David Soul Was ‘Still a Kid’ When He Married for the 1st Time – He Fathered 5 Sons & Daughter
British-American actor and singer David Soul has been married five times and is a proud father of six children. However, his first marriage happened when he was "still a kid." Find out more about him and his family.
Actor and singer David Soul was born on August 28, 1943, to a family of preachers. His mom June Johnanne, was a teacher, while his dad, Dr. Richard W. Solberg, was a Lutheran minister and professor.
Soul's grandparents were evangelists, while his brother was also a pastor. Soul's parents were married for 64 years and lived religious lives. Hence, when their son struggled with his marriages, it hurt them.
Portrait of singer David Soul on a turtle neck and blazers. [Left] | Singer David Soul in a photo with his kid. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images
In a 2012 interview with The Guardian, Soul said: "My parents were together for 64 years, and I'm on my fifth marriage, so they weren't too happy with the situation. He added:
"They were very saddened by what happened to me and I certainly am too, but it's just what happened. If I could I would have changed it but I can't. I gotta move on. I'm sanguine."
From Soul's words, it is immediately apparent he is not proud of being married five times. So get inside all his marriages and find out what happened.
David Soul at premiere of the movie remake of "Starsky And Hutch," on March 11, 2004. | Photo: GettyImages
MARRIED AS A KID
Soul tied the knot for the first time with Mirriam Russeth when he was only 20 years old. He once described himself as a kid when he first married. He said:
"I was still a kid myself, but in those times, if you got someone pregnant, you had no choice but to get married. So I left school and the only thing I could do was sing."
David Soul Skiing in Aspen on January 12, 1976. | Photo: Getty Images
He once revealed that he went into acting because he had to make a good living. After his first child was born, he had to support him any way he could.
Soul was not happy with the situation. However, he was not unhappy but just doing all he could to survive. Soul's marriage with Russeth ended in divorce in 1965, two years after they walked down the aisle.
In 1968, he tied the knot with actress and producer Karen Carlson. The couple welcomed a son during their marriage. However, Soul's marriage to Carlson ended in divorce in 1977.
Photo of singer David Soul at an event. | Photo: Getty Images
SOUL'S TURBULENT MARRIAGE TO PATTI
Soul's third marriage was to Patti Carnel Sherman. She was the ex-wife of Bobby Sherman, who Soul starred alongside in "Here Come the Brides." He tied the knot with her in 1980. Unfortunately, the couple's marriage was bedeviled with issues.
In 1982, Soul was starring as Humphrey Bogart in the NBC miniseries "Casablanca." After rising to prominence following his portrayal of Hutch in the ABC supercop series "Starsky and Hutch," Soul's career was dwindling at the time.
Hence, he felt "Casablanca" was an excellent way to get it back on track, but "Casablanca" was not doing so well, and Soul drank a little more alcohol after the day's shooting to calm down the tension.
Bridget Hanley, Bobby Sherman, Robert Brown, David Soul and Joan Blondell in a shoot for "Here comes the bride" | Photo: Getty Images
Also, he voiced out his frustrations much more when he arrived home at night. On October 26, 1982, Soul called Patti and told her he would come home to their sprawling ranch in Bel Air for supper at 6 PM. However, at 11 PM, he was not back.
It was not the first time that Soul was keeping late nights, but Patti was not a patient listener and had so much to deal with. Their son, Brendan, who Soul named after his longtime Irish friend and comedian Brendan Grace, was nine months old.
Also, she had two sons, Christopher and Tyler, from a previous marriage. Thus, when Soul returned home from work with anger, playing mother to him was the last thing she wanted to do.
Actor David Soul's son rides a pony circa 1980s. | Photo: Getty Images
Soon after 11 PM. Soul called Patti and told her he had been in a meeting. Although he was telling the truth, his wife observed he had been drinking and called him on it. However, he started cussing her out in vile and poisonous language.
Patti revealed that since Soul was violent with his tongue, she knew he would be violent physically. She added that whenever he showed violence towards her, alcohol was involved. Hence, she became scared whenever she smelled it.
On that night, she heeded that fear and told him it was best he did not come home that night. However, he vowed to go home, and she told him to expect the police if he did.
David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser in a publicity shoot for "STARSKY AND HUTCH" on June 16, 1975. | Photo: Getty Images
Patti had experienced many cases of physical abuse from Soul and did not want a repetition. Hence, she called the Los Angeles police, reported him, and sought protection.
The police officer at the receiving end advised her to leave the house, but she could not. Hence, she called the Bel-Air Patrol, a private force supported by the residents of their wealthy suburb.
Despite having multiple failed marriages, Soul seems to have found his perfect soulmate in Snell.
David Soul and Paul Michael Glazer from the television program Starsky and Hutch, 1975. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images
Soul arrived at his home to find two patrol members waiting for him with guns drawn. They asked him not to enter his house, but he refused. Eventually, they let him be and made him assure them he would not hit his wife.
However, when they left, Soul questioned his wife about her actions and hit her. Soul thought about things and advised himself to leave the house before getting himself in trouble. He found two L.A. police officers waiting for him when he left the house.
