Chris Stein facts: Blondie guitarist's age, family, health and career explained

11 July 2024, 10:17

Chris Stein in 1980
Chris Stein in 1980. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Chris Stein, the co-founder and guitarist of Blondie, is a key figure in the world of rock music.

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He’s not just known for his guitar skills but also for his role in shaping the band’s unique sound that blended punk, disco, and new wave.

Born in Brooklyn, Chris Stein’s passion for music and art was evident from a young age. His partnership with Debbie Harry, both personal and professional, has been central to Blondie’s success.

Together, they created timeless hits like ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘Call Me’, which still resonate today. Beyond music, Chris is an accomplished photographer, capturing iconic moments of the punk scene in New York.

  1. How old is Chris Stein?

    Chris Stein and Debbie Harry in 2019
    Chris Stein and Debbie Harry in 2019. Picture: Getty

    Chris Stein was born on January 5, 1950, which makes him 74 years old as of 2024.

    He was born in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Ben and Estelle Stein.

  2. How did he get his start in music and when were Blondie formed?

    Blondie (Clockwise from top left, guitarist Chris Stein, singer Debbie Harry, bass player Nigel Harrison, drummer Clem Burke, guitarist Frank Infante and keyboard player Jimmy Destri)
    Blondie (Clockwise from top left, guitarist Chris Stein, singer Debbie Harry, bass player Nigel Harrison, drummer Clem Burke, guitarist Frank Infante and keyboard player Jimmy Destri). Picture: Getty

    Chris Stein got his start in music during his teenage years, playing in various bands and immersing himself in the vibrant New York City music scene.

    His big break came when he met Debbie Harry in the early 1970s. Together, they formed Blondie in 1974.

    The original lineup of Blondie included Debbie Harry on vocals, Chris Stein on guitar, Clem Burke on drums, Jimmy Destri on keyboards, and Gary Valentine on bass. Over time, the lineup saw changes, but this core group was instrumental in establishing Blondie's distinctive sound.

    Blondie broke up in 1982 after enjoying significant success with hits like 'Heart of Glass' and 'Rapture'. The breakup was due to a combination of factors, including personal pressures and Chris Stein's health issues. However, the band reunited in 1997 and has continued to make music and tour, demonstrating their lasting impact on the music world.

  3. Was he in a relationship with Debbie Harry?

    Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in 1987
    Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in 1987. Picture: Getty

    Chris Stein's relationship with Debbie Harry began in the early days of Blondie and lasted for many years.

    They were not only partners in life but also creatively, with their collaboration being a significant force behind Blondie's success.

    Although they eventually separated romantically in the late 1980s, they have remained close friends and professional partners, continuing to work together in the band.

  4. What health issues has he faced?

    Chris Stein has faced significant health challenges, particularly in the early 1980s when he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called pemphigus vulgaris.

    This condition causes blistering of the skin and mucous membranes, leading to a prolonged period of illness and recovery for Stein.

    The severity of his condition was one of the factors that contributed to Blondie's breakup in 1982, as he needed to focus on his health. Fortunately, with treatment, he was able to manage the disease and eventually return to music.

    His resilience and determination have been inspirational, allowing him to continue creating and performing despite these challenges.

  5. Is he married and does he have kids?

    Chris Stein and Barbara Sicuranza in 2006
    Chris Stein and Barbara Sicuranza in 2006. Picture: Getty

    Chris Stein married actress Barbara Sicuranza in 1999.

    Together, they had two daughters, Akira and Valentina.

    Tragically, in July 2023, Stein confirmed that Akira had died in May, having struggled with substance abuse.