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Ricky Nelson Was His 4 Kids’ “Best Friend” - Meet His Talented Lookalike Children & Their Big Families

Gracious Egedegbe
Feb 16, 2022
07:00 P.M.
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American actor and musician Ricky Nelson died at 45 due to a plane crash, but his legacy lives on thanks to his four children and their families. Meet Nelson's lookalike kids and grandkids. 


The Nelson brothers toured for decades and held their last concert before the Corona Virus restrictions for their late dad Ricky Nelson's fans. 

The concert had many people in their 70s, which was not surprising as Ricky held sway as an actor and musician from 1949 to 1985. 

Portrait of American singer Ricky Nelson. [Left] | Singer Ricky Nelson takes a photo holding an award with his family. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images


In an interview with Daily Bloom, Ricky's sons Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, who founded the band Nelson, described the concert they held in honor of their late father as a retrospective of his life and music.

Ricky's impact in music and television in his lifetime was incredible, and it left an indelible mark on his children, who have continued his inspiring legacy and are doing well for themselves. Meet the Nelsons' talented generations. 

A snapshot of Ricky Nelson posing with a guitar. | Photo: Getty Images



On May 8, 1940, Ricky was born as the second son of entertainment couple Harriet Hilliard Nelson and Ozzie Nelson. Harriet and Ozzie starred in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."

The show was iconic and ran for 14 years, from 1952 to 1966, spanning 435 episodes. A reason for the show's longevity might have been that the Nelson family blurred the line between fiction and reality. 

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" started on radio in 1944. The show began with Ozzie and his wife playing themselves while actors portrayed their sons, who eventually joined in 1949. 


The Nelsons' TV home replicated their Hollywood home. Hence, Ricky and his older brother David grew up before everyone's eyes. 

Peter Jones, who wrote and directed a two-hour documentary "Ozzie and Harriet: The Adventures of America's Favorite Family," described Ricky as a truly talented musician and the first television teen idol. He said

"He was a paradox. He was so charming, so manipulative, but he did not ultimately take responsibility for his life. He didn't know how to be a grown-up, which was chilling..."

Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, David Nelson and Ricky Nelson circa 1952. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Ricky was a successful composer and rockstar, and his entire life, to get away from the image he had while playing his dad and mom's second son on their TV show. 

He died in a plane on December 31, 1985, aged 45. At the time, he was struggling to revive his music career and was headed to a concert in Texas. However, his legacy lives on and in more ways than one through his kids, who have followed in his footsteps. 

Monochrome photo of David and Ricky Nelson in 1959. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons



In his lifetime, Ricky had multiple relationships with different women but was married just once to Kris Harmon, with whom he shared four children. 

The couple's kids included their daughter and actress Tracy Kristine Nelson, twin sons Gunnar and Matthew, who founded the band Nelson, and lastborn son Sam Hilliard Nelson.


Matthew and Gunnar founded Nelson in 1986, and it enjoyed success in the early '90s following the release of its debut album "After The Rain." 

The twins are incredibly close and share a strong family bond. They toured with their band for decades and vacationed together most times. In June 2019, Matthew shared a picture on Facebook from his and Gunnar's families' Scrap Metal trip to Alaska. 

Gunnar and Matthew Nelson smiling and holding guitars. | Photo: Getty Images



Matthew has been married twice in his lifetime. His first marriage was to actress Yvette Nelson, known for "Las Vegas" and "Buddies." They tied the knot on July 14, 1995, but their union ended in divorce on September 14, 2011. 

After divorcing Yvette, Matthew married his present wife, Kari Ahlstrom, on September 23, 2013. The couple shares a seven-year-old son, who Matthew named after his grandfather Ozzie. Ozzie was born on August 29, 2014. 

Ricky's lastborn child and son Sam is a musician.

Matthew Nelson and wife Yvette attend Corey Feldman's 35th birthday bash at the House of Blues July 30, 2006. | Photo: Getty Images


When Ozzie turned six in 2020, the Nelson Band wished him a happy birthday on Twitter by sharing several pictures of him, which they captioned

"HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY OZZIE!! We all love you SO much!!! Have a wonderful day and a fantastic year ahead!!! Xoxoxo."


Matthew never shies from declaring his love for his wife via several heartwarming posts on social media. When the couple celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary, he celebrated it with a sweet tribute on Twitter.

