Kenny Rodgers passed on March 20, 2020, in his home in Georgia — leaving behind five children and his wife Wanda Miller of 22 years.
The iconic singer was the father of Christopher Cody Rogers, Carole Rogers, Jordan Edward Rogers, Justin Charles Rogers and Kenny Rogers Junior.
According to an official statement from his publicist, Keith Hagan, Rodgers was surrounded by family when he died and was receiving hospice care at home.
“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81,” their statement read. “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
And while the country singer was known for hits like “Islands in the Stream,” and his cover of “The Gambler,” the performer kept his cards close to his chest when it came to his family life.
Rodgers was a native of Houston, Texas, and was married a total of five times in his life.
He had one daughter with his first wife, Janice Gordon before they divorced in 1960, and none with his second wife, Jean Rogers, whom he divorced in 1963. Rogers had one son with Margo Anderson during a marriage lasting from 1964 to 1976, and another with Marianne Gordon, whom he married the following year and divorced in 1993.
Rogers then had twin sons with his wife Wanda, who he married in 1997 and stayed with until the time of his passing.
Carole, 63, is Roger’s eldest child, whose mother was Janice Gordon, Roger’s high school sweetheart. Rogers was just 19 years old when he fathered Carole. At the time, Rogers was hard at work building a musical career and after two years of marriage to Janice, their relationship crumbled. When Gordon remarried, Rogers said that was the end of his relationship with Carole.
Rogers shared with Fox News how he agreed to keep his distance and allow Gordon’s new husband to take the lead on raising Carole. As a result, Carole did not have a consistent relationship with her father and the two grew apart in adulthood.
Rogers later in life admitted how he had allowed his career ambitions to get in the way of building relationships with Carole. Little is known about her life, as Carole largely stays out of the spotlight.
Kenny Rogers Jr.
The 55-year-old born to Rogers and Margo Anderson is a respected composer on movie soundtracks such as Get Him to the Greek and has also appeared in TV shows and movies as well, like About a Bum and a Boy. And in 2014, he even directed his first short film.
In a 1980 interview with People, Rogers revealed that he had hardly seen Kenny Jr. since 1975, and if he had one wish, Rogers said, “I would wish desperately that my relationship with Kenny Jr. were better.” Rogers also described his son, in that said interview, as a boy that has a genius-level IQ at the time.
Christopher Cody Rogers
Unlike his previous children, Rogers was more involved this time and Christopher Cody Rogers was the apple who didn’t fall far from the tree. Christopher, 40, whose mother is Marianne Gordon, has worked as an actor, writer, director and producer, with a credited appearance on Reno 911! He also appeared in the TV movie adaptation of his father’s song “The Gambler” in 1991, when he was still a child.
Justin Charles and Jordan Edward Rogers
Last but certainly not least, Rogers’ youngest two children are Justin Charles Rogers and Jordan Edward Rogers,17, twin boys born in 2004. In a 2013 interview with The Tennessean, Rogers admitted that he did not think he had been there enough for his older children, but hoped to redeem himself with his twins.
“I think success requires that you be selfish sometimes, and I refuse to do that now,” he said. “I’m determined to stay home with the boys, and it’s really a wonderful gift for me. So if I have no more success, I’m OK. But to have the opportunity to have success [is really special].”
The singer was valued at $250 million at the time of his death according to Celebrity Net Worth, however, Rogers may not have left a lot of that money behind.
While he did build a 425-restaurant chain in the 1990s, all those restaurants closed, except in Asia. He had no licensing fees for use of the name, so there’s no revenue for his heirs.
In addition, Kenny paid out $60 million to settle his fourth divorce in 1993, which was half his fortune. And while he continued to work, his health became an issue in 2017 and he stopped touring after that year.
It is likely that Kenny only had whatever cash he set aside in conventional investment accounts, working real estate and other retirement assets. It’s unclear how much that was, but it is believed to be enough to keep his widow comfortable for the rest of her life.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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