How Trucker-Girl Nancy Shevell Became Lady McCartney

Who is this mystery New Jersey-ite dating Sir Paul?

 

113618650 How Trucker Girl Nancy Shevell Became Lady McCartney

Nancy Shevell and Paul McCartney. Photo via Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

On a recent morning in the fifth-floor conference room of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s brick and limestone Madison Avenue headquarters, a public meeting of the board was called to order. The various members representing the audit, governance, bridges and tunnels, finance, and other committees listened patiently as Mark Shotkin, a member of the transit-riding public, made a statement. “Jim and Andrew, your ties are very nice,” he began, spreading a little sugar around the room. “Nancy, your-your-your jacket is very nice,” he added, grinning at Nancy Shevell, the bus committee chairman. Then he got right to the point: “Good morning, everybody, um, garbage and graffiti on platforms and trains—totally disgusting.

Ms. Shevell, who is tall with raven hair that swings glossily from side to side, wore a striped gray and white sweater, black jeans and sandals, along with an indulgent smile. Having served on the M.T.A. for 10 years—spanning four governors—the trucking executive was plainly at home in the boardroom. There was little indication that she is living something of a Cinderella-at-the-ball moment these days. The New Jersey-born daughter of a trucking company owner, she is now betrothed one of the world’s top recording artists, Sir Paul McCartney. Except for the 1925 Cartier solitaire diamond engagement ring (said to have set the Beatle back some $650,000) sparkling on her left hand under the stark fluorescent lighting, however, the future Lady McCartney still seemed like a Jersey girl—an exceedingly self-possessed, relaxed, collegial and well-manicured Jersey girl, but still.

You don’t meet a prince without a fairy godmother, and Ms. Shevell’s romantic coup—he may not be John Lennon, ladies, but he’s not Ringo, either—is said to have been engineered by no less formidable a yenta than The View’s Barbara Walters, who happens to be her second cousin. “Barbara was her emotional confidante and played matchmaker,” a friend of the couple told The Observer. “She gave numerous dinner parties for them and always made sure to invite people she knew that Paul would want to meet.” The friend added that the broadcast vet also coached Ms. Shevell on how to behave around the musician, helping her to beat out a number of other aspirants for Mr. McCartney’s eye, including Rosanna Arquette. Ms. Walters’s strategy was clear: Look at Heather Mills, and do precisely the opposite. “They took a page from the old regime and made sure not to make the same mistakes.” Among other shrewd moves, Ms. Shevell has made a point of wearing Stella’s designs to various parties, ensuring maximum press coverage (Ms. Mills had done the same thing, but Ms. Shevell is said to have done it with more sincerity and panache). She has also pulled back when the media attention heated up. The couple shunned the press at the recent Costume Institute Gala, and at a New York City Ballet party (Sir Paul has collaborated with Peter Martins to write the musical score for a ballet debuting this fall), she tried to steer clear of photographers, one told The Observer. “She told me that she didn’t like to have her picture taken with people she didn’t know,” he said. “And she mentioned that she wasn’t used to the attention.”

Ms. Walters was asked about her role as matchmaker. “We are very close,” she told The Observer, somewhat coyly. “Nancy is like a second child to me. Her two aunts died of cancer. She’s struggled in her life.”

More than that she wasn’t saying. “The thing about Nancy is that she doesn’t want this article,” Ms. Walters explained in her legendary lisp. “She doesn’t want anything to do with publicity. She’s turned down a piece in Vogue.  She doesn’t want anything to do with music.”

No wonder Mr. McCartney likes her.

Nancy Shevell grew up in a Jewish family in Edison, N.J., the middle daughter of Myron and Arlene Shevell. Myron is the owner New England Motor Freight (NEMF), a large haulage company that does more than $400 million in annual revenues. Like Paul’s first wife, Linda McCartney, Arlene fought breast cancer (she died in 1991); Nancy is a survivor of the disease.

