Heather Louise McCartney (née See) was born December 31, 1962 in Tucson, Arizona to Linda McCartney (née Eastman) and Joseph Melville See Jr., an American geologist. She is the adoptive daughter of Paul McCartney.
McCartney's parents divorced after only eighteen months of marriage, because See had taken off for Africa and expected his wife and daughter to follow. Linda See refused, and sent a letter to her husband stating that she wanted a divorce. After raising her daughter on her own in New York City for several years, Linda McCartney married Paul McCartney of The Beatles in 1969, when her daughter was six years old. That same year, she was formally adopted by Paul McCartney through legal process (and prior consent from See, her biological father) and took the McCartney name. Also in 1969, McCartney appeared in the last Beatles movie, Let It Be. She has stated that although See had a lifelong influence on her, she considers Paul McCartney to be her father.
A sister, Mary, was born in 1969, followed by another sister, Stella, in 1971 and a brother, James, in 1977. Heather's former stepmother Heather Mills is five years younger than she. She has a much younger half-sister, Beatrice Milly McCartney, born to Paul McCartney and Heather Mills on October 28, 2003. She has five nephews and one niece: Mary's three sons Arthur Alistair Donald (born 3 April 1999), Elliot Donald (born 1 August 2002) and Sam Aboud (born 11 August 2008). Stella's two sons Miller Alasdhair James Willis (born 25 February 2005) and Beckett Robert Lee Willis (born January 8, 2008, and her daughter Bailey Linda Olwyn Willis (born 8 December 2006).
Beginning shortly after the birth of Stella in 1971, McCartney and her siblings accompanied their famous parents around the world with their successful rock group Wings. This continued until 1980 when the band stopped touring. She has said that, as a child, she had trouble forming friendships with other children and had difficulty fitting in; she has also said she did not do well in school.
With encouragement from her mother, she took up printing at the Photographers' Workshop in Covent Garden, and was talented enough to win the Young Black and White Printer of the Year Award in Ilford for a photo she called "Waterfall." Her success encouraged her to go on to art college, where she discovered a talent for pottery and design.
During the early 1980s, Heather McCartney dated musician Billy Idol.
In her twenties, Heather McCartney was hospitalized in a clinic for treatment of an emotional disorder. A few years after her release, she traveled to Mexico with very little money and spent several months living among natives of the Huichol and Tarahumara tribes. She felt liberated by this experience.
Later, McCartney moved to Arizona to live with See, where she became even more interested in ceramics. She later returned to England to work as a potter. Her pottery is now famous and critically acclaimed in the United Kingdom.
In 1995, McCartney's mother Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer and died on April 17, 1998, in Tucson, Arizona.
To date, McCartney remains a prominent potter and designer, with exhibitions in New York City, Phoenix, Tokyo, Paris and Sydney, and has been described by Wedgewood as "one of Britain's most exciting new talents." In 1999, Heather unveiled a line of houseware products in Atlanta, Georgia called the Heather McCartney Houseware Collection. She was accompanied by Paul McCartney.
In line with the beliefs of her parents, and siblings, Heather has interests in ecology, animal rights and native peoples. McCartney practices Catholicism.
Currently, Heather McCartney lives on Paul McCartney's Sussex estate in England, where she maintains a low profile and continues to work as a potter.