MARCH 1, 1977 – Bob Dylan’s wife, Sara Lownds filed for divorce after having been separated for several years. Lownds was born on October 25, 1939 in Wilmington, Delaware as Shirley Marlin Noznisky, but in 1959, she changed her name after marrying magazine photographer Hans Lownds. Sometime in early 1964, she met Dylan, but was still married to Hans, and Dylan was still romantically linked to Joan Baez at the time. Peter Lownds (Hans’ son from a previous marriage) has stated: “Bob was the reason (she left Hans).” Sara also had a friend, Sally Buchler, who went on to marry Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. Dylan and Sara were guests at the wedding in November 1964.
Dylan married Lownds on November 22, 1965 in a secret ceremony during a break in his tour. The marriage took place under an oak tree on a judge’s lawn on Mineola, Long Island, New York. They had four children together, including recording artist Jakob Dylan, and Bob also adopted her daughter from a previous marriage.
His songs “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” “Sara”, and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”, specifically state just how much Bob Dylan adored her. His 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks” has been cited by many as Bob’s account of their disintegrating marriage. Sara played the role of Clara in the movie “Renaldo and Clara,” directed by Dylan, and the film (made in 1975 and released in 1978) was described by a Dylan biographer as “in part a tribute to his wife”.
During the divorce proceedings, Sara was represented by attorney Marvin Mitchelson, who has estimated that the settlement agreed was worth about $36 million to Sara and included “half the royalties from the songs written during their marriage.” Michael Gray has written: “A condition of the settlement was that Sara would remain silent about her life with Dylan. She has done so.” By some reports Dylan and Sara remained friends after the acrimony of the divorce subsided, and Clinton Heylin writes that the photo of Dylan on a hillside in Jerusalem, which appeared on the inner sleeve of the 1983 album “Infidels” was taken by Sara.
Discussing his parents’ marriage, Jakob Dylan said in 2005: “My father said it himself in an interview many years ago: “Husband and wife failed, but mother and father didn’t. My ethics are high because my parents did a great job.”