The Shevells have been in the trucking industry since the 1920s, when the family business transported seafood from the New Jersey coast to New York (shades of Boardwalk Empire). During the 1960s, Myron started his own business with his brother, Daniel, but they ran afoul of government investigators, and in 1975 were charged with fraud for alleged involvement with the Mafia. The case never went to trial, but the brothers were forced to surrender control of company and went bankrupt. Later that year Daniel Shevell, aged 39, fatally shot himself. In 1988, after buying the struggling trucking company NEMF, Myron Shevell was accused of colluding with Vincent Gigante, the head of the Genovese crime family. It was claimed in a racketeering lawsuit that Mr. Shevell made illegal pay-offs in return for a deal that would allow his company to skirt union rules. Again the case never went to trial, but Mr. Shevell was barred for five years from engaging in union negotiations.

Despite these difficulties, Nancy gravitated toward the family business. According to the one and only interview she’s ever given, a 2002 sit down with the The Newark Star-Ledger, she loved it when her father brought her toy trucks as gifts. “I used to line them up in my room, right next to my Barbies,” she said, adding, “While other kids would go feed ducks at the park, we would go to my father’s truck terminals, to places like Pennsauken, every single weekend.”

A tomboy streak appears to have persisted into high school, where Nancy played for her school’s all-girl football team. Her interests, as listed in her 1977 yearbook, were skiing, flying, Vermont and, curiously, “boobs.” She went onto Arizona State University, where she majored in transportation—the only woman to do so at the time—and met her ex-husband, attorney Bruce Blakeman, with whom she has a son, Arlen, 19.

Mr. Blakeman couldn’t offer a sharper contrast from her current beau. A die-hard Republican who challenged Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010, Mr. Blakeman is probably best-known for an eccentric political ad which featured a “pitch” from his talking pet dog during a short-lived campaign for mayor in 2009. When contacted about Ms. Shevell’s wedding plans, he was gracious. “I wish Nancy and Paul well, and that’s it. Nancy’s a great mother, and Paul treats my son very nicely.”

Ms. Shevell joined her father’s company in 1983, becoming VP for administration in 1986. As a woman in an overwhelmingly male industry, she was put through her paces. In The Star-Ledger, she recalled one dramatic throwdown with a colleague, adding pointedly, “I don’t know where he is right now but I know where I am.”

Ms. Shevell was appointed to serve on the M.T.A. board in 2001 by then-governor George Pataki, an unpaid post. Though her 10-year tenure came to an end in June, so far no seems to be in any rush to replace her.

According to other board members, Ms. Shevell is well-liked by her colleagues, despite having missed a number of the monthly meetings and openly texting in others. She breezes through her agenda items with a certain practiced efficiency and a firm grasp of Robert’s Rules of Order. Eschewing a driver, Ms. Shevell generally takes the bus to M.T.A. meetings, traveling down Fifth Avenue from her apartment on East 83rd Street. Noted one former board member, “She would talk a lot about bus bunching on Fifth and the fact that the subways are so crowded during rush hour.”

Which isn’t to say she’s been a champion of commuters during her years on the board. “She plays for the company team,” said Gene Russianoff, longtime spokesperson for the Straphanger’s Campaign. “During her tenure as bus committee chairman, they eliminated 570 bus stops, which led to worse service. She didn’t publicly fight the budget cuts. She’s not a thorn in the side of the M.T.A.”

 The origin’s of the couple’s romance are murky, despite the efforts of some of Fleet Street’s finest news hounds. (Indeed, Sir Paul, dubbed Macca by the British papers, recently suggested he may have been voice-mail hacked.)

Reportedly, their acquaintance goes back some 20 years, due to the  proximity of their weekend homes in the Hamptons. (Ms. Shevell’s East Hampton residence, valued at $8 million, is said to be far nicer than Mr. McCartney’s Amagansett getaway.) 

Their romance first became public in 2007, when The Sun reported that they’d been spotted at a South Fork sushi spot. Afterward, the story noted, “Macca put his arm around Nancy after he drove her home—and they kissed tenderly.” Ms. Shevell was legally separated at the time, and Mr. McCartney was busy disentangling himself from his troubled romance with Ms. Mills.

The tabloids also breathlessly reported on a road trip they took in the summer of 2008 on Route 66 crossing seven states in an ’89 Ford Bronco, and another jaunt to Anguilla after the deaths of Nancy’s older brother, Jon, from a drug overdose, and Neil Aspinall, the Beatles’ road manager.

