Heart: Can Ann and Nancy Wilson Go on After Family Assault? (2022)

“The cops were called, which I thought was totally unnecessary,” Heart‘s Ann Wilson says last month by phone from Colorado. “It was something that could have been worked out in a family meeting, but instead, it just went ballistic. I think it was overblown and just grew this other head. My gut reaction [after I found out what happened] was, ‘Let’s get everybody in a room and hash it out.’ All the emotional, super hyper-drama could have been avoided in the first hour.”

On August 26th, 2016, Heart performed at Auburn, Washington’s White River Amphitheatre, 30 minutes from where Ann and sister Nancy grew up near Seattle. With the families of both members backstage, it was supposed to be a celebratory homecoming show for the Hall of Fame duo in the midst of their U.S. tour.

But as the band began their last song onstage – a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready – a different scene was emerging backstage shortly after midnight. Nancy’s then-16-year-old twin sons asked their uncle, Ann’s husband Dean Wetter, if they could see Ann’s new tour bus. Wetter brought the teenagers and Nancy’s stepdaughter to the vehicle, but asked them to keep the door closed so the dogs on the bus couldn’t escape. When the twins exited the bus after the visit, the first one out left the door open for the other two behind him, enraging Wetter.

According to a detective’s report in court documents obtained by Rolling Stone, “Dean became immediately upset and began calling [one of the teens] names … slap[ping] him on the back of the head, causing pain.” The teen asked why he hit him, with Wetter responding by “punching [the teenager] in the back of the head with a closed fist, causing [him] to be stunned and see stars.” After Wetter grabbed him by the throat, Nancy’s other son intervened. Wetter grabbed the other teen by the throat and, according to a police report, began “squeezing [the other son’s throat] to the point that [he] could not breathe. [He] said that he was unable to breathe or talk and that he feared for his life and felt pain in his neck.” Police arrested the then-66-year-old Wetter, charging him with two counts of assault, one felony and one misdemeanor.

“We just have to get through this first. It’s been kind of a nightmare.” –Nancy Wilson

(Video) Ann & Nancy Wilson Have Lost The Concept of Heart

On March 9th, Wetter pleaded guilty to two non-felony assault charges in the fourth degree. And while he won’t officially be sentenced until April 14th, all parties have agreed to a plea that will allow him to avoid jail time in lieu of two years unsupervised probation, individual counseling, group therapy, a ban on any alcohol or drugs, $3,000 restitution and no contact with Nancy Wilson’s two sons. (When asked for comment, a rep for Wetter replied, “Dean is not available for this article.”)

While Wetter admitted to police that he hit the teenagers on the night of the assault – “He said that he lost it with them and that he should not have touched them,” police wrote in their report – the aftermath is murkier; a Rashomon-like she-said/she-said that has threatened to upend the future and legacy of one of rock & roll’s most successful bands.

Wetter first appeared in the sisters’ lives in the 1980s on a blind date with Ann that Nancy, ironically, had set up. The pair went out for sushi and sake, with the night, and brief courtship, ending with Ann’s unsuccessful sexual advances. “He drove me home and I really put the make on him,” Ann says. “And he didn’t want to go there. He’s a super intellectual, brainy, complex, sensitive guy. And that’s not how he rolls, so he declined.”

Heart: Can Ann and Nancy Wilson Go on After Family Assault? (1)

The two reconnected three decades later while Wilson was on a promotional tour for the sisters’ autobiography Kicking and Dreaming and married in 2015. “We’ve been inseparable for two years now, 24/7,” Ann says. “He’s such a different animal from anyone else who’s ever come into our family that [Nancy] never really understood him. And that had a lot to do with what happened. 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. People take it personally.”

But one woman’s “free spirit” is, to quote Nancy’s description, another’s “oddball.” “He’s hard to know,” Nancy says of Wetter. “We were really trying to get to know the guy and it takes time to know anyone. He’s one of those crankpots and he’ll kind of mouth off about kids. What I didn’t know is that he’s a guy that had some issues that really came between me and wanting to see him anytime soon.”

