Pat Benatar: Still rocking despite her kids' embarrassment

Even though an entire generation still thinks she's cool, Benatar says with a laugh her kids think otherwise. To them, like all parents, she's an embarrassment. (AP Photo/File) | Zoom
When rock icon Pat Benatar released her second album in 1980, she expected some success, but she never imagined what was about to happen.

"When MTV came on the scene, it just exploded everything," she said.

Did it ever. From "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to "Love is a Battlefield," her music and her style were everywhere in the 80s.

"It was not anything that I had planned on, and lots of times there were things that I shouldn't have done," she said with a laugh.

That's one of the most refreshing things about talking to her. Benatar laughs a lot. Despite all the fame and fortune, she's always tried to keep everything in perspective, especially when things got really absurd.

"There was a time when someone wanted to make a line of leotards, cause I wore, you know, a lot of tights in the beginning," she said.

But it was the name that killed the deal. "They wanted to call them 'Benatards,' and I was like 'absolutely not'," she laughs.

Fans of all ages copied her unique look throughout the 80's, while her records continued to top the charts.

But after years of rock stardom and a nearly non-stop cycle of touring and recording, Benatar and Neil Giraldo (her husband and musical partner for over 30 years) stepped away from the music industry, moved to Maui and started a family.

As her two daughters, Hailey and Hana, grew up, she spent as much time being a mom as she did on music. But Benatar and Giraldo continued to tour most years on a smaller scale.

Even though an entire generation still thinks she's cool, Benatar says, with a laugh, that her kids think otherwise. To them, like all parents, she's an embarrassment.

"They will say to me 'Mom, please, you're NOT wearing that,' and I'll go 'I am wearing that,' she goes, 'Is anyone going to see you?' and I go 'Everyone's going to see me!'," she laughs.

The embarrassment hit a new high earlier this week, when Benatar brought the girls with her to a taping of Oprah.

"Oh my god,' she says to Hana, 'It must be so great to like have your parents be like rock stars,' and Hana and Hailey, look at each other and roll their eyes, they were like 'Are you kidding?!'"

Luckily for her kids, few people dress like Benatar did anymore. But they still keep coming to see her play. And as long as they do, Benatar says she and Neil will continue performing - even if it embarrasses the kids.

Josh Kerns,
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for
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