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Daryl Hannah and Neil Young going strong 3 years after she was branded a 'homewrecker'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Neil Young and Daryl Hannah on the red carpet during the SXSW film debut of her directorial debut film Paradox on March 15, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (Photo: Jim Bennett/WireImage)

Daryl Hannah and Neil Young unveiled their collaboration — the Netflix movie Paradox — at the South by Southwest festival this week. Of course, they’ve been collaborating in the romance department for more than three years.

On Thursday, Hannah, 57, and Young, 72, debuted their project, which she directed and he starred in, at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. There was no couple photo on the carpet, which we can only assume was a strategic move, but they stood side by side onstage at the venue discussing the film, which he also contributed the music for.

Daryl Hannah and Neil Young at the Paradox premiere at 2018 SXSW on March 15, 2018. (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW)

During an interview with Yahoo Entertainment at the festival, they openly discussed their romance with Young saying, “We’re very lucky to have found each other. I’m eternally thankful for the opportunity to share my life with her.” He added, “She feels the same.”

The pair of eco-crusaders were joined at SXSW by his son Ben Young, one of Neil Young’s closest confidantes and tour buddy (see more on their relationship here), so Hannah and Young’s romance must have the approval of at least one family member. When they first got together in 2014 — amid his split from his wife of 36 years and musical collaborator, Pegi — they didn’t seem to have many fans, including Young’s Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young bandmate David Crosby, who publicly branded Hannah a “poisonous predator.” (He later apologized, adding that he thought his comments were off the record.)

Neil Young’s son Ben Young joined him on the red carpet for the Paradox premiere. The men have a close relationship and Ben Young, who can’t speak, always accompanies his father on any tours.  “I tell Ben everything, and he listens,” Young told the New York Times(Photo: Jim Bennett/WireImage)

Here, we look at the tricky beginnings of their relationship — it’s not easy being tabloid fodder — and how they have managed to stick together approaching four years later.

August 2013: Hannah, whose dating history included several musicians (including Jackson Browne, Wallflowers keyboardist Rami Jaffee, and, if the gossip is true, Mick Jagger) and one very famous non-musician (John F. Kennedy Jr.), and Young, who was married to Pegi, take a six-and-a-half-hour road trip, with several others, in his bioelectric 1959 Lincoln. It was related to work they were doing with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and an environmentalist documentary for Greenpeace about the Alberta Tar Sands. (This story was done at the time and described them as “friends.”)

April 2014: Young and Hannah take part in a protest in Washington, D.C. during which they march together with the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, and protest the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Cowboy and Indian Alliance — including rock icon Neil Young and actress and environmentalist Daryl Hannah, second from right — march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, April 26, 2014. (Photo: Pete Marovich/Boomberg)

July 2014: After 36 years of marriage, Young filed divorce papers to end his second marriage to Pegi Young, who inspired the music icon’s song “Unknown Legend.” They have two children: Ben, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy who is unable to speak (the pair opened a school for him when they couldn’t find one they liked), and Amber, an artist. Young also has a son, Zeke, from his relationship with the Oscar-nominated actress Carrie Snodgress. No mention was made of Hannah in the filing.

September 2014: Young’s onetime musical partner, Crosby, confirmed a romance in an interview with the Idaho Statesman — and makes it clear he doesn’t approve. “I happen to know that he’s hanging out with somebody that’s a purely poisonous predator now,” Crosby said. “And that’s karma. He’s gonna get hurt. But I understand why it happened. I’m just sad about it. I’m always sad when I see love tossed in the gutter.”

Hannah and Young were spotted holding hands and kissing while out in the Los Angeles area.

People magazine reported that Young and Hannah had “been dating for months.” A source said, “They’ve taken no effort to even hide it. He recorded a new album a few weeks ago, and she was on Skype the entire time, giving him feedback on every take. He even told people in the studio she was his ‘girlfriend.’” It wasn’t a secret. “They’ve appeared at many, many protest rallies together over the past year,” the insider said. “The fans have known about this for months.”

The tabloids, of course, branded Hannah a “homewrecker.”

May 2015: Crosby apologizes — sorta. After admitting that he thought his quotes were off the record, he said on the Howard Stern Show that he was “completely out of line. I have screwed up massively … Where do I get off criticizing her? She’s making Neil happy. I love Neil and I want him happy.” He went on to say, “I was worried that he was going to be taken advantage of. But the truth is that’s not my place to judge.”

June 2015: While haters hated, Hannah and Young continued to spend time together, including a romantic trip to Italy in June, which made headlines.

Daryl Hannah and Neil Young go for a romantic walk in Rome on June 27, 2015. (Photo: Agostino Fabio/GC Images)

June 2016: Variety reported that Hannah has sold “her eco-conscious hippie-chic hideaway in the mountains above Malibu” to Young “in an off-market deal for $3.6 million.”

July 2016: In an interview with Rolling Stone, Young said he let Pegi Young have their home Broken Arrow Ranch in Redwood City, Calif., that he bought in 1970. She resides there with Ben because “all his support systems are there.” Young said that he’s living in L.A. with Hannah and that she recently threw him a 70th birthday party. He also said that Hannah helped him focus on his health with an organic diet and exercise (Pilates and walking). His new life inspired Earth, a live album featuring environmentally conscious songs.

November 2016: In an interview with Rolling Stone, Pegi Young had her say. She talked about how Young’s relationship with Hannah around the time of their split made her family tabloid fodder. “It was tough on all of us, for my kids and me,” she said. “Everybody knew what was going on in my family. So we were as ready as we could be for all that. But it was just kind of awful to have it be all over, everywhere.” She also made it clear she wasn’t the one who wanted a divorce. “We were having a rough patch. But I never would’ve thought in a million years we would be getting divorced. So, yeah, there was a bit of a shock value there.” She added that she and her ex have “little contact these days,” but when they ran into each other at an event for their special needs school, it was fine. “Take the high road, that’s my approach,” she said.

February 2017: Pegi Young told Billboard that she was gratified by Crosby’s comments defending her.

October 2017: Hannah came forward to say she was sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein. She said she felt the immediate repercussions of her refusal the next day. (Weinstein denied the allegations.)

March 2018: Hannah and Young brought their passion project (and her directorial debut) Paradox  to SXSW and clearly enjoyed their time together in the spotlight — despite not posing together on the red carpet. Yahoo Entertainment spoke with the pair there about working together.

“I never read the script,’” said Young, who stars in it. “She told me about the story, and so I wanted to see it develop.” He said it was no problem working together (“as artists, we support each other and understand”), and he touched on their high-profile coupling being tabloid fodder. Basically, he didn’t care.

“We didn’t pay any attention to that,” Young said. “It doesn’t matter. We don’t give a s***. We don’t care because they don’t know what they’re talking about. And if they do know what they’re talking about, we still don’t care, but we’re happy for them. It doesn’t matter. What matters is us, not the press.” He admitted he was surprised by the reaction of his friends, including Crosby. “When we got together, even some of my good friends were negative about it, and I could never understand it,” he said. “Daryl [is] a wonderful human being, and I’m very lucky to know her. That’s all I was thinking.”

He added, “I’m very lucky. We’re very lucky to have found each other. I’m eternally thankful for the opportunity to share my life with her, and she feels the same.”

So there, haters. So there.

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