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Elaine Irwin

Birthplace: Gilbertsville, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Wife of Jay Penske

Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elaine Irwin

Elaine Irwin (born August 26, 1969) is an American model, and formerly worked as the face of Almay Cosmetics and Ralph Lauren.

Early life and career

Elaine Irwin was born in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. She left home when she was 16 to pursue a modeling career. After her photo appeared in Seventeen in 1985, the Boyertown honor student and varsity letter-winner in track and cross country was a much sought-after face for magazine covers, advertisements and commercials. In 1989 she appeared in New Order's music video Round & Round. Within a few years, she became one of the Ford Models and had graced the cover of dozens of fashion magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Self and Elite. Her American Beauty Vogue cover was shot by Richard Avedon.

She made her move onto the runway for Victoria's Secret and Calvin Klein and soon became a favorite subject of photographers Herb Ritts, Irving Penn, and Steven Meisel for her natural, soft look.

Irwin became the first woman to drive the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 in May 2001. She was also an at-large delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Personal life

Elaine was 23 when she married musician John Mellencamp on September 5, 1992. The two met when she was hired to appear on the cover of Mellencamp's Whenever We Wanted album (and appear in the music video for "Get A Leg Up".) Within 10 weeks, they were engaged. The couple has two sons.

On December 30, 2010, it was announced that she and John Mellencamp were separating after eighteen years of marriage, but both were choosing to stay in Indiana to raise their two children. Elaine Irwin moved to Los Angeles soon after. On January 14, 2011 John Mellencamp filed for divorce and requested that Elaine be returned to her maiden name 'Irwin'. On August 12, 2011 their divorce was finalized.

In October 2012 Elaine became engaged to Indy car team owner Jay Penske, who is nine years her junior. They had a daughter in May 2013.

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Elaine Irwin's Timeline

August 26, 1969
Gilbertsville, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States