Singer-songwriter Alexa Ray Joel, the daughter of music icon Billy Joel and model Christie Brinkley, credits her upbringing for keeping her from becoming a tabloid fixture.
“I hear how Drew Barrymore grew up going to the bars — I was never allowed,” Alexa Ray Joel, 32, told Closer Weekly at the launch party for the May-June issue of Bella magazine, which featured her on the cover. “I was sheltered,” she explained.
In an interview published Sunday from the May 29 event, Joel, whose famous parents divorced when she was 8 years old, recalled she “was raised in a pretty old-fashioned way, believe it or not,” adding, that, “Literally, if I didn’t say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the waiter I’d get a little [tap on the shoulder], ‘You have to say please.’ ”
Of her upbringing, she said, “We would sit around and play music.” Her father — a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee who was raised in Hicksville and has homes in Sag Harbor and Oyster Bay — “would play piano, I would sing ‘Sound of Music,’ and mom would dress me up. I just had so much fun with them that I never got into the crazy party scene.”
She notes in the Bella cover story, “My best memories growing up are of putting on musicals with my mom and dad,” adding, “Both of them are real hams; it was like vaudeville in East Hampton.”
In a video interview on the Bella website, Joel also recalls “being a late bloomer and it took me a little extra time to get comfortable in my own skin. I mean, obviously, my parents are kind of a big deal so there was a lot of pressure there for me to kind of be seen in my own light and pave my own way.”
On New Year’s Day, Joel announced her engagement to restaurateur Ryan J. Gleason, and the singer told Closer that her mother was helping her plan the wedding. “She has the most exquisite taste, but she’s not too pushy,” Joel said, noting the she wanted to marry in New York City. “But we’ll see. My mom knows best!”