Ann Wilson is speaking out about the family drama that has caused an eight-month estrangement from her sister and Heart bandmate, Nancy Wilson. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ann said the incident involving her husband, Dean Wetter, and Nancy’s twin teen sons on a tour bus last summer was “overblown,” and now it has grown “this other head.”
Last August, Ann Wilson’s husband was arrested for physically attacking Nancy’s 16-year-old sons, her kids with ex-husband Cameron Crowe, while Heart performed a show in Auburn, Washington. Wetter reportedly became enraged when one of Nancy’s kids left a tour bus door open after he asked them to keep it closed so his dogs wouldn’t get out.
Court documents obtained by Rolling Stone included a police report that revealed Ann’s husband reportedly “became immediately upset” and began calling one of the teens names before slapping him on the back of the head and punching him with a closed fist. After Wetter allegedly grabbed the boy by the throat, Nancy Wilson’s other son intervened and their uncle reportedly turned on him by squeezing his throat to the point that he could not breathe. Ann Wilson’s husband was arrested and charged with two counts of assault, one felony, and one misdemeanor.
While she was upset over the attack on her nephews, Ann Wilson said she feels that calling the police was “totally unnecessary.” Ann told Rolling Stone the issue could have “been worked out in a family meeting, but instead, it just went ballistic.”
Ann Wilson married her husband in 2015, more than 30 years after they first met, and she says her sister “never really understood him.”
“That had a lot to do with what happened,” Ann told Rolling Stone. “He was demonized before we even got married because he’s a free spirit. He’s completely blunt and honest and open. He holds nothing in reserve and that puts people off right there.”
“He was demonized before we even got married because he’s a free spirit. He’s completely blunt and honest and open. He holds nothing in reserve and that puts people off right there.”
Nancy Wilson said her brother-in-law is “one of those crankpots and he’ll kind of mouth off about kids.” The rock goddess said she has no interest in seeing him again anytime soon, and she threw shade at her sister Ann for attempting to apologize for her husband’s actions — especially since Wetter himself has not yet apologized to her or her sons.
“Ann came up on my bus [after the incident] and said, ‘I guess Dean must have touched the children, and he’s sorry, but he had to lie down and take a nap,'” Nancy Wilson revealed. “I don’t think it was very cool of her to have to try to apologize and cover for him.”
Ann Wilson claims her husband did try to apologize immediately after the assault, but “it was a scene where everyone in the Heart camp was sitting around” and no one would listen.
While Wetter had a short jail stint immediately following the incident, Ann and Nancy struggled through 20 more shows together, with Ann describing them as “complete hell.” The once-close sisters insisted on separate dressing rooms, something they have never done since first hitting the road together in the 1960s.
Ann and Nancy Wilson have not seen each other since Heart’s final show last October and they currently communicate only by text, but they are both hoping for reconciliation. Unfortunately, the singing sisters are still not on the same page regarding the assault or the aftermath.
Ann Wilson stands by the assumption that her husband “was really provoked,” and says that when her sister can “look around and see that everything really is OK and that her boys were scared, but not hurt, harmed or even marked” then they can all get back together as a family. Ann added that she thinks the family should go to counseling. But Nancy Wilson says it’s not that simple.
“As much as my sister would have liked to solve this as a family matter, it is categorically against the law not to report any violence against minors,” Wilson said in a statement. “The parents could face serious charges for not reporting.”
While the assault has hurt the sisters’ relationship and Heart as a whole, Ann Wilson also revealed that she and Nancy haven’t had “a shared vision” for what they want for Heart for the past several years.
“We didn’t want to see ourselves as an old, has-been legacy band just going out again and again to make the big bucks,” Ann said. “I saw that happening the last couple of years more and more. [Nancy] has a vision of playing the same old meat-and-potatoes set in Europe. It can just go on forever.”
Ann Wilson says the wounds have to heal before they can think about Heart, although she clarifies that the band is not officially broken up. “I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘temporary hiatus,'” Ann said of Heart’s current status. “I would say it’s a hiatus.”
As for Nancy Wilson, she’s ready to find out from Ann “if we’ve still got Heart.”
“I feel pretty positive that we do, but it’s been impossible to know that for a long time now,” Wilson said.
Earlier this month, Nancy Wilson told Billboard she had been hoping for a European summer tour with Heart, but her sister Ann wanted to “go in another direction.” Nancy also revealed that the matter with her sons is “still sorting itself out legally” and personally.
“When something like that happens inside a really tight family, it’s really scarring for everyone involved,” Wilson told Billboard. “There’s a lot of victims besides my own kids in the scenario. I think that’s part of the reason Ann wanted to take another direction, until that stuff’s more resolved. I hope it can [be resolved] and I think it will…I’m hoping for Heart to come back, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for that.”
Check out the video below to see Ann and Nancy Wilson performing together in happier times.
[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]