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Kenny Rogers Blamed Himself for His 4 Failed Marriages — One Ended in a $60 Million Divorce

Oyin Balogun
May 09, 2022
08:20 P.M.
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Kenny Rogers was on top of his game as a music great, alongside other music pioneers during his lifetime. While his career saw success until his death, Kenny struggled with love and was married five times. 

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Kenny Rogers made an impressive impact on the American music scene, the world, and country music in particular. However, before his passing, Kenny admitted that his failed marriages were the bane of his adult life.

Kenny married early in life, as he tied the knot with Janice Gordon at the age of 19. The pair had young love, and Gordon became pregnant on their first night as lovers. The marriage lasted two years, leading Kenny to his other marriages. 

Kenny Rogers, poses during a 1986 Los Angeles, California, studio portrait session | Source: Getty Images

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HIS OTHER MARRIAGES

Kenny Rogers' marriage with his first wife lasted two years, from 1959 to 1960. Speaking about the union in an interview, the "Coward Of The County" crooner justified his early marriage noting that he loved Gordon.

In the same year he and Gordon called it off, Kenny met Jean, who became his second wife. A few months into their relationship, the pair walked down the aisle, hoping for forever. 

Kenny Rogers with his wife, Marianne Gordon, and son Christopher Rogers, in Los Angeles, California, circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images

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The union lasted until 1963 when the duo admitted to each other that it was better they went their separate ways. Although not much got out about Kenny's second marriage, he once spoke of his marriage to Jean Rogers. 

He shared that it did not take long for him and Jean to realize it "wasn't right." He noted that their union was boring for both parties, and from his inferences, it seemed as though their divorce did not come with drama. 

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A third trip down the aisle happened for Kenny in 1964 when he fell in love with Margo Anderson. Kenny believed he and Anderson had a wonderful marriage, and he has mentioned it in interviews. 

After their wedding, the couple welcomed a son, Kenny Jr., and he was their only child. Kenny and Anderson's marriage lasted until 1976, but he spoke highly of the marriage after separation. 

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The "Islands In The Stream" crooner described his 12-year marriage with Anderson as "exciting" while noting that the first nine years were "as good as it gets." According to him, things went awry in the last three years when he got busy with his career. He stated

"In fact, the first nine years were as good as it gets, and it was only the last few that got ugly. I was touring a lot and that is part of what killed the marriage."

INSIDE KENNY'S FOURTH MARRIAGE

Kenny Rogers and his wife Marianne Gordon attend an event in circa 1980 | Source: Getty Images

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One year after Kenny's marriage with Anderson was finalized, he sealed another marriage with star actress Marianne Rogers. Marianne, whose name was Marianne Gordon, switched surnames after marrying Kenny. 

The "Rosemary's Baby" actress and Kenny met at a time when both of their marriages to other people were falling apart. They had met on the set of "Hee Haw." The two would meet again at a party, and this was where their chemistry kicked off.

Kenny Rogers and his wife Marianne Gordon attend an event in circa 1983. | Source: Getty Images

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The marriage lasted almost two decades, within which they had a son, Chris. The couple went around with each other. Marianne attended her husband's tours while he went on set for her "Hee Haw" tapings.

Their only son was born in 1982, and it wouldn't be until 1993 before the couple ended their marriage. The "How To Stuff A Wild Bikini" actress parted with $60 million during their divorce proceedings. Once speaking about this, Kenny shared with Independence:

"She deserves every penny. Marianne really did deserve the 60 million because she is a great girl and we had a perfect marriage for 15 years."

Musician Kenny Rogers, wife Marianne Gordon, and son Christopher Rogers attend the 10th Annual American Music Awards on January 17, 1983 at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The award-winning entertainer affirmed this because Marianne had been by his side when he went broke after his former band First Edition broke up. He owed $60,000 at the time, and his wife stepped in for him. 

He shared that their marriage was fine until they had their son. The actor shared that his son was not responsible for their failed marriage, but Marianne could not go on tours with him anymore after his birth, which created a rift. 

ON HIS REGRETS

Picture of Kenny Rodgers, circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images

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Through the sweet and rocky times in all of his marriages, Kenny owned up that he had a major fault in the failures. In an interview with Reuters, Kenny mentioned music as his Achilles hill. He said:

"Music, at least for me, is like a mistress, and she's a difficult mistress for a wife to compete with."

The "Lady" crooner explained that he got to a point in his life where he got driven about his career. He described it as a "selfish" act because he was gone so often that his marriages suffered a disconnection. 

Country music singer Kenny Rogers performing during the 2017 CMA Music Festival on June 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee | Source: Getty Images

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The actor further added that every woman he married was the love of his life. Kenny did not blame his ex-wives for how their marriages ended. He ultimately blamed himself and his chosen career. Once speaking on Anderson Live, Kenny shared:

"I take the blame for it because I think it's a man's responsibility to protect that relationship, and I didn't." 

Kenny also shared that the marriage issues were his fault because he was afraid of not being successful in his career. In a bid to excel as a music star, the star "sacrificed" his relationships. 

THE FIFTH TIME'S THE CHARM

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Wanda Rogers and Kenny Rogers attend the 2012 CMT "Artists Of The Year" Awards at The Factory At Franklin on December 3, 2012 in Franklin, Tennessee | Source: Getty Images

Kenny's last wife, Wanda Miller, was 28 years younger than him, but the age difference had nothing on their love. He met her in the mid-90s, and by 1997, the two walked down the aisle.

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Speaking about Wanda, Kenny shared that she was his soulmate. The "Buy Me A Rose" singer shared that Wanda knew him more than anyone else, and he was not as insensitive as he had been in his older marriages. 

Kenny Rogers and wife Wanda Miller Rogers attend the 2017 IEBA Honors & Awards on October 17, 2017 | Source: Getty Images

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Another fantastic detail in their union was how Kenny's ex-wife, Marianne, had a cordial relationship with Wanda. The star shared that the two women got along well. He noted:

"Ex-wives can make current wives miserable, but Marianne doesn't do that. She sees I'm happy and that makes her happy."

Kenny spent his last days in blissful union with Wanda. He started his marital life rocky, and he had to try many times before he could get it right, but he did. 

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The music star's death was announced in March 2020, having passed away peacefully from natural causes. The singer was in hospice care and surrounded by his family until the time of his death at 81. 

Kenny Rogers is survived by Miller and their twin sons, Justin and Jordan. He is also survived by his first child Carole Billingsley from his marriage to Janice Gordon. His other kids were Kenny Jr. and Christopher from Anderson and Marianne. 

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