Smyth, a Brooklyn native, knows how to patch together some work, and a game plan, in trying times.

From the NPR conversation ("My husband is a big jammer. ... Him and his friend jam like three or four times a week. So I sit in ...") to the Times chat, Smyth tells of how her husband has excelled, probably to the surprise of few who know a once-and-always tennis star's work ethic, during 2020's downtime.

"John has gotten way better on guitar in quarantine," Smyth practically gushes. "He’s spent a lot of time practicing. Practice makes everyone better. We’ve been playing more at home together, and if he’s in the area when I’m doing a show he’ll come out and do a couple of songs. He’s a musical encyclopedia."

From tinkering with music together to playful "he said, she said" sit-downs, the two get in their good-natured licks.

As to how she and McEnroe have stayed together over the years, as two people, let alone two famous types, Smyth didn't have a ready answer for NPR in October. She had obviously picked at it since then, when talking to the Times, saying of quaran-time in their Malibu, California, home: "My husband didn’t leave for about six or seven months. That was the longest time he hadn’t been on a plane since he was 16 or 17. Now he’s here with me. I think if you want to stay married, you better do things together. That’s the secret sauce."


One of those activities to do jointly: Vote. A second: Attend fancy-pants Halloween parties (in yesteryears; this year, online) with the likes of a fully bedecked Bette Midler.


Thus we re-learn the lesson again: Whether it's cobbling together a gobble-tastic Thanksgiving with family or participating in fundraising fetes, celebrities both are—and are not at all—just like us.