Country music star Kenny Rogers died on March 20 at the age of 81. Rogers’ family announced his death online, saying, “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee had an impactful career that spanned more than six decades with hits like “The Gambler,” “Coward Of The Country,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Lucille,” “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Through the Years.”
Here’s what you need to know about Kenny Rogers’ family:
1. He Was Married 5 Times, Each Marriage Lasting Longer Than the Previous One
The legendary country music singer married five times. He married his first wife, Janice Gordon, in 1958, and they divorced in 1960. He married Jean Rogers in 1960 and they were married until 1963.
He then married Margo Anderson in 1964. That marriage lasted 12 years, until their divorce in 1976. Rogers married Marianne Gordon in 1977, and they were together until their divorce in 1993.
Rogers married his fifth wife, Wanda Miller, in 1997. It wasn’t Wanda’s first marriage either as she had divorced her first husband in 1994.
During an interview, Rogers said:
And this may seem like an absurd statement, but every woman I married, I really loved when I married her. And I don’t blame them for the marriage falling apart. I blame myself and my chosen field of music. That’s why I say that music is a mistress, because you can’t wait to get out there to it, and usually the mistress wins in a situation like that. That’s kind of what happened to me. Hey, you can’t say I’m afraid of commitment. I’ve been married five times.
2. Rogers Has 5 Kids, Including Twin Boys
Kenny Rogers has five kids. He and his first wife Janice had a child named Carole together before their divorce. He had a second child, Kennedy, with his third wife Margo. Rogers had a third child, named Christopher, with his fourth wife Marianne.
He had twin boys, Justin and Jordan, with his fifth wife Wanda in 2004. His twin boys accompanied him on many tours while they were growing up, and he had had them sing on stage. Here is a video of Justin and Jordan performing beside their father:
3. He Was Married Over 22 Years to Wanda Miller
According to Country Rebel’s profile of Rogers, he met his fifth wife, Wanda Miller, at a restaurant in Atlanta where she was hosting. They wrote that he went in for dinner to meet a blind date, but later he called the restaurant to ask about Wanda. They married on June 1, 1997, in Georgia at Rogers’ ranch.
In a 2012 interview, Rogers said “She is truly my soul mate. She knows me better than anyone has ever known me before. We’ve been together for 20 years… I have such great respect for her as a mother… The boys are so lucky to have her and so am I.”
She is 28 years younger than Rogers, and they were married up to his death on March 19, 2020.
4. The Country Music Star Was Born in Houston & Had 7 Siblings
Rogers was born in Houston on August 21, 1938. He was the fourth of eight children, born to Lucille Lois and Edward Floyd Rogers. His mother was a nurse’s assistant and his father was a carpenter.
His ancestry is Irish and Native American. In an interview about his memoir, Luck or Something Like It, Rogers shared his father’s problems with alcoholism and how it affected his childhood: “I think that one of the real tragedies in my life is that I never really got to know why my dad drank.”
Rogers continued, “He couldn’t really support his family and I think it just broke him down. It breaks my heart that I didn’t know that before he passed away.” He added that because of his father’s alcohol issues, he never drank himself.
5. He Had a Pet Goat Named Smitty Who Was His Animal Companion
According to a music website’s profile of Rogers, he had a pet goat named Smitty. He shared in interviews that Smitty would live at his home in Georgia and was a calming presence for the musician.
He got the goat in 2008, and developed such a strong bond with him that he said Smitty was “his center.”