(Video) Husband of Heart’s Ann Wilson Sentenced for Assault on Sister Nancy’s Children

Nancy says she hasn’t had any contact with Wetter since the assault, due in part to, according to her, Wetter never trying to apologize. “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,'” she says. “And I’m like, ‘What? That makes no sense.’ I don’t think it was very cool of her to have to try to apologize and cover for him. I thought if he was an adult all by himself, he would face it and come and say he was sorry and try to explain the behavior, but that’s never, ever happened.”

But Ann claims Wetter wanted to apologize, but wasn’t welcome. “When I came offstage and Dean told me what had happened, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Go over onto Nancy’s bus and clear the way because I want to come on there and apologize and talk to them,'” Ann says. “I went over on Nancy’s bus and it was a scene where everyone in the Heart camp was sitting around. Everybody was all upset … and they wouldn’t listen. They wouldn’t listen.”

“My side really hurt her side. Her side really hurt my side. We’ve got to let those heal and get some counseling.” –Ann Wilson

According to Ann, Wetter spent the ensuing three or four days after the incident in a jail cell as the band continued their U.S. tour. They managed to finish the tour, performing 20 more shows – Nancy calls them “excruciating”; Ann, “complete hell” – with the sisters, for the first time in their 43-year career, opting for separate dressing rooms and only communicating via third parties. Nancy considered walking away from the rest of the tour, requesting that Wetter not be allowed backstage, close to the stage or near her children.

The Wilson sisters have not been in the same room since Heart’s final show of the tour last October – Nancy describes the relationship now as “pretty strained” – though they occasionally talk via text message. The assault put Ann in an unenviable scenario:Defend your husband or defend your sister.

“I’m a person who is completely authentic in my love for my husband and understanding of him,” Ann says. “I know him and I know he was really provoked. And it was wrong for him to get into it, but I think he’s a person of extremely high moral fiber. It was just totally unfortunate all around.”

(Video) Ann and Nancy Wilson on The Talk

“I’m an eternal optimist because I’m from a really strong, tight family, and I don’t think any drama that’s temporary is going to change our strong relationship,” says Nancy. “We just have to get through this first. It’s been kind of a nightmare.”

Ann agrees with the sentiment, but adds that Nancy “feels Dean is a monster and is always on the attack.” “Dean is a Zen warrior; he’s not a fighter,” she says. “That was a really unfortunate situation that gave everyone the wrong impression about this guy. If she can look around and see that everything really is OK and that her boys were scared, but not hurt, harmed or even marked, then we’ll get back together as a family.” (In a statement released after the publication of this story, Nancy said, “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. The parents could face serious charges for not reporting.”)

According to Ann, while the assault became the most extreme division between the sisters in recent years, it wasn’t the first. As of a couple years ago, Ann says, “We no longer had a shared vision for what we wanted for Heart.”

“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,” she says. “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. I just wanted to not call it a static thing that’s going to ride down into obscurity without at least trying to evolve. I don’t mean to say she’s wrong.” She pauses, as if searching for the perfect words. “We just differ, that’s all.” (Nancy disputes the idea of being a “mindless jukebox spewing out old hits,” but admits to a desire to “get
some new territory under our belts” alongside playing European and U.S. festival dates.)

“We just don’t need the high school drama swirling around the camp. We just need to talk to each other.” –Nancy Wilson

After the ill-fated tour, Ann and Wetter, feeling like “pariahs” on the West Coast, moved to Florida for four months. It was Ann’s first long stretch of free time in a decade and she says, despite the circumstances that led to her relocation, she’s happy to not have “Heart hanging in my future like a deadline.” “Nancy and I love each other,” she says. “We want to be friends. My side really hurt her side. Her side really hurt my side. We’ve got to let those heal and get some counseling.” In January, Ann announced a U.S. tour billed as “Ann Wilson of Heart”that continues into July.

(Video) Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart on Musicians 2002

The business of Heart, and its lucrative future touring plans, has effectively ceased since last year. “I’ve had no livelihood for a really long time now,” admits Nancy, who formed new band Roadcase Royale with Prince protégés Liv Warfield and Ryan Waters and current Heart members Chris Joyner, Dan Rothchild and Ben Smith. Warfield, whose commanding, soulful voice and R&B background complements Nancy’s rock and folk roots, opened for Heart in Los Angeles, and the band subsequently spent four days at the end of 2016 recording rough demos for their forthcoming EP.

