Carly Simon and James Taylor reigned as folk-rock’s power couple in the 1970s and early ’80s. Now, more than 30 years after their turbulent split, Simon says her love for Taylor endures – even if it’s not reciprocated.
“I still want to heal him, I still want to make him all right,” Simon tells PEOPLE, while confirming that the two do not speak. “And I love him so much.”
Simon, now 70, chronicles their tempestuous relationship in her new memoir to be released later this month, Boys in the Trees, and says the process of writing the book helped her examine their connection anew.
Married in 1972, the pair had two children – Ben 38, and Sally, 41 – before splitting in 1983 following Taylor’s addiction to heroin and infidelities on both sides. Simon continues to live in the Martha’s Vineyard home they once shared.
Simon went on to marry poet Jim Hart in 1987, but “he turned out to be gay,” she says, adding that they remain “great friends” after their divorce in 2007. For the past nine years she has dated Martha’s Vineyard surgeon Richard Koehler.
Decades earlier, she was romantically linked to a number of famous men, including Warren Beatty – whom she has now revealed is the subject of the second verse of “You’re So Vain” – Jack Nicholson, Mick Jagger and Cat Stevens.
She revealed to PEOPLE that she had a six-month affair with John Travolta. “He was more wonderful to me than any of them,” she says.
Taylor, however, is the one who sticks with her.
“My incredible loyalty to him, in spite of the fact that he has treated me without any regard, has been so painful to me for so long,” she admits. “But, through the course of writing the book, I really started to understand that I could love and not be loved. And that was the big realization for me, that it doesn’t have to be a two-way street.”
Her ex’s reasons for not talking to her remain a mystery: “I think, ‘What did I do?’ The answer is I don’t know.”
What’s clear is that she was smitten with Taylor even before they ever met.
“I saw his picture on the cover of TIME magazine when I was walking home with my sister and I said, ‘I’m gonna marry that man.’ And that really happened,” she explains. “And I thought, ‘How did I know?’ Probably every other girl in the world was hoping for the same thing. Why did it happen to me? Was it predestined? Why did it happen that I’m still living in this house which was his?”
For much more on Carly Simon, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
After her painful split from Taylor, Simon says she sought relief in drugs.
“When James and I parted I tried to get addicted. On pain pills, and Quaaludes which were around in those days. I didn’t ever do anything like drink or do coke or anything like that. I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I ever really got addicted,” she says. “I think it’s just not in my genes.”
She also denies that Taylor’s drug addiction was the driving force in their split.
“Anything could have happened,” she says. “If it hadn’t been the drugs, if the demons that were in him went someplace other than drugs, it would have been something other than drugs that would have been difficult to live with I think too.”