The officers asked Patti if Soul laid a hand on her, and she replied in the affirmative. Then, they asked her if she wanted him placed under arrest, and she said "yes."
Soul was shocked. He loved Patti and knew she loved him. Yet, he felt betrayed and abandoned by her. The story of his arrest made ugly headlines three days later. Eventually, Patti allowed Soul to come home after he showed remorse.
Hence, when the case came to court ten weeks later, her friends expected she would request that the charges against Soul be dropped. However, they were shocked when she refused. Instead, she told the judge:
"I'm absolutely certain that violence will happen again. I want my marriage to work, and I want my children to grow up in a normal family environment."
Patti explained that her children would not have a normal childhood as long as Soul's emotional problem persisted. She added that she wanted him to get better, and the judge agreed Soul needed therapy.
The judge suspended a final disposition and ordered Soul to undergo treatment in a two-year "diversion" program. Also, he was ordered to stop drinking and hitting his wife, among other things.
At the end of the period, the judge would decide if Soul completed the program successfully. If that happened, the complaint would be withdrawn and his record cleared.
If he did not comply, criminal proceedings would be reinstituted against him. Patti's decision surprised Soul, but he respected it. But then, he did not understand the extent of her fear.
Later, he did not blame her for being afraid as he had been violent with her in the past. Also, he struggled with his demons even before her as he always had problems controlling his anger though he never intended to hurt another.
Meanwhile, Patti concluded that Soul's violence stemmed from inner struggles he could not resolve without professional help. She admitted that what she did was hurtful to him but believed it would prove a loving thing in the long run.
Despite the efforts Soul and Patti put into resolving their marital issues, their marriage ended in divorce in 1986. He told The Guardian of the divorce:
"My third wife Patti and I had three kids. But I started drinking quite a bit. I got violent for a while. It was only one time, but we had another child after that."
Soul said Patti painted a picture of him as a horrible creature, which was not the whole story and made him feel awful. He concluded: "She ended up taking my kids 1,400 miles away from California, where we were, then got married to another guy."
SOUL'S THIRD MARRIAGE TO JULIA NICKSON
A year after divorcing Patti, Soul married actress Julia Nickson. They welcomed a daughter named China, who is now a singer/songwriter.
Nickson gave birth to China in Tampa, Florida, while Soul was filming a death scene for "In The Line of Duty: The FBI Murders." The actor arrived at the hospital covered in fake blood but just in time for his daughter's delivery.
American actor David Soul and his wife, British-Chinese actress Julia Nickson-Soul at their home in Los Angeles. | Photo: Getty Images
Soul and Nickson divorced in 1993 but remained good friends. The former couple has made many posts about themselves and their daughter.
Nickson posted a throwback picture of her and China to mark Mother's Day last year. In August 2020, She shared a throwback picture of herself and Soul from the Cannes Film Festival in 1990, which she attended with him and their daughter.
In the post's caption, Nickson said she was not prepared for paparazzi calling their names as they entered the area. Soul shares a close bond with his only daughter China.
Last year, she wished him a happy birthday with sweet posts about him on Instagram. In one post, she shared a picture of him carrying her as a child and described him as the coolest guy she knows.
China is also a mom to her son Henry Blue Newport, who she welcomed in 2019. She shares him with Steve Newport. Besides posting about her son and lovely family, China also posts about her music.
Soul has done well to rebuild his children's trust following his history. He told The Guardian that he now has six kids and six grandchildren, and the best thing he could was to be there for them. He said:
"I make my trips back and forth and I'm on the phone with them and I'm trying to be there for them, even in spite of the fact that I'm not present."
He added that China is a British citizen now and resides in the U.K. Soul further said he has gotten a better handle on family perspective today.
He disclosed: "In the days when I was – as they used to call me – "one of the biggest stars in television," I got the balance wrong." The 78-year-old "Magnum Force" star concluded:
"The caring about what I looked like, what I sounded like, what I represented to other people was more important than being with my family."
He said that was the sadness of that period, but it does not mean he does not have time for people now. Soul maintains being optimistic about his frantic days of marriage, divorce, and broken marriages, which he believes are over now.
However, he admitted remembering each one with sadness and said he dealt with each of his former wives in his own way.
Soul said he asked them to forgive him and revealed that at least three of his former wives are among his best friends, which was more important than the institution of marriage.
HELEN IS THE BEST
Soul married for the third time in 2010 to Helen Snell. In 2015, he revealed to Daily Mail how he met her while she was doing P.R. for "Deathtrap," a play he toured in Britain.
They did not hit things off initially because of his aversion to P.R. However, as they evolved, he started seeing who she really was, and they eventually tied the knot on June 26, 2010.
Helen Snell and David Soul attend the launch night of 'Top Hat' at Aldwych Theatre on May 9, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images
He also revealed that meeting Snell made him become a British citizen. In his chat with The Guardian, Soul described Helen: "And Helen, my wife today – I'm so in love with this woman. She's the best."
Despite having multiple failed marriages, Soul seems to have found his perfect soulmate in Snell. Also, that he is still friends with most of his exes is incredible and shows he is a good person. Hopefully, his marriage with Snell would be the last.
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