The world of country music lost a legend in 2020 with the death of Kenny Rogers.
The 81-year-old singer-songwriter, actor, and producer from Texas died from natural causes in a hospice surrounded by his family in March 2020.
Kenny is survived by his fifth wife Wanda and five children. Kenny spotted Wanda while he was out on a date with another woman and said it was love at first sight.
“I’m honestly not sure she even looked at me, but I saw her. I don’t know what and I don’t know why, but there was just something incredibly different about her from the minute I saw her,” the then 54-year-old said of Wanda who was 26 at the time and working as a hostess at the restaurant.
Rogers told Fox News: “Her parents are two years younger than me. 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’.”
Despite family opposition the two dated for five years and married on June 1, 1997 at Kenny’s ranch near Athens, Georgia.
Seven years later the couple welcomed twin sons, Justin and Jordan, born on July 6, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia. At birth, Justin Charles Rogers weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and Jordan Edward Rogers weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
The proud parents weren’t surprised they had twins as Wanda has an identical twin sister, and twins also run in the country icon’s family.
Kenny also has three children from his previous marriage to Marianne Gordon – Kenny Jr., Christopher, and Carole.
Kenny Rogers, who retired in 2015, said at the time, “I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family.”
“My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories.”
The following year he came out of retirement and took both boys on his final tour ‘The Gambler’s Last Deal’.
“My goal is to spend some time with them and take them to some places they might not have gone to without me. So, they can look back someday and say, ‘My dad took me there.’ That, to me, is my legacy to them,” the star told Rare Country.
Kenny joked that he’d “have to retire sooner” if he took them on every date of the tour but did say he planned to take his boys, who were aged 11 at the time, to Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, and then Asia.
He told Rare Country that when he took them to Africa on a safari he gave them each a camera and told them to take lots of pictures of the things they liked so they could show them to their class.
“When we got them back they were all selfies..I’ll have to teach them something else I guess,” he joked.
When Rogers decided to stop touring so he could spend more time with his sons he told CMT: “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.”
In a 2017 Instagram post, Kenny Rogers said that one of the most rewarding things in his life was being a father.
As fans know, Kenny ended up cancelling the remaining dates of his last tour in 2018 due to health issues. He passed away in March 2020 at 81 years old when his boys were 15 years old.
We’re glad the star got to spend quality time with his family toward the end. He made so many happy memories with them which I hope offer some comfort to his now 19-year-old boys.
Please share with all the Kenny Rogers’ fans you know.