Who Were Kenny Rogers' Wives? The Late Country Star Had Five Marriages

Photo: Getty Images
Who Were Kenny Rogers' Wives? The Late Country Star Had Five Marriages
Entertainment And News

Who were Kenny Rogers' wives? 

Kenny Rogers, the singer and songwriter who was best known for hits like  "Lucille," "Lady" and "Islands in the Stream" and of course, "The Gambler", died Friday, March 13. He was 81.

RELATED: Is Cab Calloway Ja'Net DuBois' Father? The Shocking Claim The Actress' Daughter Made In Mom's Death Certificate

Rogers' career spanned decades and multiple musical genres. It took years before he really broke through and became famous for his music but once he did he left a lasting legacy on the industry. Along the way, he collaborated with people like Dolly Parton and the Beegees in his professional life. In his personal life, he had romantic collaborations with his five wives. His first marriage was when he was still a teenager. His final marriage lasted for 22 years, until his death last week.

1. Who were Kenny Rogers' wives? 

Rogers admits that he was a romantic. He claimed that being in love was something he really enjoyed and he liked building relationships. "Because romance takes time to develop, doesn't it?" he said in an interview. "But I soon realised that I love being in love, and I love the high you do get from caring about someone and having someone care about you. That's a great place to be."

2. He lost his virginity to his first wife.

Rogers was 19 years old when he and Janice Gordon had sex for the first time. That was also the time thei conceived their daghter together. He later said he was ready to try and make it work but her parents weren't on board with it. "You know what? I loved her. At 19 I thought, ‘This is ok with me.’ That was a thing where her parents thought I’d ruined her life and were determined to break me," he said in one interview. "It didn’t work, and it’s really sad because I think it could have worked."

The couple were married from 1958 to 1960 and they had a daughter named Carole together, but Rogers admits that he didn't really raise his first child. "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 said. "He stepped in at a time that was really awkward for all of us and he became her Dad, and I love him for that. He was a good guy."

3. He and his second wife got bored with each other.

Rogers didn't waste any time finding a new wife after his first marriage broke down. His divorce was finalized in April 1960 and by October of that year, he was married to Jean Rogers. So little is known about her that we don't even have an idea of what her maiden name was before she married Rogers. At that time, he was not famous at all and was still playing jazz with a small ensemble called the Bobby Doyle Three. He and Jean stayed together for several years but eventually it just kind of fizzled. "That only lasted three years because we finally realised, 'This isn't right' — and in the end, it was boring for me and for her," Rogers recalled

4. His third marriage lasted a dozen years.

In 1964, Rogers married Margo Anderson. That was a longer-lasting relationship but it came at a time that he was also building his music career into something more solid. The marriage was good and they had son Kenny Rogers Jr. but in the late 1960s when the demands of music grew greater, it took a toll on the relationship. "So then I met this girl and that was a really exciting relationship, which lasted 12 years, and out of it we had a son," Rogers remembered. "In fact, the first nine years were as good as it gets, and it was only the last few that got ugly. I was touring a lot and that is part of what killed the marriage." They divorced in 1976, which was just as his country music career was really taking off. 

RELATED: How Did Josie Harris Die? Floyd Mayweather's Ex Found Unresponsive In Her Car At 40

5. His fourth wife was an actress. 

By 1977, Rogers had broken through in country music with his big hit single "Lucille." That was also the year he married actress Marianne Gordon. She appeared in films like How To Stuff A Wild Bikini, Littel Darlings, and Rosemary's Baby. She and Rogers had son Christopher Cody Rogers in 1982. 

TRENDING NOW on YourTango

Gordon had nothing but good things to say about her famous ex after he passed away. “I always felt his total focus was on me. If anyone wanted anything from him, he was looking me in the eye and said, ‘Whatever she wants to do,'” she told reporters. “I think that when he turned 50, I didn’t have his full attention anymore but it looked like he still wanted me here. His life was such an open book and after two years he felt this craving, this longing. He said he felt he was having a mid-life crisis. He felt like his career was fading.”

“The end of a relationship like that can be devastating, but there were so many fabulous memories. I like to think about those,” she said of their 1993 divorce.

6. His final relationship lasted for the rest of his life.

Rogers met his fifth wife Wanda Miller at a restaurant where she was a waitress. She was 24 years his junior and the age difference was a problem at first. "Her parents are two years younger than me," Rogers said in an interview. "They called me when we started dating and said, 'We want you to know we didn't appreciate what you're doing with our daughter,' and I said, 'First of all I don't blame you. I don't think I would either but I will make you a promise. I will never lie to her and I will never lie to you.'"

The couple married in 1997 and went on to have twin sons Justin and Jordan in 2004, when Rogers was 65 years old. "She is truly my soulmate. She knows me better than anyone has ever known me before. We've been together for 20 years," he said of her. "I have such great respect for her as a mother. The boys are so lucky to have her and so am I."

Rogers and Wanda Miller on their wedding day. 

Rogers passed away on March 13. He was 81 years old. 

RELATED: How Did Max Von Sydow Die? Legendary Actor Dead At 90

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

Author
Writer