THIS TRUMPS ‘EM ALL!
Ex-Warrant wife thrust into spotlight as Donald Trump’s former girlfriend
LOS ANGELES — Metal Sludge fans might remember Rowanne Brewer Lane for her 10-year marriage to Jani Lane — always a prime source for the sludgiest of Sludge until the great Warrant singer’s untimely death in 2011 — but now Ms. Lane’s popularity (and notoriety) has skyrocketed because she used to date presidential candidate Donald Trump in 1990.
You can’t get bigger than Donald Trump, and Rowanne really stirred the pot when she publicly lashed out against the New York Times for the newspaper’s unflattering portrayal of her in a recent story.
CNN came calling. Fox came calling. We’re no dummies at Metal Sludge, we came calling, too. And Ms. Lane more than proved her loyalty by letting it all hang out (relatively speaking, since this is now about politics and not just rock and roll) in a great Metal Sludge feature. Enjoy!
METAL SLUDGE: We’ve known each other a long time, Rowanne, but I never knew you had dated Donald Trump. He might become president of the United States.
ROWANNE BREWER LANE: There’s no way I won’t vote for Donald Trump. I think he will do a great job. I believe that 100 percent.
LANE: When I was 26 and he was 44. This was in 1990 at the end of the year, starting in like October maybe November. It was still warm enough to have a pool party in Palm Beach, Florida, I remember that much.
You’ve really been kind of thrust into the limelight now in the New York Times and CNN and all that stuff.
LANE: It’s really nothing new. I was sucked into the limelight when I dated him, too. It was very public because it was right after he was getting divorced for the first time after building his long-time empire with Ivana. So, like I said, anytime it’s Donald Trump, they dig up a bunch of stuff, the media. It was major back then, but yeah, what I did not expect now was this level of attention, if you will, but he’s running for president, so the New York Times wanted to do a piece on me and a lot of others. Inside Edition did one. The press has come back around. Anyone who has been around him for any length of time, there is always an issue.
Well, you can’t get bigger than the New York Times.
LANE: The New York Times, they called me, Gerry. They said: “We’re doing a piece on Trump. It’s not about you. We want to talk to you and all these others about Trump, mainly women.” And this is a direct quote, they said to me: “We’re doing it so that the voters can get a better idea of both candidates, looking at democrats and republicans.” They knew I had experience with Donald Trump, so they came to me. I told them that my experience with Donald Trump was a positive one, so if you’re looking to do a hit piece, I’m the wrong person. Nothing negative. I figured they might spin something I said because people want to know things, but here is where they made a grave mistake: It ended up that I was the lead anecdote to the whole story, and that really made me mad. I told the people at the New York Times that they spun lies from everything I said and that no one should believe it. It was a knee-jerk reaction.
The interesting thing is, it’s usually the New York Post that sensationalizing everything, not the New York Times. The New York Times is known for being more conservative, you know, the way they put a “Mr.” in front of names, stuff like that.
LANE: Did you see the New York Post story on me yesterday? It was great. They got it all perfect word for word. It was a great article.
LANE: Yeah, they did a great job, the senior editor writer.
Well, actually my background is with newspapers. I wrote for the Los Angeles Daily News for like 20 years.
But I have to ask you a question or two that maybe I wouldn’t ask if this was a newspaper because this is Metal Sludge, you know what I mean.
LANE: Oh, I think I know I know what you mean.
So I’ve got to ask you about the accusation that Donald Trump has small hands, if you know what I mean. Because you would know, Rowanne, do you have a comment about Donald Trump maybe having small hands?
LANE: (laughs) I do find that kind of funny. I get a kick out of it, but no, I don’t have any comment. Donald and I in the bedroom, it might have been great had we stayed together, but let’s just say there are certain things you have to have in the bedroom, and we didn’t have it. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t like (BEEP). I better be careful what I say, be real careful. I’ve said many times, “It wasn’t fireworks.”
LANE: Oh, he had so many qualities. I was with him three months, and it was never about the money. I was quite taken aback. He was a big, powerful businessman, so you would expect something different but he was actually extremely funny.
That’s interesting because you later married Jani Lane, of course, and he was a really funny guy, too. Jani had a great sense of humor, too.
LANE: That’s true. Jani was hilarious. I like funny people, funny men. They’re the ones who usually get my attention. Guys like pretty girls, but it’s always better (for women) to also be intelligent and funny. I like humor.
So tell me more. Where were you and Donald Trump hanging out most of the time? Was this in New York City?
