January 14, 2006
Email this Print this BY BRIAN McCOLLUM
FREE PRESS POP MUSIC WRITER
In vivid contrast to all the fanfare of recent weeks, all the breathless chatter and speculation, the Saturday wedding of Eminem and his longtime sweetheart turned out to be a quietly dignified occasion.
One guest at the late-afternoon ceremony at Rochester Hills’ Meadow Brook Hall said Marshall Mathers and his bride, ex-wife Kimberly Mathers, appeared genuinely radiant and happy at what another attendee called “a real classy, intimate affair.”
Both guests spoke who spoke to the Free Press asked not to be named because of sensitivity to the privacy of the event.
One described the ceremony as â€œa surprisingly mellow but very touchingâ€ event, as the bride and groom exchanged vows and rings before about 85 guests in the lower area of the popular wedding venue’s main hall. Eminem’s processional up the aisle was accompanied by the tranquil piano line of his song â€œMockingbird,â€ performed by Luis Resto, the Detroit instrumentalist who has cowritten several of the rapper’s biggest hits.
The bride wore a traditional, tasteful white gown, said an observer, while Eminem â€”spotted earlier in the afternoon with a red baseball cap when he arrived by limousine â€” was dressed in a crisp black suit.
Saturday’s affair was the second wedding for the Mathers, whose sometimes rocky relationship has been famously chronicled and dramatized by Eminem on his platinum-selling albums. Their romance began 17 years ago, when they were teenagers, and the couple had a daughter, Hailie Jade, in 1995. Four years later, they married in a then-secret ceremony, but divorced in 2001 amid ongoing legal problems for both.
Saturday’s guests enjoyed a dinner of steak and lobster in an adjacent banquet room, where a family-oriented reception stretched into late Saturday night. Eminem’s best man, Detroit rapper Proof, gave a brief, amiable speech in which he noted the couple’s apparent happiness and offered well-wishes.
The nearby dance floor was occupied mostly by children, including 10-year-old Hailie, as a DJ spun contemporary rap and top 40 hits.
The guest list was comprised mostly of family members, though several key figures were either not invited or chose not to attend, including Marshall Mathers’ mother, his maternal grandmother, and Kimberly Mathers’ twin sister, Dawn Scott.
The scant few celebrities in attendance were all from Eminem’s hip-hop circle, including rapper 50 Cent and members of Detroit group D12, whose over-the-top stage personas were muted for the night, said one guest.
â€œThe sensibility was appropriate for the night,â€ said the guest. â€œIn a lot of ways, it felt like an utterly ordinary wedding,â€
The modest atmosphere was a refreshing change of pace from the frenzy of press attention and family drama that had accompanied the lead-up to the wedding, said a source. Saturday afternoon, along an entry road to Meadow Brook Hall on the Oakland University campus, news helicopters buzzed overhead, and dozens of reporters, photographers and fans were kept in check by police and private guards as guests’ vehicles drove through.
Once inside the hall’s doors, the source said, the security presence was unobtrusive.
â€œI think much of the reception staff seemed surprised at how unassuming it all was,â€ the guest said.
For Marshall and Kim Mathers, Saturday’s wedding capped a reconciliation that began about a year ago. As the Free Press reported in July, Kim Mathers moved in to the rapper’s 15,000-square-foot mansion, a $4.8-million Oakland Township home he purchased after their divorce. There, the couple have been tending to their daughter Hailie and 3-year-old Whitney, Kim Mathers’ daughter from a former relationship, whom Eminem has legally adopted.
The remarriage is also the latest step by Eminem in an ongoing series of moves to focus on his family and personal affairs while backing away from the breakneck pace of life as a pop star.
â€œIt was one of the most peaceful weddings I’ve ever been to,â€ said one of the guests. â€œThis is exactly what Marshall has been looking for.â€
Contact BRIAN McCOLLUM at 313-223-4450, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Free Press music writer Kelley L. Carter contributed to this report.
Many thanks to Adrienne, a fellow fan, for this wedding pic: