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Meet Bob Marley’s 12 Children - Most of Whom Followed in His Footsteps

Titi Dokubo
Sep 05, 2022
08:06 A.M.

In his 36-year-long life, iconic Jamaican singer Bob Marley had more than ten children with at least seven different women, and many of them followed their father's footsteps and became musicians.

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Bob Marley was a Jamaican musician, songwriter, and singer who was a part of the Wailing Wailers in 1963. After their big break almost ten years later, the world ambassador for reggae music became the so-called Third World's first international superstar.

Even though the legendary musician died at 36, his legacy has lived for over four decades. Some of his children have also walked in his footsteps to continue his legacy.

Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Kymani Marley, and Julian Marley onstage at the "Roots, Rock, Reggae Tour 2004" on August 8, 2004 | Source: Getty Images

Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Kymani Marley, and Julian Marley onstage at the "Roots, Rock, Reggae Tour 2004" on August 8, 2004 | Source: Getty Images

Sharon Marley

Sharon is Rita Marley's daughter from a previous relationship before her marriage to Bob. He adopted her and gave her his last name, making Sharon the oldest of all his children.

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She is also a singer who became a part of the Jamaican-American reggae family group known as the Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.

The group consisted of Sharon and three of her siblings. Together, they won three Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album between 1989 and 1998.

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Sharon started performing and recording music when she was 12. Between 1986 and 1996, she was the manager and curator of the Bob Marley Museum.

At the time, she also worked in public relations and signed artists under the label her brothers founded. The label was the Ghetto Youth United Recording Label. In 2001, she became the managing director and founder of Total Care Learning Center.

The center focuses on early childhood education and has a daycare model that children and child care specialists have used. Throughout all of this, she continues her music career.

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Cedella Marley

Cedella is the second child of Bob and Rita and was named after her paternal grandmother. Like her parents, she is an accomplished singer and is best known for being in charge of the brands associated with her father's name, like Tuff, Gone, and Marley Natural.

Besides being a singer, she is also an author, businesswoman, and fashion designer for the casual wear collection "Catch A Fire." She also works in managing her family's numerous businesses.

In addition, Cedella has been able to balance the business side of life with her music touring schedule and be a wife and a mother of three boys.

Cedella Marley at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 24, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Cedella Marley at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 24, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Ziggy Marley

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Ziggy, whose real name is David Nesta, is the first son of Bob and Rita, born on October 17, 1968, in Kingston, Jamaica. Like some of his siblings, he is also a musician and philanthropist.

He has released at least 15 albums as a solo artist. His first album was in 2003, and four years later, he released his second album, which earned him a Grammy Award.

In 2020, the man who founded Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers released the album titled "More Family Time." He now focuses his time on writing children's books. As a tribute to his father, Ziggy created a photobook titled "Bob Marley: Portrait of the Legend."

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Stephen Marley

Stephen is the second eldest son of Bob and Rita, and he had the privilege of performing on stage with his father when he was eight. He grew up to be a musician and produced many of his siblings' releases.

He has won eight Grammy Awards, and in 2017, he debuted an annual music festival known as Kaya Fest. At the debut festival, his family members performed alongside other notable reggae and hip-hop legends such as Pit Bull, Wyclef Jean, and Busta Rhymes.

Stephen Marley at the 60th annual Newport Folk Festival 2019 on July 28, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Stephen Marley at the 60th annual Newport Folk Festival 2019 on July 28, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Robbie Marley

Robert Marley Jr., named after his father, usually goes by Robbie so as not to be confused with Bob. He is Bob's son with a woman named Pat Williams and was born on May 16, 1972.

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Robbie grew up living with Bob and Rita and did not pursue a music career, but he is more interested in graphic arts.

In 2011, he and his brothers, Ziggy and Rohan, documented their trip to Africa in "Marley Africa Roadtrip" as they uncovered their father's roots, music legacy, family, and African unity.

Robbie Marley at the premiere of "Marley" in Los Angeles on April 17, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Robbie Marley at the premiere of "Marley" in Los Angeles on April 17, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Rohan Marley

Rohan is Bob's son with a woman named Janet Hunt. He was born on May 19, 1972, and is not a musician. He was once married to hip-hop musician Lauryn Hill, with whom he shares five children.

The father of eight currently runs a coffee business called Marley Coffee but made the headlines when his first daughter with Hill called him and her mother out.

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Rohan's daughter accused him of not being around and arguing with her mother in her presence. He apologized to his daughter and declared his love for her on Instagram.

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He assured her that he had grown and was a different person. Rohan further stated that he constantly evolves and would teach his children better while being there for them anytime.

