Kenny Rogers, the legendary country music icon, died of natural causes at the age of 81. He left behind his loving wife, Wanda Miller, and five children.
His family shared on March 21: “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
He Left Behind Five Children
Kenny Rogers had five children. His son Kenny Rogers, Jr. was born to him and his third wife, Margo Anderson. According to IMDb, Kenny Rogers, Jr. had acting roles including in Christmas in America in 1990 and MacShayne in 1994.
His son Christopher Cody Rogers was born to him and Marianne Gordon in 1982. Christopher works in the entertainment industry as a director and actor, according to IMDb. He’s also worked as a writer, producer, and editor. He was an actor, director, and writer for Two if By Sea and has been part of other projects like The Gambler Returns, Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas to Remember, and more.
Rogers once expressed regret for not being a bigger part of Christopher’s and Kenny Jr.’s lives when they were growing up. In 2013 he told The Boot, “I missed an important part of their life. I look back on my career and I say, ‘Suppose I hadn’t been selfish? Suppose I had been the father I should have been, would I be here today?’ There’s a point where you have to say, ‘It doesn’t matter what I did.'”
Rogers has one daughter, Carole Lynne, from his first marriage to Janice Gordon. She was raised by Janice and her stepfather. Rogers and Gordon divorced after just two years together and Gordon soon remarried. Rogers once told Fox News that he agreed to let Gordon’s new husband raise Carole. He said: “That was my promise to them, that I would be her father but he (his ex-wife’s second husband) would be her Dad, and I don’t want to disrupt that.”
He then had twin sons with his wife Wanda Miller: Justin Charles Rogers and Jordan Edward Rogers, born in 2004. In an interview with Independent, Rogers said he didn’t want any more kids at first. But Miller — who is 28 years younger than Rogers — had never had kids. When they first got married, they both had said they didn’t want children. But Rogers always believed she would eventually want kids. And when she turned 31, she really wanted children. Rogers said he did some soul-searching and realized not agreeing to have children would be unfair to his wife.
Here’s a video of Rogers introducing his wife and twin sons at a concert in 2016.
He Was Married to Wanda Miller When He Died
Before Wanda Miller Rogers, Kenny Rogers’ first marriage was to Janice Gordon from 1958 to 1960. His second marriage was to Jean Rogers from October 1960 to 1963. His third marriage was to Margo Anderson from October 1964 to 1976. In 1977 he married Marianne Gordon, and they were married until 1993.
By the time he married Wanda Miller in 1997, he was ready to be done touring and settle down with his family.
In 2016, he chose to stop touring so he could spend more time with them, CMT reported. He said: “I hope my fans understand that I’m a father first and a singer second… I’m missing some very great parts of my boys’ lives. I know as well as anybody else how that time gets away from you. And I don’t want to miss it. I just worry about how much longer I’m going to be here, and I want to have time to spend with them. It’s pretty simple.”
There’s a 28-year age difference between Rogers and Miller (her parents are two years younger than Rogers.) But with time, her parents realized the two were very much in love. Rogers told them when they first were skeptical of him: “I will make you a promise. I will never lie to her and I will never lie to you.” He held true to that promise and he and her parents became best friends.
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