Singer Don McLean says marriage breakdown behind domestic violence arrest

McLean (above) is the singer-songwriter behind 1970s hits such as American Pie and Vincent.
McLean (above) is the singer-songwriter behind 1970s hits such as American Pie and Vincent.PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - American Pie singer Don McLean said on Thursday his domestic violence arrest this week stemmed from "the very painful breakdown" of his long marriage and asked fans not to judge him.

McLean, 70, the singer-songwriter behind tender 1970s hit songs like American Pie and Vincent, was arrested on Monday at his home in Camden, Maine, where he lives with his photographer wife Patrisha.

Authorities did not give details of the incident but the Portland Press Herald newspaper on Thursday reported that his wife has since obtained a restraining order against her husband, citing long-term anger issues.

In his first comments, McLean said in a statement on his official website that the past year had been "hard emotional times for my wife, my children and me".

"What is occurring is the very painful breakdown of an almost 30-year relationship. Our hearts are broken and we must carry on.

"There are no winners or losers but I am not a villain... I ask God to give us the strength to find new happiness and I hope people will realise that this will all be resolved, but I hope I will not be judged in this frantic media environment," he added.

McLean is due to appear in court in February on the misdemeanor domestic violence charge.

American Pie, his 1971 ode to personal and cultural upheaval, was named a song of the century by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

McLean's original working manuscript was auctioned for US$1.2 million (S$1.7 million) last year.