Rod's first love last night wished him a happy birthday and gasped: 'I can't believe he's 60 but he's still sexy.' Former model Dee Harrington revealed the rocker, who is marking his 60th with a Caribbean cruise with lover Penny Lancaster and his kids, partied non-stop when they were together.
But as Rod's fame grew, his champagne lifestyle tore them apart - especially after she caught him in the arms of actress Britt Ekland.
Dee, now 55, spent five years with Rod in the mid-70s, witnessing his transition from Faces frontman to solo superstar.
Although he had dated beauties before, Dee was the first girl he lived with and proposed to. She said: 'Rod's still got that twinkle in his eye and a great sense of humour which makes him very attractive. I'm not surprised he is still a sex symbol - even at his age.'
The couple met at a party in Los Angeles, where Dee, then 18, was staying with a friend while she looked for modelling work.
Her mate knew Faces drummer Kenny Jones and he put them on the guest list of an aftershow party.
Dee said: 'Rod was peeling women off him. He was wearing a white suit and girls were hurling themselves in his direction.'
Despite this, the husky-voiced singer appeared shy when, at the end of the night, he asked her to dance.
Dee said: 'Once I went on to the dancefloor with him, that was it. I never got back to my friend and I hardly ever left his side.'
She immediately moved into his north London home. Out of the limelight, she loved that he was just an ordinary bloke who liked the pub and playing Saturday afternoon football.
His parents lived in a council house down the road and his passion for models at that time was still confined to miniature trains.
Dee said: 'Rod used to build the line and the landscape himself, glueing it, spraying it, sanding it down. Alongside football, it was his big thing.'
After Maggie May became a No.1 smash in 1971, the couple were forced to move to escape the groupies and Rod bought a 36-room home in Ascot.
He often whisked Dee up to Scotland to attend football matches, where they rubbed shoulders with legends Kenny Dalglish and Denis Law.
Dee said: 'He idolised Denis and we had him down to the house a few times. Rod was in awe of him.' At the time they met, Dee was starting out in the modelling world and just beginning to make a name for herself. But Rod's possessive streak put an end to her career as she became engulfed by his celebrity.
Rod proposed on a trip to New York. Dee said: 'We were canoodling in our hotel bedroom, when he just blurted out, 'Will you marry me?' 'It was really unusual at the time, nobody got married in the 70s, but Rod was old-fashioned.'
At 21, Dee was happy to keep it as along engagement. She is glad now that she did. She joked: 'Imagine if I'd married Rod. I'd be spending my Christmases with him and our kids - as one of his many ex-wives.'
Dee grew increasingly unhappy with Rod's showbiz lifestyle.
The final straw came when he accused her of having an affair when she refused to fly out to join him in the US where he was on tour.
Eventually she did travel to Los Angeles and was shocked to spot her fianc going into a nightclub.
She said: 'I went inside, to find him with his arm around Britt Ekland. I screamed, 'What do you think you're doing?' 'But he just looked at me coolly and said, 'It works both ways.' I stormed out and flew home the next day. That was the end of us.'
Dee, who now runs her own music company and is setting up a diet and fitness firm called The Body Business, last bumped into Rod in 1999 at the Ivor Novello Awards.
She said: 'I went over and said, 'Hello, what are you doing here?' 'He said, 'I'm getting a lifetime achievement award for being a wanker.' 'We laughed. It was nice to see he still had his sense of humour.'
Rod's proud sister Mary Cady said the star would be happy with a pair of socks as a birthday present.
Mary, who will join Rod, girlfriend Penny Lancaster and his kids on their Caribbean cruise this week, said: 'He likes to know you're thinking of him.'
And she revealed Rod has no fears about his age.
Mary said: 'Rod's looking forward to celebrating another birthday. Getting older does not worry him at all.'
Rod will enjoy time on the cruise with Kimberley, 24, and Sean, 23, from first marriage to Alana Hamilton; Ruby, 16, his daughter by ex-girlfriend Kelly Emberg; and his kids by last wife Rachel Hunter, Renee, 11, and Liam, nine.
Rod's brothers Don and Bobby and Penny's mum Sally, also join the rest of the family this week.