LANE: He owned a lot of places at the time. We were in Atlantic City a lot and Trump Towers. In Atlantic City, it was the Taj Mahal suite. I remember we went to the Mike Tyson fight there. That was an extremely fun night.
Really? That’s awesome. Who did he fight that night?
LANE: Oh god, I don’t even remember. I should remember, but it was like a first-round knockout. It took like seven seconds. That’s when it was all first round knockouts for Mike Tyson. I should know this though, I can look it up. Hang on. (pauses). Oh, here it is, it was Alex Stewart.
Oh, Alex Stewart. I remember him. I used to love to watch Mike Tyson fight. Anyway, give us more. Did you have like a go-to restaurant or a favorite take-out you used to go to?
LANE: We had some spectacular evenings and a couple of foul moments because there were always a million flashbulbs flashing around him, but one of my favorite nights of all was just staying in and eating Thai food — and watching ice skating on TV, just laying around like normal teenagers. I remember it because it was such the opposite of the media frenzy.
This was in New York City?
LANE: Honestly, I don’t remember for sure, but I think so. I think it was at Trump Tower.
Now, I have to ask. Your financial situation at the time, where you well-off back then, or where you struggling like the rest of us?
LANE: I was modeling and making six figures back then. Back then, what most girls dream about, I had already been doing it for several years, so I had met a lot of people with a lot of money, and I was single — Don Johnson, Sly Stallone, a lot of people who had money, just one of those things. So I wasn’t compelled to marry somebody just because they had money. I was busy working every day, booked out a month and half in advance, but I had my sights set on L.A., and one of the reasons was I wanted to get into acting. That was my plan when I had first went to New York City to model up there, and I ended up flying around on Trump Air.
By the way, was Donald Trump a rock fan? Did he like rock and roll, do you remember?
LANE: I remember he doesn’t dance. We went to Christmas parties all over New York, and I wouldn’t take any dancing pictures. I was very careful when we were out and about. His interests were old classic movies and the Olympics and stuff like that. I remember ice skating because I think it was the Olympics or something, the winter Olympics. You’ve got to remember, we were chillin’ in 1990 back before people had cell phones, so that’s why there are no pictures. When we were alone, the last thing we wanted was to have a camera around because there were a million pictures taken all the time (in public).
If Donald Trump gets elected president, will he help you out with fixing some speeding tickets?
LANE: (laughs) I don’t have any speeding tickets, but we did speak just the other day — he called me. He said if I ever needed anything that I had a lot going for me. He said, “If you need me, contact (campaign spokesperson) Hope (Hicks) or Corey (Lewandowski),” who is his campaign manager. He was very personable. We talked for about 10 minutes.
How did he know to reach out to you? How did he have your cell number?
LANE: Probably called someone in the media because the media has been all over me, and everybody at all the TV stations, they all have my cell phone number.
So you have Donald Trump’s cell number? He called you on his cell?
LANE: He gave me his number, yes.
So let me get this straight, because I think we have a scoop here, Donald Trump has a 212 cell number?
LANE: You are so funny. Yes, it’s New York.
Now, how much longer after Donald Trump did you meet Jani Lane?
LANE: I moved from one coast to the other and went out with Mohamed Hadid for three and a half years. He was a big developer, another millionaire who I was engaged to — he gave me a 6 1/2-karat diamond ring that i gave back to him — but I was hot happy. We split up. Too many people interfering in our relationship — a good-looking, multi-millionaire and a young aspiring actress who had just been running around with Donald Trump. Everyone wanted a piece of us. Two months after I was out of that relationship, Jani had divorced Bobbie Brown, and you remember the big Northridge Earthquake in 1994? Everyone was out of power in the Valley, and the first night we went out after the quake, we went to Bar One on Sunset Boulevard, I think, maybe Hollywood Boulevard.
You mean Bar One on Sunset Boulevard?
LANE: Yeah, we had been stuck in the house for days and that place was open, it was happening. I met Gary Busey there. He was funny. This was before the accident, but he was still a little funny, a little kookie even back then, and we hung out. Anyway, Gary says, “Listen, we’re all gonna go tomorrow to this earthquake relief benefit, like an all-star rock jam,” ‘cause a lot of the bands, the guys were from L.A., so a lot of ‘em had come home from the road, wherever they were, after the Earthquake to be with their wives and kids and stuff, and it was off Sunset Boulevard, there was a benefit jam, like 25 dollars donation and you get free drinks. So like I say, the drinks were free, but then the bartender comes up to me and says,”Excuse me, this gentleman over there wants to buy you a drink.” I said, “But they’re free,” and he said, “His are good, take it,” so then he points over, and it’s Jani Lane doing shots from across the bar. He was giving a big cheers from across the bar. I recognized him from seeing him on TV but just blew it off, but through the night, everywhere I went, he kept falling into my eyesight again, and we ended up talking. He said he was throwing a party that night and me and my friend Mariana should come over.