The couple’s engagement was announced on May 6 of this year. The wedding will be in London—a low-key affair (as these things go) with just a few friends and family members present.

And after that? Ms. Shevell has been quoted by The New York Post as saying that she’d love to live here in New York but that they would most likely wind up in England. That’s where the story may diverge from the usual fairy tale. Despite Sir Paul’s fortune of well over a billion dollars, he is famously stingy. (A source close to the couple noted with an eye-roll that during the couple’s courtship, Nancy always bought her own plane tickets to the U.K.) His estate in Peasmarsh, Sussex, might be set on 1,500 acres for privacy reasons, but it’s no palace by any stretch. Moreover, it’s isolated. Ms. Shevell can anticipate a lot of nights watching the telly.

And when she does go out, sources say, she will have her work cut out for her. “Confident, independent women who come over here with money will not have many friends,” warned Helen Kirwan-Taylor, an American journalist whose husband runs a hedge fund in London. “The last thing you can be here is threatening to other women. The things that open doors in New York shut them in England.”

After the M.T.A. meeting, Ms. Shevell told The Observer that she didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. “It’s just not that intriguing,” she said. “Not like his last marriage, which was really intriguing. I’m over 50. I work. That’s it. I haven’t been social and I have a small group of girlfriends. There really isn’t much to talk about.”

She smiled, pushing through the door out to Madison Avenue—presumably late for a bus.

dprince@observer.com

 

Comments

  1. Martine says:

    She’s lovely and she looks a lot like Olivia Harrison.   But does she also write lyrics?   Sir Macca loves collaborating with his lovers, so can we expect some McCartney-Shevell compositions?

    Ideas for title:

    Truck On The Run
    Listen To What The RepairMan Says
    Fool On The Truck
    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Truck

  2. she seems to be a dacent woman and he deserves happyness after all what he’s been through,good luck to them,and keep rocking Paul.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just paiid $21.86 for an i P a d2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her

    Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.74 there arriving tomorrow

    by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again.

    Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $658 which

    only cost me $62.80 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from,
    http://EgoWin.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why is it a bad thing that Nancy paid for her own plane tickets to the UK? Why wouldn’t she if she was the one traveling? It’s not like she can’t afford it. And I’m sure Paul paid for his tickets to the U.S. How does her paying her own way — like most modern women do — imply that he’s stingy?  You’re stretching there for something to be snotty about.

    I’d marry McCartney over Lennon any day. Lennon was never faithful to either of his wives, including the one he claimed was his soul mate, while Paul and Linda had a devoted 30-year partnership that would probably be ongoing today if not for her cancer.

  5. Lucy says:

    So you’re saying Nancy’s interested in “boobs”, has “girlfriends”, and has a tomboy streak? What’s that implying? That “boob” comment is especially interesting… And what’s wrong with Ringo? I like John but he’s a bit of a mess, like the person below me I’d take Paul over John any day. 

    1. Ray Townsend says:

      I just paid $24,97 for an iPad2 and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $37,74 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $71,32 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, MetaCent.com

    2. Anonymous says:

      I’m guessing the “boobs” thing is a joke because she’s small chested, and was probably teased about that in high school.

      Nothing wrong with being a tomboy. There are lots of us out there. ;)

  6. jocelyn says:

    I wish them well. Paul deserves it, but John was KING.

  7. Kmetcalf08 says:

    You’re right. He is no John Lennon. He’s Paul fucking McCartney. And enough with downing Ringo, already.

    1. Lucy says:

      It’s so annoying how John is treated and remembered so much more than Paul. John himself said he wasn’t interested in being a dead hero. But unfortunately (and fortunately), that’s what he is. Too bad he can’t be a living legend like Paul. And I’m tired of Ringo always being the butt of the jokes when it come to the beatles.WTH are the english thinking to knight these showbiz types who I’ve and most of the population have never heard of like Sir Bruce and not Ringo. He’s a damn good drummer and just as much a member of the beatles as the others. And who hasn’t heard of them? But they’ll probably just wait till he’s dead to remember or make tributes to him. 