He shared a picture of himself and Ahlstrom and thanked their fans and friends for their support and love over the years. He also thanked them for their kind messages on their 5th anniversary. Matthew added

"And to my lovely wife Kari Lynn- thank you for choosing me and for our little boy Ozzie. You are my everything. We are indeed eternal. I love you. Here's to the next 50 years of happy marriage together!"


On Matthew and Ahlstrom's sixth wedding anniversary, he shared a picture of him and his beautiful wife on Facebook and captioned it:

"Happy 6th Anniversary to my incredible, beautiful wife and best friend Kari ❤️ love always, Matthew."

Matthew and Ahlstrom kept going strong after eight years of marriage and opened up about the secret to their happy union in an interview with Lifestyle Magazine TV. 


When asked how they handle disagreements as a couple, Matthew said that it all comes down to loving and respecting each other at the end of the day. 

He revealed that when they get into an argument, they simmer down and talk about it, which is what it comes down to. The couple ended by saying

"Communication is key. It's everything."


Matthew's son Ozzie is already following in his footsteps and has already played the guitar. In 2020, the Nelson band shared a video showing the seven-year-old displaying his incredible guitar-playing skills on Instagram.

Matthew also has a grandson Liam, who is almost Ozzie's age. The proud dad enjoys spending time with his son and grandson fishing watching racing, and other activities. 

He usually posts pictures of their time together on Instagram. For instance, he once shared a snap of Ozzie catching a fish with his hook and another post showing them fishing.



Gunnar resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his loving wife Lila Nelson, her three daughters from her previous relationship, whom he adopted, and their son. 

Like his twin brother, Gunnar dotes over his wife and posted a loving tribute to her on her 46th birthday in 2018. He shared a picture of them making funny faces and captioned it: 

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILA! 46 years ago today, the love of my life, the mother of my children, and my best friend were all born. They just so happen to be the same person."


Gunnar and Lila enjoy a happy marriage, and they discussed the key components of their union during a chat with Lifestyle Magazine TV. 

Lila revealed that they solved the issues that had arisen during their marriage with lots of discussions, hugs, and understanding. Gunnar also said God is an important part of their marriage. 



Tracy is an actress best known for her role in the sitcom "Square Pegs," in which she starred alongside Sarah Jessica Parker. She also made guest appearances in St. Elsewhere and "Family Ties." 

Tracy was previously married to actor Billy Moses of the popular soap opera "Falcon Crest." Shortly after tying the knot with him, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer.

She underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove parts of her liver and lymph nodes, after which she endured months of grueling chemotherapy that caused a massive reduction in her weight. The cancer went into remission six months after. 


Matthew Nelson, Actress Tracy Nelson, and Musician Gunnar Nelson attend the 61st Annual Academy Awards Rehearsals on March 20, 1989. | Photo: Getty Images

However, Tracy continued working during her cancer battle and starred in the "Father Dowling Mysteries" series as Sister Stephanie Oskowski. She also guest-starred in shows like "Perry Mason" and "Melrose Place."


In August 1992, Tracy welcomed a daughter named Remington. However, she and Moses divorced in 1997 and share custody of their daughter. In 2001, the actress welcomed a second child and first son Elijah Nelson Clark with her boyfriend, Chris Clark. 

Actors Tracy Nelson and William R. Moses attend the 20th Anniversary Celebration of The National Organization for Women (NOW) on December 1, 1986. | Photo: Getty Images


Tracy is a proud mom of her kids and usually posts about them on social media. On February 4, she shared a picture of her daughter and captioned it:

"Lovely Remi just taught her first class at The Lee Strasbourg Institute West. And she's working on a TV show and she's studying for her Masters in drama therapy. #RemiRocks #ProudMama."


In January 2021, the proud mom announced her daughter's engagement to James Camali by sharing a snap of the lovebirds and expressing her delight.

In August 2019, Tracy shared a black-and-white snap of her son as an infant to mark his 18th birthday. In the post's caption, she paid tribute to Elijah and prayed for him. 



Ricky's lastborn child and son Sam is a musician. He leads vocals in the band H is Orange with Troy Brittain, Marcel Blanco, and Guy Staniar. He lived and studied in Spain but returned to the US in 2000. 

Sam has a close bond with his siblings, nieces, and nephews. In February 2021, his sister Tracy shared a picture of his high school graduation. The snapshot showed them cuddling and smiling. 

Ricky is probably in the heavens after living a short but eventful life. However, his children have continued his legacy and are making him proud. 

Hence, his name continues to mean so much even though he is no more. Hopefully, the Nelson family will continue to enjoy more successes to come.