Colonel Sanders has been given a new romantic twist thanks to Lifetime and KFC’s new movie, A Recipe for Seduction. But just how close is the movie to Sanders’ real-life dating history? What is the true story about his wives and who he was married to? Here’s what you need to know.
He Said of His First Wife: ‘I Married the First & Only Girl I Ever Went With’
You can see a photo of Sanders and his first wife, Josephine, in 1932 on page 20 of an autobiographical cookbook titled: Col. Harland Sanders: The Autobiography of the Original Celebrity Chef. They got divorced in 1947, 39 years after being married, The New Yorker reported. He is also pictured on page 22 with his second wife, Claudia, on their wedding day in 1949.
Sanders said in his autobiographical cookbook that he was 18 when he first got married and 19 when he had his first child, Margaret. He wrote: “I met Josephine in Jasper, Alabama. I married the first and only girl I ever went with. She wasn’t going to school or teaching. She was just a home girl. Her daddy was a merchant in that town.”
He said he had to train Josephine to cook because her mother had never taught her. “Her family had always hired cooks,” he explained. “…. She used to say she’d never marry another man who knew how to cook. She meant I criticized everything she did.”
In the autobiographical cookbook, he said he had to change jobs a lot when he was younger. “My wife wouldn’t come with me because she said I was jumping around from job to job too much like a flea. Josephine thought I had an itchy foot and I’d never be able to hold a job,” he wrote.
He wrote that Josephine helped him a lot when he first started his restaurant business, but once he was able to hire help she “faded out of the restaurant scene.”
He Married the Woman He Hired to Help His First Wife
Sanders met Claudia Price (referred to as Claudia Ledington by People) and hired her to help Josephine with housework, Buzzfeed News reported. They had an affair and were married after he and Josephine divorced when he was 57.
Colonel Sanders’ daughter, Margaret, wrote in her book The Colonel’s Secret: Elevn Herbs and a Spicy Daughter: “It was evident from the beginning that her presence would create turmoil. Mother refused to accept that she alone could not satisfy Father’s physical needs, which from the very beginning of their marriage had seemed excessive to her. Neither promiscuous nor a whoremonger, Father nevertheless had a libido which required a healthy, willing partner. He found one in young Claudia.”
In his second marriage, he and his wife Claudia lived modestly, The New Yorker reported. They had a 10-room, two-story home in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and a second home in Toronto.
They established a restaurant called Colonel’s Lady in Shelbyville and had considered turning the sitdown restaurant into a chain that served ham, lobster, and chicken, People reported. Before Sanders, she had once ran a restaurant too.
READ NEXT: Where Was Hallmark’s Rome in Love Filmed?