The relationship that Marvin Gaye, also known as the Prince of Motown, had with his father, Marvin Sr., was so complicated that he even killed his singer son.
Alberta, Marvin’s mother, confessed that Marvin Sr. never liked their son because he always thought that he was not his biological father. No matter how many times Alberta assured him otherwise, the patriarch could never love Marvin.
If that was not bad enough, the man didn’t want Alberta to love her own son either. Apart from that, Marvin Sr., who worked as a pastor for a while, took his religious beliefs too far as he forbade athletics, dancing, movies, TV, and popular music.
His father’s suppressive nature maybe played a part in Marvin’s heavy drug use.
Marvin Gaye at a casino in Oostende, Belgium on July 4, 1981 | Source: Getty Images
As a very influential person in the entertainment industry, all those aspects his father didn’t like were present in Marvin’s life. Talking to biographer David Ritz for his book “Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye,” the singer said:
“Living with father was something like living with a king, a very peculiar, changeable, cruel, and all-powerful king. You were supposed to tip-toe around his moods. You were supposed to do anything to win his favor. I never did. Even though winning his love was the ultimate goal of my childhood, I defied him. I hated his attitude.”
Marvin at The Moon in 1983 in Tallahassee, Florida | Source: Getty Images
Marvin pointed out that he felt so depressed that he could have committed suicide. Thankfully, Alberta was always there for him to “console and praise” his singing.
His father’s suppressive nature maybe played a part in Marvin’s heavy drug use and his rebellious and sexy tunes, including “Sexual Healing,” “Let’s Get It On,” and “I Want You.”
Marvin at The Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles, CA - December,1974 | Source: Getty Images
Marvin’s relationship with his father never improved, and unfortunately, he was found dead on April 1, 1984, after Marvin Sr. killed him. The singer, who was only 44 years old, was in his bedroom when Marvin Sr. shot him in the heart and his left shoulder.
As The Sun reported, several rumors tried to explain why Marvin Sr. committed the crime. The official version says Marvin Sr. started shouting at Alberta and, in his efforts to defend his mother, the singer yelled back.
Marvin Sr. got into his son’s bedroom, and then the Prince of Motown reportedly knocked him down and started kicking him. Alberta intervened and broke up the fight, but his father got the gun that Marvin had given him for a present a few months earlier and shot him.
The killer was punished with a suspended six-year sentence and probation. In 1998, he died at a nursing home.
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