16 bottles of wine a day. Piles of coke. So how, at 75, does Ringo Starr now look younger than his son?

Ringo Starr attends the Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach Julien's Auctions event at Julien's Auctions Gallery. Photo / Getty Images
Ringo Starr attends the Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach Julien's Auctions event at Julien's Auctions Gallery. Photo / Getty Images

There is probably no place in Beverly Hills that says more about the fad-heavy Californian lifestyle than health food shop Erewhon - motto: "If it's here it's good for you".

The Tonic & Juice bar on site offers a frankly bewildering list of concoctions, including coconut Bulgarian rose water and green juice with sun warrior plant protein.

And here, among the wannabes hoping to be spotted by a Hollywood producer over a ferociously overpriced glass of almond milk or a small brussels sprout salad you will find all-organic vegan Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr.

An unassuming figure, as slender as a teenager, he habitually wears all black and some jingly silver jewellery. As he wanders the aisles, it is hard to believe that he is 75.

He and wife Barbara - also enviably slim and glamorous at 68 - are regular visitors to the store and you can't really miss them. Such is his fame that Ringo still causes a sensation when he appears in public.

Indeed, pictures of the former Beatle out in London with his son were published last week and it was remarked that Ringo looked younger and trimmer than Jason, who is 48.

Jason Starkey, left, the son of Ringo Starr, with James McCartney at the ROCKINS London Fash Bash at The Cuckoo Club. Photo / Getty Images
Jason Starkey, left, the son of Ringo Starr, with James McCartney at the ROCKINS London Fash Bash at The Cuckoo Club. Photo / Getty Images

He certainly looks decades younger than fellow surviving Beatle Paul McCartney, 73.

So how has Ringo done it? Well, his full head of suspiciously deep-brown hair gives him a youthful look, and the dark glasses he has worn continually, indoors and out, for around three decades also help.

Some suggest he has had a hair transplant, or a nip and tuck here or there. But the world's richest drummer shrugs and says his secrets are simple.

"Just working out and eating carrots," says Ringo.

A Pilates fan, he does indeed work out daily, and has been a vegetarian for years.

Ringo, who grew up in poverty in a tiny terraced house in Dingle, Liverpool, is so strict about his diet that he says broccoli is his main course, and won't even have a slick of butter on his baked potato - he takes olive oil and brewer's yeast instead.

He has embraced the Californian lifestyle, and it clearly suits him. But the real secret of his youthful glow is his happy marriage to Barbara Bach, and their mutual rescue from a hell of drink and drugs.

Ringo came with considerable demons and one failed marriage behind him - to fellow Liverpudlian Maureen Tigrett, which ended in 1975 - when he met Barbara, a model and actress.

A policeman's daughter raised in Queens, New York, Barbara was divorced with two children.

They were both cast in the film farce Caveman - Ringo was the non-speaking lead. By the time the director called 'Cut!' they were an item, with Ringo later admitting that within five days of setting eyes on her, he was deeply in love.

"I want to live every minute with Barbara," he said.

They were married at Marylebone Register Office on April 27, 1981. Barbara told reporters: "I love the man, and that's it".

But the early years of the marriage were professionally and personally disastrous. Ringo's 1983 album Old Wave didn't make the charts.

He said: 'I got involved with a lot of different medications and you can listen to my records go downhill as the amount of medication went up.

"I've got photographs of me playing all over the world but I've absolutely no memory of it. I played Washington with the Beach Boys - or so they tell me. But there's only a photo to prove it."

He dragged Barbara down into a pit of lethargy. As Ringo observed in 1989: "We would sit around for hours and talk about what we were going to do, and of course I'd get so bleeding drunk I couldn't move."

Ringo moved on from Brandy Alexanders to wine and was said to be putting away 16 bottles a day, plus pills, at one stage. One friend said at the time: "They've both been drinking heavily every day for years. Ringo and Barbara also are cocaine users.

"Ringo was snorting up to a gram of coke a day, and Barbara said she'd been using about half a gram. In addition, Ringo has a history of freebasing (smoking cocaine)."

He added: "Ringo said that since they married, virtually all they've done is sit in a room and use drugs. They were convinced they were gonna die unless they got help."

Bach's two children were grateful for the refuge of boarding school. Daughter Francesca Gregorini has said: "It was their drugs heyday. Their troubles made me a better academic. I was always hidden away in a room reading because Mum and Dad were out of it."

Barbara and Ringo wrote a foreword to former Beatles press officer Derek Taylor's 1992 book about alcoholism, Getting Sober.

They said: "We used to go on long plane journeys, rent huge villas, stock up the bars, hide and get deranged."

It was only in 1998, after a period of blackouts and violence, that the couple attempted to quit.

Ringo had reached rock bottom. "I came to one Friday afternoon and was told by the staff that I'd trashed the house so badly they thought there had been burglars, and I'd trashed Barbara so badly they thought she was dead."

Both of them went into a rehab clinic in Tucson, Arizona - the only place that would allow them to share a room and be treated together, which they insisted on. They have both been sober ever since that rehab. When he came out, Ringo launched the All-Starr band - a changing line-up of stellar musicians - which is still running.

He likes to work, saying last year: "This is what I do - when I started, the dream at 13 was to play, and only drums. I really just love to play the drums."

Barbara, meanwhile, loves to ride horses, and both are involved in various charities.

Although Ringo's solo albums are not greeted with much fanfare, he recently released another one, and a book of photographs of his life.

He has been downsizing lately. The couple have sold their homes in Monaco and Surrey, and also put their Colorado retreat up for sale about a year ago.

In 2015, an auction of Beatles memorabilia by Ringo, which included stage and studio drum kits, brought in some £6 million.

You can see why some might suggest that such retrenchment signals a financial crisis - but those who know Ringo say he has no money problems whatever.

He has a web of companies in the Virgin Islands and is estimated to be worth at least £20 million.

He has his house in Los Angeles, bought in 1991, which is a relatively modest £3.5 million, four-bedroom spread off Sunset Boulevard. He spends nearly all his time there.

Former rock publicist Chris Hutchins, who has known him for 50 years, said: 'He has always felt unappreciated in England, whereas in America he gets more hero-worship.'

Ringo also has a pied a terre in Chelsea, West London, which he uses when visiting his children from his first marriage, Zak, Jason and Lee, who all live in the city.

He doesn't go out to many events, but sometimes he and Barbara pop out for food locally at Craig's, where vegan food gets its own section on the menu, or high-end Chinese restaurant Mr Chow.

Ringo has been known to take home a doggy bag - which suggests he may still remember scraping by on a pipe-fitter's income.

Indeed, perhaps it says something about the enduring influence of his modest background that he is tempted by easy money - he plugged a brand of trainers in 2014, and did an advert for Pizza Hut, plus those voice-overs for Thomas The Tank Engine in the Eighties.

His health habits, though, are those of a wealthy Californian. He doesn't eat meat or fish at all, and consumes very little dairy.

He has a personal trainer, too. "I have a lot of energy," he has said, "and I go till I drop. On the road, every morning I'm in the gym by nine".

Also in keeping with the modern way, he is on Twitter, and wishes his followers "peace and love" almost daily.

Clearly, both peace and love are provided for Ringo by his wife, 'who holds me together'.

He told People magazine this year: "I think I love Barbara as much today as I did when we met, and I'm beyond blessed that she loves me, and we're still together."

- Daily Mail

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