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Rotolo’s dubious fame
Suze Rotolo and Bob Dylan became a couple when she was 17 and he was 20, but his increasing fame strained their relationship.
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uze Rotolo came to regret falling in love with Bob Dylan, says Damien Love in Uncut. She and the aspiring folk singer became a couple when she was 17 and Dylan was 20, and for a few years they were inseparable. In 1963, they were photographed walking lovingly arm in arm down a Greenwich Village street. That iconic image graced the cover of the folk singer’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, the record that made him a star. The fame quickly strained their relationship. “It was hard for him to deal with that and keep moving,” says Rotolo. “He was closing himself off, becoming more protective. I saw early on how insane it all was.” As Dylan’s celebrity grew, she rebelled against being known as “Dylan’s chick,” and they began bickering constantly. Rotolo had an abortion and Dylan had an affair with Joan Baez. When they broke up, in 1964, Rotolo came to hate seeing herself on the album cover. “People would just see me as the girl on the arm of this god. For a long time, I was angry at it. I was left with the paranoia of always wanting to be seen as a whole person. And I did it by running away from it. Just run the hell away.” Now, at 64, she’s at peace with her past. “That picture, it’s become a symbol of a time.” She’s even resumed contact with Dylan. “Infrequently,” she emphasizes, laughing. “Our parallel lives have converged. I’ve relaxed and realized it’s okay, you know?”

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