  8. Diane Schulz says:

    I wish both of them all the peace and happiness they deserve

  9. Annie311 says:

    McCartney is a notorious tightwad.  A billionaire who has been known to stiff Hamptons’ bartenders on drink tips.  That Shevell was both able and willing to pay her own expenses was surely a huge part of her appeal after he had to fork over $50 million to Mills.

    Walters and Shevell must be cackling with delight over the success of their plan to reel in a rich, famous and needy old man who has personally been devastated by one wife’s death and a very nasty, high-profile divorce from another.  Isn’t it great what a gal can do when she puts her mind to it?

    1. Kmetcalf08 says:

      That’s the most sexist comment I have ever heard coming from a woman about another woman. 

    2. Dc48foto says:

      NEEDY OLD MAN?  You are delusional

  10. Kmetcalf08 says:

    Seriously, I am so tired of people calling McCartney a tightwad. I guess paying for Horst Fascher’s daughter’s heart defect treatments (about $190,000 worth) were part of a stingy nature, as was helping Robert Fraser out when he had AIDS. And the best part about him helping them…he told no one he did it. Other people (Horst Fascher, for one) did. How’s that for stingy? Just because he doesn’t throw money around at every single person he has ever met does not mean he is stingy. Do YOU always leave a 15% tip every time you go somewhere? Get off your high horses, and act like celebrities are actual people. Why does hardly anyone ever have anything nice to say about people anymore? 

    1. J P Stevens 77 says:

      I only leave a 15% tip if the service is not so good.  But I’m not from Europe, and I HAVE worked for tips, so I do understand how it works. As for a billionaire helping a friend with $190,000, that’s the same, proportionately, of someone with a net worth of $1 million helping a friend with $190. (A billion is a thousand million).  Not really that big a deal…

      1. NC says:

        But how many people DO give money?  I can imagine that there are a lot of people on here who don’t “do” charity….

        They get slammed if they do, slammed if they don’t and slammed if they do and don’t telll about it. 

        I hope that they have a great life together.

  11. Dc48foto says:

    The last thing I would say about Paul is that he’s stingy. FAR FROM IT ON ALL LEVELS.  Maybe he prefers to live a down-to-earth lifestyle (as he did with Linda and his kids) and not live extravagently.  They seem like a very happy couple which is far better than Heather was for Paul. I dont think its right to downplay Ringo or John in this piece.  I did not know that Nancy took the bus to her MTA meetings, but I hate the MTA and what they’ve done to New Yorkers wallets. I wish them both love and happiness.

    1. Mike Fara says:

      John caught a lot of flack for living in the Dakota but its a pretty simple gothic building on the Upper West Side. Most of The Beatles have lived a pretty down to earth lifestyle. Not Spartan by any means, but there is no reason to criticize him for wanting some privacy.

    2. Anonymous says:

      The guy gives her a $650,000 engagement ring and he’s stingy? 

  12. Pam G says:

    “He may not be John Lennon…but he’s not Ringo either” ????? What bull. He’s Paul McCartney. Absolutely all anyone needs to know. You’ve got a lot of nerve.

  13. Pam G says:

    “he may not be John Lennon, ladies, but he’s not Ringo, either”!!!!!!! He’s
    Paul McCartney. That”s absolutely all you need to know. You’ve got a lot of nerve. 

  14. Sean says:

    I don’t understand why ‘journalists’ such as this one have to throw digs into their stories. I think Daisy’s commentary comes across as petty and jealous. It’s nice to see that the other posters have picked this up too. Get your own life Daisy and I hope that if you find a boyfriend from the UK that he makes you buy your own plane tickets, it might help remove your entitled attitude.

  15. joames says:

    Good for the Jews they can grab hold of that fortune for their clan! Well done!

  16. Lk says:

    You’re right, he’s not John Lennon, he’s Paul McCartney some bit better as in looking , in music, and in being a husband.  Be glad Nancy!

  17. CoolidgeJ says:

    I like her looks Good luck and best wishes to them both

  18. Melliforte says:

    Ah, my fondest fantasy since 1964 (before I started kindergarten).  Lucky, lucky Nancy. May her joys with beautiful Paul be unbounded!