You fell for that line, Rowanne? That’s the oldest line in the book!
LANE: I figured why not? He said let’s hang out in Tarzana. I told him it was kind of far, so he said,” That’s OK, I’ll come with you to show you the way,” but all I had was a two-seater Jaguar, so he said that my friend could sit on his lap. Anyway, from that moment, we were really into each other. We were joined at the hip. The weird thing is, that night, he told his manager, Obi Steiman (pictured inset), who still has Jani’s catalogue by the way, he told Obi that night that he “was gonna marry that woman.” So eventually I asked Obi about this, how Obi remembered this, and Obi said he remembered it because he was the one who was stuck that night having to drive Jani’s date home! As it turned out, Jani had first been with another girl that night and had made Obi drive her home so he could squeeze in with us. I was like, “You rat. You’re horrible!” Not a lot of people would have done that. It was a horrible thing to do, but that was that. I went out on the road with Warrant to Japan and Amsterdam with Kingdom Come and James Kottak. We finally planned our wedding on the east coast, because both families were on the east coast, Jani’s in Ohio actually, and mine in North Carolina and Florida. We were going to have a big wedding in Las Vegas in a church, because we’re actually both Catholic, but we didn’t do that. I had my ring, a really gorgeous ring, and he went on tour somewhere in Argentina or South America or somewhere, and when he came off the road at the end of the year from that tour, we were sitting on the couch, and Jani said he was happy he was home but that he really wanted to bring in the new year with me as his wife, so we got married in North Carolina on Dec. 23, 1996. We were together 13 years and married for ten years.
LANE: I had actually worked with Bobbie Brown once or twice. We did a commercial together for Miller Lite. It was weird at the time. She was calling Jani Lane for money. I don’t think they had the settlement all nailed down at that point. She told Jani, “I know Rowanne just got a $4,000 check from Miller Lite,” but I had a speaking part, so it’s not the same (scale). It was weird. It got in the middle of everything. We were cordial with each other but never hung out.
She has been selling a lot of Jani’s old belongings, auctioning them off onlne — for charity, it should be pointed out. The online descriptions say it’s for charity.
LANE: I know the family isn’t particularly supportive of that. She should ask the children, the kids first if they want that instead of her doing this.
She does say it’s for charity right there in the listing.
LANE: I can’t imagine that. i don’t know. Maybe it is.
I was close to Jani. We were actually going to write a book together before he died. Do you miss him?
LANE: Jani was definitely legendary. He was extremely talented and wrote all the songs for Warrant, a lot of good songs that sold a lot of records. He was never that happy with the song “Charry Pie.” . . . There were deeper cuts on the albums that he was more attached to, emotionally. We know he was an incredible front man, one of the best front men. He was just so charismatic, and fans loved him, and he loved them, too.
He struggled so much with drinking, though. Towards the end, he kept getting arrested for drunk driving, and during the summers, instead of being out on tour, making money, he was always working on his sobriety.
LANE: He really did try for a while. He didn’t make it. He had two hit and run accidents, and it turned into a disaster. When I filed for divorce, I was really concerned for his well-being because nothing was right and nothing was working. Everyone in the family tried to help, but you know Jani — Jani does what he wants ‘till the end. That’s why he was in a hotel by himself when he died. It was not the first hotel Jani was there drinking by himself. There were times probably where he didn’t care what happened. It was unfortunate, a reckless situation that made everyone concerned for his well-being. It was scary for everyone involved. Even after the divorce, I still spoke to him almost every day. I was speaking to his (third) wife (Kimberly Nash) on a daily basis, too. She didn’t know what to do. My daughter was there, Madison. Jani was my only marriage, and she is our only daughter, Maddie Lane (pictured inset right). She is 18 now.
Is she artistic?
LANE: She’s very artistic, a beautiful little blonde girl. She sang in chorus for all her high school years, and she just got accepted to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which is extremely hard to get into. I’m very proud of her. She graduated with honors, and eventually she is going to go into medicine.
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at email@example.com