Nancy says the band employs the “Pearl Jam ethic,” relying on a democratic “art-by-committee” model to steer the music’s direction. The funky, nimble “Get Loud” (co-written by longtime Heart lyricist Sue Ennis) sits next to the dulcet, yet muscular, cover of former Men at Work singer Colin Hay’s “Hold on to My Hand.”

But the EP’s most emotionally wrenching song is “The Dragon,” an ode to Wilson’s friend and deceased Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley. Wilson originally wrote the song –a dark, tense track that shifts between mellow acoustic guitars and a grinding grunge-like hook –in the mid-Nineties after watching Staley struggle with heroin addiction. “I saw such a beautiful band of brothers suffering and limping like walking wounded,” she says of Alice in Chains. “They couldn’t even do their music hardly anymore and it was such a sad thing that I wanted to write that.”

In an interview last month, Ann referred to Heart as being on a “temporary hiatus.” Asked if that is still accurate, she removes a key word. “I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘temporary hiatus.’ I would say it’s a hiatus,” she says, laughing. “We don’t need that little qualification right there.”

Still, both sisters insist the group hasn’t broken up. “I do see a positive way forward and that’s our friendship,” Ann says. “Nancy and I didn’t do this thing. We are each other’s friends and have been and will after this. Right now, we’re supporting each of our families. Nobody in this situation is evil. We have to be like trees that grow around the little imperfections.”

For Nancy, who appears to be the more optimistic of the two sisters, the “victory lap I was hoping to have this summer” is on hold, perhaps indefinitely, until “feelings all settle down and people can just be adults and talk to each other.”

(Video) Big Trouble In Heart - Ann's Husband Sentenced For Choking Nancy's Kids

“If [Dean] makes [Ann] happy, then I’m really glad for her,” she says. “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s been freaky and more negative than it needed to be, but I’m willing and ready to humanize it all and get back into a dialogue, with Ann in particular, about 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.

“It’s so unnecessarily competitive and those are the kind of destructive behaviors that harm big, positive relationships like me and Ann’s,” she adds. “I just know in my gut that me and Ann are going to be fine. We love each other and we’ve weathered all kinds of stuff in the past together no one would ever imagine and this is just one of those things. We just don’t need the high school drama swirling around the camp. We just need to talk to each other.”

FAQs

Are Ann and Nancy Wilson mad at each other? ›

Ann Wilson has given Classic Rock an update on the status of her relationship with sister and fellow Heart founder, Nancy Wilson. In a new interview in the 300th issue of Classic Rock, Ann addresses rumours that she's been feuding with her younger sister. "We're not." she says. "It's a myth.

How old are Ann and Nancy from Heart? ›

Who is Ann Wilson's father? ›

How old is Ann Wilson Heart? ›

Will Heart get back together? ›

Ann and Nancy began focusing on other projects before reuniting in 2019 for another summer tour. Heart has yet to get back together since the pandemic. Nancy revealed this past winter that she would not be touring with her sister this year because they can't agree on who should be in Heart's live band.

Does Heart reunite? ›

Sisters will reunite in 2023. Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are planning to celebrate Heart's 50th anniversary in 2023. Ann shared the news in an interview with GRAMMY.com when she was asked about the big anniversary. “Yes we do.

What happened to Ann and Nancy Wilson? ›

In a new interview with Classic Rock (opens in new tab), the Heart vocalist addressed rumors of a conflict between her and Nancy, saying that although the pair are “okay with each other”, there is “a real split” between them. “We're not,” replied Wilson when asked if she and her sister were feuding. “It's a myth.

How did Ann Wilson lose weight? ›

Her solution was weight loss surgery - not the gastric bypass made famous by singer Carnie Wilson and weatherman Al Roker - but a new, much less drastic procedure called lap band surgery. Correspondent Troy Roberts reports. Ann's struggle with her weight began as a child.

Are Heart sisters? ›

Heart disbanded in 1998, though they have resumed touring and recording multiple times since then, with the Wilson sisters being the only consistent members.
...
Heart (band)
Heart
GenresRock hard rock folk rock pop rock glam metal
Years active1967–1998, 2002–2016, 2019–present
11 more rows

What is Ann Wilson's vocal range? ›

A master of voice manipulation and a range that covers over three octaves, Wilson is the perfect rock singer.

