Best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band, Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas is one musician who has become an icon in the industry as a result of his unparalleled survival. A multiple Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and record producer, Thomas first made a name for himself in the 90s, thanks to a string of hit songs with his band, as well as a monster collaboration with Latina guitarist, Carlos Santana.
He subsequently consolidated his fame in the 2000s with other releases by his band, as well as a chart-topping debut solo album. To date, Rob Thomas remains ever relevant in the music scene with pop hits such as One Less Day. A big part of the reason behind this is his undeniable passion for sound. Another is that he has got a wonderful team of supporters behind him, including his wife, Marisol Maldonaldo.
Maldonaldo has helped her husband create every move, song, and even haircut that we have seen on him over the last two decades. She has also inspired some of his hit songs. The singer has, in turn, stood by his wife’s side as she has valiantly battled a debilitating disease for decades; a fact for which she remains eternally grateful.
The Couple First Met While Thomas Was Touring Canada With His Band In 1998
Rob Thomas first met his wife (a New York City model of Spanish and Puerto Rican descent) while performing with his band in Montreal, Canada, in the year 1998. The duo was introduced by a mutual friend and in their own words, it was love at first sight. Despite this instant attraction, Marisol initially rebuffed Thomas’ advances because of her wariness towards dating a rock star and living the kind of life they led. She later succumbed to her feelings and they commenced a relationship subsequently.
The first few months of this relationship were conducted by correspondence (especially telephone) as Thomas was busy with his band on tour. He later returned to the United States and he and Marisol embarked on their first proper date, a trip to a music festival in Boston. From that first date came the engagement a month later. The couple’s nuptials would then follow on the 2nd day of October 1999 with the ceremony being a private affair that was held at the California home of Thomas’ manager.
It has been more than two decades since Rob Thomas and Marisol tied the knot and their love has flourished significantly. Marisol has been a sort of muse for her husband and inspired several of his hit songs, including 2009’s, Her Diamonds, as well as the 2016 ballad, Pieces. The former model has also actively managed parts of her husband’s career, helping to make it the success that it is today.
How The Singer Has Helped His Wife Cope With Lyme Disease
Rob Thomas and his wife have had an enviable union but the only cloud on their horizon is Marisol’s decade-long battle with Lyme disease, a potentially fatal illness that is spread by ticks. It manifests in different symptoms such as numbness, seizures, pain, and has different types of treatments. Marisol first began battling the disease just four years after the couple tied the knot. She visited countless specialists and hospitals but they wrongly diagnosed her with lupus, multiple sclerosis, and the likes.
This wrong diagnosis made it difficult to actually pinpoint her problem and treat her properly, so, the lady suffered in agony for years. She then got relieved after a doctor finally diagnosed her correctly in the year 2015. Marisol now relies on a mixture of pharmaceutical drugs, as well as holistic therapies for her treatments. They certainly help but she still has her bad days and Thomas is right there for her. According to the lady, her husband has literally done everything for her since day one and never complained about it. This makes her describe him as “her everything” but she does worry about the opportunities that he may have lost due to the demands of her sickness.
Thomas, on his own part, wouldn’t change a thing and has maintained that everything he does for his wife is out of his own good heart as nobody is forcing him to do them. The singer has admitted that it can be quite tiring and frustrating at times being a caretaker but he does try to talk out the negative feelings with his wife. He has also stated that he sometimes suffers from survival guilt.
Thomas And Marisol Do Not Have A Child Together But There’s A Son From A Previous Relationship
Marisol’s battle with Lyme disease has cost her and Thomas significant things such as holidays and social lives. Another area where it has dealt a blow is their hopes of having a family. Due to the poor state of the former model’s health, she can’t subject herself to the rigours of childbearing and the couple has been forced to make their peace with that fact. Thankfully, Rob has a son from a previous relationship, named Maison Thomas-Eudy, and they can shower all their love on him. Maison was born on the 10th of July 1998. He’s studying music at Berklee College of Music, Boston and has a band named Hand Made House, which deals in the 90s’ alternative music.
When not busy with Maison, Rob Thomas and Marisol occupy themselves with their charity initiative known as the Sidewalk Angels Foundation. This is a nonprofit organisation which provides funds to no-kill animal shelters and rescues all across the United States. They also help like-minded people who want to set up something similar with the funds with which to do such. Thomas and his wife started Sidewalk Angels around 2005 and they have been able to build more than 30 shelters around the United States of America. They assist them with medical supplies, as well as other resources that they need to effectively carry out their work.
Another pet project that Thomas and his wife share is their involvement in raising awareness about Lyme disease. They have been quite open with how hard the journey has been for them in the hopes of letting people know more about the disease. This forthrightness has led to accusations that Marisol is only using her diagnosis as a sort of publicity stunt but the former model refuses to let such hurtful insinuations get to her. She has continued to tirelessly advocate for people like her and this fetched her recognition from the Global Lyme Alliance at their 3rd annual New York gala in 2017. Thomas himself has also performed multiple times at the event, all in a bid to raise awareness.
