The late blind singer Ray Charles was among the greatest musicians in the world. While enjoying fame, he also enjoyed his time with women, resulting in having a dozen children. He once admitted to being obsessed with women.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Ray Charles was one of the most prominent musicians in Hollywood. Despite his blindness due to glaucoma, he mastered the fine art of composing songs and playing the piano.
Charles' greatest hits include "Hit the Road Jack," "I Got a Woman," "Unchain My Heart," and "Seven Spanish Angels." While he was known for his nickname, "Brother Ray," he was also infamous for his love for women.
Ray Charles during his in Concert at Resorts Atlantic City on July 10, 2003 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. | Photo: Getty Images
"Women anchor me. They're there when I needed them. They're sensitive to me and I'm sensitive to them."
The women he became obsessed with were those homely, troubled, mature, worldly, and kind. He added that besides men, these women also played a large part in his music.
Ray Charles performs onstage at the Rhythm 'n' Blues Festival in Belgium in July 1994. | Photo: Getty Images
Charles had been blind since he was seven, and that disability made him honest about sex. He shared that he preferred women without looks over beautiful ones, which he somehow knew even without seeing them. He explained:
"That's because the gorgeous chicks sometimes take the attitude that they're doing you a favor by letting you make love to them."
On why he preferred mature women, the musical genius shared that he started to like older women after having her first sexual experience when he was 12. At the time, the woman he was involved with was 20.
Amid his affairs with women, Charles was a married man. He was previously married to Eileen Williams from 1951 to 1952 and then to Della Beatrice Howard Robinson from 1955 until 1977.
Besides being a known womanizer, Charles was also controversial for his alleged drug addiction.
The singing icon's 22-year marriage with Robinson suffered because of his various affairs with women outside their union. While he did not have a child with Williams, he shared three sons with Robinson.
CHARLES' 12 CHILDREN AND HIS WOMEN
Charles had 12 children from different women, including his second ex-wife. With Robinson, he had three sons named Ray Jr., born in 1955; David, born in 1958; and Robert, born in 1960.
Other women who had a relationship with the veteran singer were Louise Flowers, former Raelette band singer Margie Hendricks, Mae Mosley Lyles, Sandra Jean Betts, and Mary-Chantal Bertrand.
He had affairs with Arlette Kotchounian, Gloria Moffett, Mary Anne den Bok, and Norma Pinella. He also had a child from an unknown woman.
With Flowers, Charles had a daughter named Evelyn in 1949. With Hendricks, the late musician shared a son identified as Charles Wayne, who was born in 1959.
Meanwhile, Charles also shared with Lyle a daughter named Renee, born in 1961. Three years later, the hitmaker became a father to Betts' daughter named Sheila.
In 1968 the 12-time Grammy-winning musician shared another little girl with Bertrand named Alexandra. Charles also had a daughter named Reatha, born in 1966 to another unknown woman.
Meanwhile, in 1977, the multi-talented composer had another son named Vincent, with Kotchounian. Charles' youngest children were born ten years apart.
He also had a child named Robyn, born in 1978 to Moffett and Corey, who he welcomed in 1987 to de Bok. He did not have a child with Pinella, his longtime partner.
CHARLES' CONTROVERSIAL DRUG ADDICTION
Besides being a known womanizer, Charles was also controversial for his alleged drug addiction. The gospel and blues singer was said to have been a junkie for 17 years.
In 1962, the renowned crooner was involved in a narcotics bust that led to a sensational courtroom drama. By 2005, his drug addiction led to more drama.
He allegedly sought a payout from his trust to enter into a drug rehabilitation program. This led to a conflict with Joe Adams, who signed on as his manager in 1961.
The musician extraordinaire's drug addiction, particularly with heroin, also created problems in his marriage to Robinson, on top of his illicit affairs with other women.
Charles quit his drug use after being arrested at the Boston airport in 1965. The following year, he poked fun at his drug ordeal with his songs, "I Don't Need No Doctor" and "Let's Go Get Stoned."
In 2004, 73-year-old Charles passed away at his Beverly Hills home surrounded by his family and friends. He was survived by his partner, Pinella, at the time of his death.
The industry was heartbroken about his death. Veteran producer Jerry Wexler noted Charles as one of the three musical geniuses next to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin.
Shortly after their father's death, the 12 children spoke highly of his unknown generosity. Ray Jr., the icon's oldest son, recalled tabloid reports saying that his dad was broke, but the truth was he still provided for them financially.
About two years before his death, Charles gathered his 12 children at a Los Angeles hotel and told them he was mortally ill. He also outlined his inheritance for each of them.
BATTLE OVER HIS ESTATE
But a battle over his estate soon ensued. Based on a trust document and statements from people at Charles' meeting with his children, most of his assets were to be given to his charitable foundation.
Each of his children would also receive $500,000 in trusts paid out over the next five years. However, for some reason, his children came away with the impression they were to receive $1 million each.
Charles, hinting that his children would receive more in the future, also expected to inherit the right to license his name.
Legal disputes have marred Charles' legacy. Several of his children filed lawsuits against his former manager, Adams, whom they accused of mishandling their father's legacy.
Charles was estimated to have $50 million in real estate, securities, and other assets. On top of that are Charles' original masters valued at about $25 million.
Following Charles' death, Adams became the head of Ray Charles Enterprises, director of the singer's foundation, and the trustee of his children's trusts.