  19. D says:

    Seems like this chick’s family has a lot of New York mafia friends.  You don’t survive for long in the big leagues trucking business without helping out the Boys.   The thrifty Scouser had better be generous with her or he might end up at the bottom of the Hudson wearing a pair of concrete wellies.

    1. Angelo R. Mozilo says:

      Or whacked with a silver hammer

      and the county judge who held a grudge will search forevermore

  20. Jd says:

    yea daisy go fuck ur nigger boyfriend now hore

  21. Let’s hope Paul has found the right woman this time. he didn’t do too well with the last gold digger. From what I have read and seen of Nancy it all looks good and I wish them happiness….

  22. Pivotalplanning says:

    An “American Heiress”????  How about an American Mob Princess!  The media is so ridiculous.  

  23. Mikebasha says:

    Lol, really observer? Trucker-girl. Shes an American Heiress!

  24. Jamesfranktinervia says:

    CONGRATS!   may God bless you both and ensure your happiness forever,Mr.James F. Tinervia of  13991 Grouse Ln.,shelby township mi.U S A

  25. Bill says:

    I didnt like how he blew of Howard Stern in front of his kid

  26. Angelo R. Mozilo says:

    She wouldn’t last a minute against those Ice Road chicks

  27. truckrental says:

    there are things that all we have  to  do is to focus on the things that we might be on to have  a life where gladness is what we are.

  28. truckrentals says:

    always start up your move with a good thing that you should carry on, and make that for the good of yours and to others.

  29. elan sunstar says:

    Paul –a global inspiration and treasure– has a new love
    Story over  
    he is happy and well deserves it and Nancy seems quite balanced ..
    The rest is oersinal commentary..
    bravo!

  30. Styxnstones says:

    Daisy, you write like a bitch.
    “You don’t meet a prince without a fairy godmother, and Ms. Shevell’s romantic coup—he may not be John Lennon, ladies, but he’s not Ringo, either—”
    I mean like WOW. I didn’t know newreporters could get something SO DAMN WRONG. Oh I’m sorry, did you not know Paul McCartney did essentially EVERYTHING for the band and John helped? Probably not because it sounds like you’re terribly biased and don’t know anything about the band. But hey, it’s cool, not everybody revolves around what you like so why would you even consider reading about the band that caused literally a REVOLUTION in world society. But no it’s okay, I understand, you’re just bad at what you do. But hey, don’t read up on what you’re writing right? What good would THAT do? I seriously couldn’t stand to read most of this article.
    So I didn’t.

  31. Mermaid says:

    I seriously hope that we don’t have to refer to her as a Lady?  I think it is beyond my sensibilities to call a mafia moll, “Lady”.  Alth0ugh the skit from Little Britain comes to mind.  I don’t think that the Queen would feel comfortable with handing out such honours to a woman so closely linked to the fear and exploitation of people.  I think that a title should be earned -not inherited as we move through the upper eschelons of power?  Paul has earned that right.  Linda definitely earned the right – Nancy Girl has a long and winding road to get close – even if she drives her own trucking millions down the road.

    I know that she is rich within her own right and does not need to work and let’s be honest, being in a honorary position on the board is not really working eight days a week!  I feel that there is a Neptunian haze here – one of illusion and disillusion.  I hope for both their sakes that the fog doesn’t lift before they find some happiness.  I can’t imagine how she will look in her daggy trackies walking barefoot on the farm – now that makes me smile :)

  32. Westhudsonpark says:

    It’s so coincidental how Linda Mccartney & Nancy Shevelle were/are both victims of breast cancer. I believe Linda had it one time before, & was in remission for a few years before it reoccured. Hopefully, the same thing will not happen to Nancy. Unlike Heather, Nancy is too old to have a baby with Paul. I hope this marriage will last for Paul. He did seem to have an awful time with Heather, & hopefull will never have to go through that again.

  33. Sandeana says:

    I know there are a couple of comments here that are a little PO’d that Ringo is often made fun of. But let’s face it. The guy is homely.  Extreme homely. If my dog had a face like his, I would shave her a$$, & make her walk backwards.