Tonight A&E is airing a two-hour special about country music superstar Willie Nelson’s 70-year career. The special will feature tribute performances, interviews and more. Nelson has been married four times and had three children with his first wife, Martha Matthews.
In addition to the performances, the special will show interviews about Nelson’s career and exclusive behind-the-scenes concert footage. All performances for the special were filmed in January 2019.
Prior to the special, a documentary about country music superstar Dolly Parton will be airing. The documentary will take an in-depth look into Parton’s rags-to-riches story and talk about her decades-long career in the music industry.
Nelson has been married four times and has seven children.
Nelson Met Matthews at 18 Years Old
At just 18 years old, Willie Nelson was drafted into the Air Force. He ended up training with the Force for nine months before he was medically discharged and headed back home to Waco, Texas.
He met Matthews at a drive-in burger restaurant. At the time, she was a 16-year-old waitress who instantly caught Nelson’s eye. Later, Nelson opened up about how he felt going into the relationship.
“It was love – my first full blast of love, the kind of love where you lose your mind and let your heart lead the way,” he said. He was just 19 when they got married, and Matthews was 16 years old.
By the time Matthews gave birth to their first child, she suspected that Nelson had been cheating on her.
The relationship was not ideal for Nelson. He later said that she tied him up “in ropes” and beat him with a broom. They divorced in 1962.
Nelson does not refer to his ex-wives as his exes because he still considers each one of them a member of his family.
“You don’t have to be selfish because your ambition and drive is for your family members as much as for yourself. Along the way you pick up wives and kids and you are responsible for them,” Nelson told The Telegraph. “You don’t discard them. There is no such thing as ex-wives, only additional wives.”
Martha Matthews died around Christmas time in 1989.
The Couple Had Three Children Together
Nelson and Matthew’s eldest daughter is named Lana Nelson. She works as an actress and costume designer according to IMDb.
Their second child, Susie Nelson, wrote a book about her life as Willie Nelson’s daughter. The book is titled Heart Worn Memories: A Daughter’s Personal Biography of Willie Nelson.
The last child the couple had together was Willie “Billy” Hugh Jr. He passed away on Christmas Day in 1991, not long after the release of a gospel song he recorded with his father titled “My Body’s Just a Suitcase For My Soul.” He had been planning to release an album of his gospel music at the time of his death.
“I’ve never experienced anything so devastating in my life,” Nelson told a friend after his son’s passing.
Nelson married his current wife Angie D’Angelo, in 1991. The two met in 1986 when Nelson worked on the made-for-TV Stagecoach movie.
“She’s been with me through thick and thin — you can’t ask for anything more than that,” Nelson told Rolling Stonein 2014.
READ NEXT: Mariah Carey’s Houses: Where She & Her Kids Call Home