Rohan Marley at the Primary Wave x Island Records on January 24, 2020 | Source: Getty Images

Rohan Marley at the Primary Wave x Island Records on January 24, 2020 | Source: Getty Images

Stephanie Marley

Stephanie is Bob and Rita's daughter, born on August 17, 1974. She is also not in the music industry and prefers to live a private life compared to her siblings.

However, she is involved in the modeling side of the entertainment industry and works as an agent for a modeling talent agency.

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Karen Marley

Karen was born in 1973 during Bob's relationship with Janet Bowen, which started in 1972 and ended in 1973. She grew up in Jamaica with the rest of the Marley siblings but veered away from the music industry and instead focused on fashion professionally.

She is a designer and owns the label By Karen Marley. The designer once honored her father by posting the lyrics of "Forever Loving Jah" on her social media page.

Karen Marley at the SiriusXM Studios on June 12, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

Karen Marley at the SiriusXM Studios on June 12, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

In addition, to honor her father, Karen posted an inspiring message. She said:

"Choose today to learn from your mistakes. Choose to allow any challenge to make you stronger. Choose the disappointments to make you more determined. Choose to turn your frustrations into stronger patience."

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She urged her fans to choose to be positively proactive while encouraging them not to let anything hold them back from happiness.

Karen Marley at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Culture High" on October 11, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

Karen Marley at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Culture High" on October 11, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

Julian Marley

Bob welcomed Julian from his relationship with Lucy Pounder on June 4, 1975. He was born in England and followed in his father's footsteps to become a musician.

He frequently collaborates with his siblings. Julian had one daughter, Caveri, who died from a brain tumor at a young age.

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Julian released his debut album, "Lion In The Morning," in 1996. His other body of works include "A Time & Place," "Awake," and "As I Am."

The musician has never put himself under pressure to achieve as much as his father had done. He believes everyone has a mission and is supposed to do what they can, and everyone has something to do.

Julian Marley at the 2022 Black Music & Entertainment Walk Of Fame Induction Ceremony & Juneteenth Celebration on June 18, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Julian Marley at the 2022 Black Music & Entertainment Walk Of Fame Induction Ceremony & Juneteenth Celebration on June 18, 2022 | Source: Getty Images

Ky-Mani Marley

Ky-Mani was born on February 26, 1976, to Bob and table tennis champion Anita Belnavis. He did not grow up in the Marley household but joined the family in the entertainment business.

Apart from being a hip-hop and reggae musician, he is also an actor and has starred in movies including "King Of The Dancehall," "Shottas," "One Love," and "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe."

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Among his many recorded albums, including "Like Father Like Son," "Radio," "The Journey," and more, he received a Grammy Award nomination for "Many More Roads."

Kymani Marley on MTV2's "Sucker Free" on November 14, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Kymani Marley on MTV2's "Sucker Free" on November 14, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Damian Marley

Damian, known as "Junior Gong" after his father's nickname "Tuff Gong," is Bob's youngest son. Bob had him with former beauty queen Cindy Breakspeare on July 21, 1978.

He is also a successful musician, and his influences include reggae and newer sounds like dancehall and hip-hop. Damian is a DJ and released his first album in 1996.

His debut album was an honor to his father. The rapper's second album, "Halfway Tree," won a Grammy, and he won Grammys for "Welcome to Jamrock" and "Stony Hill."

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Damian Marley on stage at The Ends festival on June 02, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Damian Marley on stage at The Ends festival on June 02, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Makeda Jahnesta

Makeda Jahnesta was born days after her father passed away. She was born to Yvette Crichton on May 30, 1981, making her Bob's youngest child.

In June 2020, she made news after supporting other Black Lives Matter protestors in Washington while making a speech in the crowd. There is very little information about her, but she has a son Kai and keeps her fans updated about him on her social media.

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The musician's life was cut short in 1981 at 36 after a battle with cancer. On what would have been his 75th birthday, Bob Marley's family got together to organize year-long celebrations.

The celebrations happened two weeks before the singer's February 6 birthday. It included a pre-Grammys brunch alongside Universal Music and Mastercard.

For the celebrations, there was a new music video for the song "Redemption Song," which celebrated its 40th anniversary, and other recordings, exhibitions, and unreleased material from their family's private vault.

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These came shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted many plans for the family and the rest of the world. However, some of Marley's family members, such as Ziggy, turned to music and spent more time with his family amid the unpredictable time.

The Marley family has continuously kept their fans updated through social media, actively posting about their lives on many occasions.

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