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Ronnie Spector’s husband says the ‘Be My Baby’ singer ‘was in a wonderful place’ before her death at 78

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Ronnie Spector’s husband was instantly smitten when he saw the singer for the very first time.

It was 1974 and the ‘60s music icon, who had recently divorced Phil Spector, was performing at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“Ronnie walked out on stage singing ‘Walking in the Rain,’ swaying back and forth to the rhythm,” Jonathan Greenfield, Spector’s husband of nearly 40 years, told People magazine on Tuesday. “I was pretty convinced that when God created woman that it would look just like Ronnie did when I saw her that night at the Garden.”

The pair wouldn’t meet until 1978 when Greenfield was stage managing an off-Broadway production of “The Neon Woman.” The star, along with others, including Debbie Harry, was in the audience. At some point in the evening, Greenfield found the courage to approach Spector.

RONNIE SPECTOR ONCE DETAILED HER ABUSIVE MARRIAGE TO PHIL SPECTOR: ‘IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE END OF ME’

Ronnie Spector of the vocal trio The Ronettes, circa 1964.
(James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“I said, ‘Do you mind if I hug you?’” Greenfield recalled. “She sort of looked at me like, ‘Give me a break.’ [But] Ronnie let me give her a hug and when I hugged her, she squealed like a little mouse. That was the first time I hugged her.”

According to the outlet, Spector returned to the show every night. A relationship blossomed and they married in 1983. After saying “I do,” they soon welcomed sons Austin, 39, and Jason, 38.

“We did everything together for close to 42 years,” said Greenfield. “There’s a lot of little things about our relationship that just balanced each of us. It’s sort of like two trees next to each other; throughout the years, they grow and the branches start to intertwine.”

As a solo artist, Spector flourished in the music industry. But when the star wasn’t on stage, she was a doting wife and mother in rural Connecticut, where she lived down the road from her pal Keith Richards. Greenfield noted that Spector would run errands with a full face of makeup and perfectly styled hair to greet fans.

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Ronnie Spector signing autographs for fans after her performance in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 22, 1987.

Ronnie Spector signing autographs for fans after her performance in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 22, 1987.
(Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

“She never thought she was anything special,” said Greenfield. “She had been on the top and then she knew what it felt like when she couldn’t get in at Studio 54 because she wasn’t cool enough. Wherever she went, whether it was on stage or just to the ShopRite, she put a smile on every person she came in contact with. That’s just what she did. I’m so convinced that she was put here to spread joy, love and kindness. She had this gift of making people feel really good.”

And Spector pursued her love of music until the end. In October, she was due to record a duet with Margo Price titled “Fight to Make It.” However, the song was never completed. The Ronettes leader passed away in January of this year after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.

“I still have the lyrics sitting on the music stand with Ronnie’s notes on it,” said Greenfield, noting that their last few years together were filled with gratitude. “She was in such a wonderful place. She was so joyful. We’d go for a walk in the park and [it was like] she had found the secret to happiness. I was happy that I could be there with her and help her get to that point.”

“She and I went through a lot together and she came out this incredible, inspiration person,” Greenfield continued. “I was so incredibly blessed to be a small part of letting her reclaim and rebuild her incredible life and share it with people.”

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Ronnie Spector is survived her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.

Ronnie Spector is survived her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.
(Tom Sheehan/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images)

During Spector’s final months, she revised the updated version of her 1990 memoir “Be My Baby,” which was released on Tuesday. The outlet shared that she signed off on final changes to the manuscript two weeks before her death. The book is being made into a film starring Zendaya, who was handpicked by Spector to play her.

Greenfield hopes Spector’s story will continue to inspire others.

“She wanted to tell people, ‘Never, never, never let somebody take control of your life,'” said Greenfield. “She wanted them to know you can go through hell and you can come out the other end. And you can come out strong.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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