To avoid prison time, Don McLean 70, pleaded guilty this week to assaulting his estranged wife. His charges will be dropped if he stays out of trouble for twelve months.
At first he said it never happened, that she was lying, but later changed his mind when jail time became a real possibility.
He was arrested in January after an incident at his home. His wife was filing for divorce and the legal papers cited 'adultery, cruel and abusive treatment and irreconcilable differences.'
His wife and children in happier times
They had been married for 30 years.
McLean's original manuscript and notes to American Pie sold at auction last year for $1.2 million.