How many children does Ann Wilson of Heart have? ›

Personal Life: Ann Wilson lives in Seattle, Washington. She is the mother of two adopted children; daughter Marie and son Dustin. She was in a relationship with Michael Fisher, the manager of Heart, during most of the '70s.

Who is Ann Wilson of Heart married to? ›

Why did the Heart sisters break up? ›

The sisters' relationship was briefly fractured in 2016, when Wilson's husband Dean Wetter assaulted Nancy's then-16-year-old sons during a Heart show, after the boys reportedly left a tour bus door open.

How much are the Heart Sisters worth? ›

Nancy Wilson is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer who has a net worth of $15 million. Wilson is perhaps best known for being the guitarist and backing vocalist in the rock band Heart, along with her older sister Ann.

Is Nancy Wilson a good guitar player? ›

Ranked as one of the greatest female guitarists of all time by Gibson, Nancy has proven her skills even to her own band members who were at first reluctant to include her in the band due to disbelief in her abilities.

Is Ann Wilson still in Heart? ›

Ann Wilson is writing songs for another solo album. There will be '"concerts through the end of September" and then she'll "concentrate on writing and recording" the solo album. After that she'll be concentrating on celebrating the 50th year of Heart in 2023.

Who is the new lead singer for Heart? ›

New band will hit the road

Nancy has tapped longtime guitarist Ryan Waters, drummer Ben Smith, bassist Andy Stoller and keyboardist Dan Walker as her band with Kimberly Nichole as her vocalist. Wilson explains to radio station 102.3 WBAB in New York why she's chosen to continue the Heart name without her sister.

Is Heart still together in 2022? ›

Unfortunately there are no concert dates for Heart scheduled in 2022.

Why are Ann and Nancy touring separately? ›

As previously reported, Nancy Wilson's Heart came to be after Nancy and Ann Wilson had a touring disagreement. “Heart had a big offer on the table last year for a bigger tour, but Ann wasn't interested in going out with my lineup of guys that we were out with before,” said Nancy.

How old is Nancy Wilson Heart? ›

Will the Heart tour 2023? ›

Heart's Ann Wilson has confirmed that she and her sister Nancy plan to reunite in 2023 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their band. Ann was asked about the upcoming milestone in a recent interview with Grammy.com.

What happened to Anne Wilsons brother? ›

Wilson's brother, Jacob, had been tragically killed in a car accident. He was only 23.

Why did Anne Wilson write my Jesus? ›

Through processing this life event and learning to worship through hardship, God led Anne on a different journey than she expected. He is giving her opportunity to share her story and to give hope and encouragement to others who are in difficult times. This experience also inspired Anne's song “My Jesus”.

Are Ann and Nancy Wilson touring together? ›

As a result, Ann has gone solo while Nancy has created the band Nancy Wilson's Heart. Both are going on tour this year. Ann Wilson of Heart will play venues across the U.S. on her 2022 tour to support her recently released “Fierce Bliss” album.

What is a lap band for weight loss? ›

Laparoscopic gastric banding is surgery to help with weight loss. The surgeon places a band around the upper part of your stomach to create a small pouch to hold food. The band limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food.

What denomination is Anne Wilson? ›

CCM Christian country

Where is Anne Wilson from? ›

Singer/songwriter Anne Wilson knows the healing power of music firsthand. The lyrics of Hillsong Worship's “What A Beautiful Name” became a lifeline for the Lexington, Kentucky native after her brother was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 23.

Are Ann and Nancy Wilson really sisters? ›

Nancy Wilson

How many Wilson sisters are there? ›

Backstage Stories

In the mid-'70s, two talented sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson became the forefront of Heart, a classic rock band originally formed by men. Ann was the first to join as the group's lead singer, and Nancy followed shortly after on the guitar.

Why did the Wilson sisters break up? ›

The sisters' relationship was briefly fractured in 2016, when Wilson's husband Dean Wetter assaulted Nancy's then-16-year-old sons during a Heart show, after the boys reportedly left a tour bus door open. (Wetter pleaded guilty to two non-felony assault charges.)

Did the Heart sisters break up? ›

In April 2017, both sisters said the band had not permanently disbanded with Ann saying they were simply on hiatus. In February 2019, Heart announced their hiatus had ended and they would embark on the Love Alive tour in the summer.

