EXCLUSIVE: Tom Petty went from hillbilly to rock icon in a 'fiery' relationship with Stevie Nicks to a heroin addict haunted by father who 'beat the living s***' out of him
Tom Petty, 65, escaped his dysfunctional home life by watching television and dreaming of going to Hollywood
'I was used to living in hell,' reveals the rock legend in new book
'He beat me so bad that I was covered in raised welts, from my head to my toes. I was f***ing five'
There was a chemistry with Stevie Nicks who called 'intense, fiery'
Petty opens up about his volatile first marriage, his relationship with Stevie Nicks and the woman who 'saved him' - wife of 14 years, Dana York
The rock star, now 65, became addicted to heroin in his 50's and reveals a therapist told him 'people with your level of depression don't live'
By Caroline Howe For Dailymail.com
12 November 2015
'He was a man with kids he couldn't help. A man with tremendous wreckage in his personal life, a man divorcing his longtime wife, a woman who was struggling with delusional thoughts and a mind that was turning on her.
'He was still a man playing at the edge of death', writes the author. Zanes, and even his close friend, singer Stevie Nicks, didn't realize that Petty had slipped into heroin addiction.
Hometown hit: In 1966, Petty formed a band in Gainesville, Florida that was popular locally but received little notice from the mainstream audience
It took years for Petty, now 65, to get past feeling that his father, Earl, a salesman of 'really crappy plastic toys' or insurance was anything less than an 'a**hole' for the physical and mental abuse that colored his entire life.
When Tom nailed the fin of a '55 Cadillac with a slingshot, his father 'beat the living s**t of me' with a belt.
'He beat me so bad that I was covered in raised welts, from my head to my toes. Five years old. I was f***ing five.'
Realizing that he wasn't going to get an education in that household, he escaped into television.
'And I think it was television that saved my life, that raised and educated me.'
None of the families on television were like his. He and his younger brother, Bruce, were basically on their own. Nothing like Ozzie and Harriet's warm and fuzzy life existed in their world.
But he did see that everything great was coming from California – television city, Hollywood.
'Television city? Man, that's where I need to be,' he thought.