Rob Thomas Endured A Rough Upbringing On His Way To Stardom
Robert Kelly Thomas may well be one of the biggest and most popular rock stars of his generation but getting to that status was anything but easy. The singer’s parents got divorced when he was just two and it fell on his mother, Mamie, to take care of him and his sister named Melissa. The lady did her best but often lacked the money to adequately provide for her children. She thus moved around with them a lot until they settled down in Lake City, South Carolina, with their grandmother.
Unfortunately, grandma turned out to be an alcoholic and introduced Thomas to powerful substances while he was just in middle school. He would continue in this stead all throughout his teenage years and the dysfunctionality of his personal life was further complicated after his mother, who he described as a chronic alcoholic, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1984. Around that time, Thomas’ elder sister ran away, leaving him to cater to their ailing mother alone.
Throughout this bleak period, one thing that kept Rob Thomas sane was music. He loved the likes of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and took to teaching himself how to play different instruments, including the piano and guitar. A few months before his high school graduation, Thomas suddenly dropped out of school due to the turbulence in his personal life. Sadly, things went further downhill in 1989 when he was convicted of stealing a Camaro and as a result, spent two months in jail; he was only 17 at the time.
After leaving jail, Rob Thomas turned his life around. He played in several cover bands, one of which is Fair Warning, and started to write songs. By the year 1993, he formed the band – Tabitha’s Secret. The band had Brian Yale as the bass guitarist, Paul Doucett as the drummer, and Jay Stanley and John Goff as guitarists. Thomas was the brain behind most of the band’s songs which helped them gain popularity and land performance gigs in Orlando’s bars and nightclubs.
Formation Of Matchbox Twenty And Their Epic Debut Album Which Went 12x Platinum
When things between the members of Tabitha’s Secret went sour, Rob Thomas moved on to form Matchbox Twenty together with Brian Yale (bass guitar) and Paul Doucette (drums, rhythm guitar, and backing vocals). Adam Gaynor (rhythm guitarist) and Kyle Cook (lead guitar and vocals) later joined as new members and the band then landed their first contract with Lava Records.
Emboldened by their new contract, Matchbox Twenty released their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, in October 1996. The album had a slow takeoff and the band embarked on aggressive touring in order to see if it would catch up with the listening public. Luckily for them, some radio stations in parts of Alabama favoured it and started giving one of their singles frequent airplay.
Yourself or Someone Like You would go on to reach No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums charts. It would also receive one Grammy Award nomination for best rock vocal performance by a duo or group, as well as a nomination for favourite pop/rock album at the 1998 edition of the American Music Awards. The album also ended up selling 12 million copies in the United States alone and has thus far been certified 12x platinum.
How He and Carlos Santana Came About Their 1999 Monster Collaboration – Smooth
Following the eventual success of their first album, Rob Thomas and his bandmates lost their heads for a while. They regularly indulged in cocaine and alcohol consumption. They also threw wild parties and all these took a toll on Rob who gained lots of weight. He was ridiculed in some sections of the media for this and was forced to clean up his act. Having come to his senses, the singer looked for an opportunity to help regain his reputation and the perfect one landed on his lap when he was offered a proposed song by famous Latina singer, Carlos Santana, named Smooth.
Thomas re-wrote the lyrics of the song and also produced the vocals without knowing that his version would be released. It went on to become the biggest single of that year. Smooth reached the top ten in about ten countries, including Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Belgium, and Australia.
In the U.S., it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks and spent a total of 58 weeks total there. Smooth sold about 1.2 million copies and was named the No.2 Hot 100 sing of all time. Thomas, on his own part, received numerous awards for his contributions to the song, including three Grammy awards for best record, the best pop collaboration with vocals, and best song.
Solo Success With …Something To Be And Winning The Inaugural Hal David Starlight Award
It has been about two decades since the monster hit that was Smooth and Rob Thomas has proven that he is no one-hit-wonder. He and his bandmates have released three more albums, – Mad Season (2000), More Than You Think You Are (March 2002), and North (2012), and all have been quite successful. Mad Season featured hit singles such as Bent, If You Are Gone, and Mad Season. It sold about four million copies and reached No. 3 on the Billboard top 200. One of its singles, Bent, also topped the Hot 100 for several weeks and the album was nominated for best rock album at the 2001 Grammys. The group’s 3rd studio album sold 2 million copies while the fourth sold about 500K and also topped the Billboard Top 200 charts.
Thomas has also shown that he can flourish as a solo artist. The singer dropped his first solo album, … Something To Be, in April 2005. The album spurned hit singles such as Lonely No More, This Is How A Heart Breaks, and Ever The Same. It equally debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 charts and fetched Thomas nominations for best male pop performance and best solo rock performance at the 2006 Grammys.
Thomas has, to date, released three other additional studio albums – Cradlesong, The Great Unknown, and Chip Tooth Smile. He has also been prolific as a songwriter and penned lyrics for the likes of Seal, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Mary J. Blige, Marc Anthony, and Carlos Santana. This has fetched him numerous songwriting awards, including the BMI Award for pop songwriter of the year in 1999. He also received the first-ever Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2014. This is in recognition of his achievements as a young songwriter.