Are Ann and Nancy Wilson touring together? ›

As a result, Ann has gone solo while Nancy has created the band Nancy Wilson's Heart. Both are going on tour this year. Ann Wilson of Heart will play venues across the U.S. on her 2022 tour to support her recently released “Fierce Bliss” album.

How much are the Heart Sisters worth? ›

Nancy Wilson is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer who has a net worth of $15 million. Wilson is perhaps best known for being the guitarist and backing vocalist in the rock band Heart, along with her older sister Ann.

What is the feud between Ann and Nancy? ›

Tensions between Ann and Nancy Wilson seem to stem from an incident in 2016 where Ann's husband, Dean Wetter, was arrested after he assaulted Nancy's then 16-year-old twin sons backstage at a Heart show.

Why do hearts break up? ›

Things got real nasty between the Wilson sisters after Ann's husband, Dean Wetter, was arrested for assaulting Nancy's then-16-year-old twin sons in 2016. Wetter later pleaded guilty to two non-felony assault charges in the fourth degree, and then Heart announced its split in 2017.

Why did Anne Wilson write my Jesus? ›

Through processing this life event and learning to worship through hardship, God led Anne on a different journey than she expected. He is giving her opportunity to share her story and to give hope and encouragement to others who are in difficult times. This experience also inspired Anne's song “My Jesus”.

Who are the Heart sisters? ›

Ann Wilson first rose to fame in the 1970s as the lead singer for the rock band Heart. Her younger sister, Nancy Wilson, plays guitar in the band.

Is Ann Wilson still in Heart? ›

Ann Wilson is writing songs for another solo album. There will be '"concerts through the end of September" and then she'll "concentrate on writing and recording" the solo album. After that she'll be concentrating on celebrating the 50th year of Heart in 2023.

How old is Nancy Wilson Heart? ›

Is Ann Wilson touring with Heart? ›

Heart's Ann Wilson has confirmed that she and her sister Nancy plan to reunite in 2023 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their band.

Who is the new lead singer for Heart? ›

New band will hit the road

Nancy has tapped longtime guitarist Ryan Waters, drummer Ben Smith, bassist Andy Stoller and keyboardist Dan Walker as her band with Kimberly Nichole as her vocalist. Wilson explains to radio station 102.3 WBAB in New York why she's chosen to continue the Heart name without her sister.

Is Heart still together in 2022? ›

Unfortunately there are no concert dates for Heart scheduled in 2022.

How much does Billy Joel make for each MSG concert? ›

With his multi-year residencies in MSG, Joel earns at least $2 million per show. In fact, from 2014 to 2019, Joel collected a whopping $150 million. This also included his 2019 New Years show which garnered a lucrative $4.6 million.

How old is Stevie Nicks net worth? ›

Stevie Nicks Net Worth
Net Worth:$120 Million
Date of Birth:May 26, 1948 (74 years old)
Gender:Female
Height:5 ft 1 in (1.562 m)
Profession:Singer, Songwriter, Actor, Film Producer, Film director
1 more row

How rich is David Lee Roth? ›

David Lee Roth Net Worth
Net Worth:$60 Million
Date of Birth:Oct 10, 1954 (67 years old)
Gender:Male
Height:6 ft (1.83 m)
Profession:Singer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Author, Guitarist, Record producer, Paramedic, Songwriter, Actor, Radio personality
1 more row

Videos

1. Heart Sisters Ann And Nancy Wilson Only See Each Other When They Tour Together
(The Real Music Observer)
2. Ann & Nancy Wilson Heart Stairway To Heaven Live HD
(Sandor Sule)
3. [Heart] Ann Wilson's Lifestyle ★ 2021
(Lifestyle & Net Worth)
4. ⭐ANN WILSON DENIES THEIR IS ANY RIFT WITH HER SISTER NANCY & HOPES TO DO ANOTHER HEART ALBUM
(BACKSTAGE PASS ROCK-NEWS)
5. NANCY WILSON OF HEART ON LAYNE STAYLEY’S DRUG ADDICTION & THE SONG SHE WROTE FOR HIM… “THE DRAGON”
(BACKSTAGE PASS ROCK-NEWS)
6. Heart - These Dreams
(thebandheart)

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