Kelley South and Kid Rock had a son together in 1993. The couple met in the eighth grade in Michigan in 1985.
Rock has said that he raised the couple’s son as a single father. The singer has also said that the couple lived with each other as Rock believed that two of South’s three children were his. Rock says the pair split in 1993 after he learned that only Robert Ritchie Jr. was his biological child. A 1994 paternity suit proved that Rock was the father of Robert Jr.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. South Sued Rock Over His Song That Detailed Their Relationship; South Said the Lyrics Were ‘Untrue’ & ‘Hurtful’
Rock referenced his relationship with South in the 2000 song, “Black Chick, White Guy” from his album, “Devil Without a Cause.” Rock sang in the song that he came from the middle class and that South came from a “broken home.” Rock said South’s mother was an alcoholic who had three children by three different men.
The song was featured on Rock’s 1996 album, “Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp.” It was re-recorded in 2000. The song says that South became pregnant when the pair were in the 9th grade. Rock sings that South had an abortion. Later, while South was dating a black drug dealer, according to Rock, and Rock, South became pregnant again with a baby girl. Rock says that he raised the child as his own until he realized the truth.
South has long denied that the contents of the song are truthful and even filed suit against Rock because of it. South alleged in July 2000 that the song “invaded her privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress” and said the song “contains several graphic, inflammatory, untrue, hurtful remarks.” Rock wrote in the song that South “had no man, no money and no clue.”
2. Despite Rock’s Commercial Success, a Judge Ordered that South Had to Pay Him $25 in Child Maintenance in 2000
The couple’s custody battle first made news in October 2000 when a judge ruled that South, who had the time worked at an auto plant for Ford, was required to pay Rock $25 per week in child maintenance. The Ford company footing the bill for the child’s medical coverage. The custody battle began in December 1999 when Rock attempted to change the terms of the couple’s custody arrangement in order to see his son more. Rock has had full custody since 1995. After a court investigator said that South had a drinking problem and alleged that she had once stabbed Rock in the leg with a knife.
The Associated Press quoted South’s lawyer, Kathy Vogt, as saying of the case in February 2000, “We’d like to see him with his mom, rather than in the care of some nanny or his parents while he’s away. She’s a great mother, as she has been to her two other children.” Vogt also accused Rock of not adhering to an agreement where if he was out of town, their son would be cared for by South. While Rock’s lawyers argued that South did not fulfill her custody arrangements.
3. Rock Said in 2007 That He & South Were on Good Terms
Rock told Rolling Stone in October 2007 about his relationship with South in the 1980s in Michigan saying, “At the time, it was very weird to have a black-and-white relationship.” The article notes that around the time he met South, Rock “gravitated toward the black kids.” Rock said at the time of the interview that he and South were on good terms following a lengthy custody battle.
Kid Rock’s sound engineer Bob Ebeling told the Detroit Free Press in 2015 that Rock was “emotionally torn up” upon learning that South’s daughter was not biologically one of his children.
In 2015, Rock and South became grandparents as Robert Ritchie Junior’s fiancee gave birth to their baby daughter.
4. Rock’s Son Has Used in the Past to Deflect From Racism Allegations
In 2017, when Kid Rock was accused of being a racist by TV host Jemele Hill. A Washington Examiner op-ed was published titled, “ESPN host accuses Kid Rock of racism. Maybe she should talk to Rock’s black son.”
Rock once told Howard Stern that the reason he split from Pamela Anderson was because of the impact that relationship was having on his relationship with his son.
5. Rock Has Called His Son His Greatest Inspiration
Rock told the Independent in 2008, “My greatest inspiration… My son, in every way. He inspires me to get up in the morning, and in some regards he has made me more careful. Children can balance you out sometimes, which is something I was seriously in need of.”
During the same interview, Rock said of Oprah Winfrey, “She rubs me up the wrong way. I just don’t believe her. Maybe it’s because I’m not one of the 150 million brainwashed women who heed her every word.”