Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Paul Anka Was Granted Sole Custody of His Teen Son in 2017 for the Sake of ‘Family Reunification’

Gracious Egedegbe
Feb 13, 2022
07:40 A.M.
Share this pen

Paul Anka's impressive music career is only a part of his life story. The other part tells the personal story of his failed marriages and strained parenthood.


In what can be considered a classic revival, music star Paul Anka made a comeback on TikTok, introducing his evergreen sound to the younger generation. The music star's authenticity drew millions of fans and music lovers to his sounds back in his prime.

However, away from fame and fortune, Anka is a dad of five girls and a son, who struggled with co-parenting. He was also entangled in a custody battle with the mother of his son before gaining custody — his family life and parenthood in detail.

Photo of singer Paul Anka performing live. [Left] | Photo of Paul Anka with his son Ethan during a preshow. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images



Paul Anka met his wife Anne de Zogheb in 1960, a top model whose family disapproved of him at first. Paul, a music star of Lebanese origin, recalled trying to get her attention for a while.

He once shared that he finally got his opportunity to talk to Zogheb, and they talked all night. As a result, the pair got to know each other better, and he discovered Zogheb was also of Lebanese origin. 

Paul, in his autobiography, "My Way," recalled how Zogheb's parents reacted the first time they met him. The music icon had been filming in Paris and was in his army fatigue costume. 


Paul Anka with his first wife Anne de Zogheb. | Photo: Getty Images

The "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" crooner described them as aristocratic, adding that they "grilled" him right there. Zogheb's parents wanted to know his background and if he had enough money to take care of their daughter. 


The award-winning singer was able to move past the grilling stage as he and Zogheb tied the knot in 1963. However, Paul relayed in his book that they did not have kids immediately.

However, after they started a family, he and Zogheb became parents to five daughters. The love in his heart expanded further to accommodate his little ones, but his work schedule could not accommodate family time. 

Paul Anka in a photo with his family. | Photo: Getty Images


Paul was away from his family a lot, hopping on tour buses and meeting his fans all in a frenzy. But unfortunately, his personal life bore the brunt of fame.

The star wrote of how he was torn between perfecting his craft, learning to change diapers, and being there for his girls. Paul wrote:

"It's hard to explain what it was like, how hard that transition was, from five-star hotels to changing diapers. The way I would float in and out of my girls' loves trying to attend their school recitals, falling asleep in the middle of a performance and Anne nudging me."

Paul Anka with his wife Anne and daughters Alicia, Alexandra, Amanda, Anthea and Amelia at Tony Murray's birthday party on July 25, 1998. | Photo: Getty Images


Paul detailed his "crazy schedule" and how he often cramped in family time. He would travel with his five daughters, all in a bid to bond with them, because they were little and didn't understand he was a dad and also a pop star. 

Paul also wrote that the most challenging part of parenthood was when his daughters hit their teenage years. There were always issues with missing birthdays, awards, school games, and plays. 

Paul was granted full custody of their now-teenage son, and he got more time to bond with the lad.


The default on family time eventually led to his and Zogheb's legal separation after close to four decades of being together. Paul recalled that their marriage was dissolved at the same courthouse where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman also ended their union. 

He stated that the dissolution was mutual with no animosity. However, the star dad admitted that he was away "200 days" in a year and that the end of his marriage was all on him. Zogheb did not marry again, and she died in 2017. 

Amanda Anka with Jason Bateman and their daughters attend the Jason Bateman's Hollywood Walk of Fame honor on July 26, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images



Paul married his second wife, Anna Anka, a model of Polish-Swedish-American roots. The two tied the knot in 2008 and welcomed a son, Ethan Anka. In "My Way," Paul documented that his relationship with Ethan was much better than with his other kids.

Paul was well past his youthful years when he had Ethan, which meant that he was more relaxed and not always on the road. The celebrity dad explained:

"It was different in the sense that at this stage, how many summers do I have left? I don't work in my office anymore. I work at home. I'm up every morning with him, I take him to school, and I pick him up at school. He's always with me. 


The star noted that he realized that time "is the biggest asset we all have, and you have to use it properly." Generally, Paul has a better approach to family life and has settled his role as the ideal family man.

The record-breaking singer has nine grandchildren and has found the ideal way to reach out to them from time to time. He added that his daughter, Amanda, who is married to Jason Bateman, is often busy, but he got to see her as often as he could. 

Singer and entertainer Paul Anka holds his grandaughter, Allegra while posing November 21, 2000 on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. | Photo: Getty Images



The "Puppy Love" crooner and Anna ended their marriage after 18 months together. He detailed in his book that the marriage was by accident in the first place, so there was no way it could last. 

Paul explained that within a few months of getting involved with Anna, who was also his personal trainer, she became pregnant with their son. After divorce, the pair were locked in a custody battle.

Paul was granted full custody of their now-teenage son, and he got more time to bond with the lad. During the custody drama, Ethan claimed he has an "intense dislike for his mother."


Paul Anka with his third wife, Lisa Pemberton at an event. | Photo: Getty Images

It also appeared that his dad did not see him for two years due to the strained relationship with Anna. The 80-year-old musician's third marriage was to Lisa Pemberton in 2016.


They were together for four years, within which Paul was miserable. He recalled pulling out his birth certificate one day and realizing he could no longer be in his rocky marriage. He and Pemberton called it off in 2020.

These days, Paul seems to have the days of tumultuous marriages and chaotic fatherhood behind him. The star is in a lovely relationship but has confirmed that marriage is now a no-go area for him.