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Who Is Willie Nelson’s Ex-wife Connie Koepke? Inside the Life of His Third Wife

Edduin Carvajal
Jun 28, 2022
07:45 P.M.
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Willie Nelson might be a legendary musician, but his love life has raised multiple eyebrows, especially after cheating on his second wife with Connie Koepke.

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Born on April 29, 1933, Willie Nelson is one of history's most influential country musicians. He began releasing music in the mid-1950s but shot to stardom in the 1970s with his albums "Shotgun Willie," "Red Headed Stranger," and "Stardust."

By the time Nelson's career skyrocketed, he had already divorced twice. Here's everything you need to know about Nelson's third wife, Connie Koepke.

Willie Nelson on May 7, 2015 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Willie Nelson on May 7, 2015 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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CONNIE KOEPKE’S PARENTS

Although Koepke was married to a legendary musician, she has kept most details of her life and career away from the spotlight. She grew up with her immigrant parents in Houston, Texas.

Her dad, George, was born in Germany but eventually moved to Texas and served in the U.S. Army. Her mom, Helen, came to the States from Hungary.

Koepke's birthday is June 6, but we don't know her age. She attended the Galena Park High School in Texas before pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.

Willie Nelson and his ex-wife Connie Koepke in New York circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Willie Nelson and his ex-wife Connie Koepke in New York circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

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CONNIE KOEPKE’S CAREER

Unlike her famous ex-husband, Koepke was not into music. Instead, she is a film producer. In 1984, she served as executive producer of "Streetwise," a documentary following teenagers living on the streets of Seattle.

In 2017, Koepke was among the many interviewees in "Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus." The documentary puts together unusual stories from different musicians, including Jerry Lee Lewis and Tammy Wynette.

Koepke is also expected to participate in "Lovey: King of the Roadies," a documentary about Benjamin "Lovey" Holladay Dorcy III, one of the world's first roadies ever. Koepke is currently working at Slow Uvalde Films.

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CONNIE KOEPKE'S BROTHER DIED OF AIDS

Koepke's father was not the only one who joined the military. Her brother, Mike, also served his country but sadly passed away too soon.

On July 31, 2015, Nelson's third wife posted an old photo of Mike on Facebook to commemorate what would have been his 69th birthday. In the caption, Koepke revealed he died of AIDS.

She explained Mike got into a "bad car wreck" and needed a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, the blood he received was infected with AIDS. Nobody knew it because he got the transfusion before blood started getting tested for the virus.

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WILLIE NELSON CHEATED ON HIS SECOND WIFE WITH CONNIE KOEPKE

Coming back to Koepke and Nelson's relationship, it got off on the wrong foot. They met in Cut and Shoot, Texas, in the late 1960s when Nelson was still married to his second wife, late musician Shirley Collie.

However, it didn't stop Nelson from getting romantically involved with Koepke. She became pregnant and gave birth to Paula Carlene on October 27, 1969.

The legendary singer admitted he was caught "flatfooted," so being honest was his only option.

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Collie learned about Paula and Koepke by accident. The hospital where Paula was born sent Nelson an invoice, but Collie read it. Nelson explained:

"Shirley saw a bill from a Houston hospital. I tried to play it off as no big deal. I told her that I had to go to the hospital for something minor."

However, Collie didn't believe him because the invoice specified that the charges were for Paula's birth, born to "Mrs. Connie Nelson." She understandably asked about it, and Nelson could no longer lie.

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The legendary singer admitted he was caught "flatfooted," so being honest was his only option. Nelson told Collie that Koepke was his girlfriend and Paula was their daughter.

Knowing that your spouse cheated on you and had a child with their mistress is heartbreaking, but learning it by accident makes everything even harder. Collie and Nelson divorced in 1970, the same year he married Koepke.

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CONNIE KOEPKE AND WILLIE NELSON HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS

Although the beginning of Koepke and Nelson's love story was far from perfect, they committed to their marriage and welcomed another child, Amy Lee, on July 6, 1973.

Koepke and Nelson's daughters followed in their famous father's footsteps and became musicians. In Paula's case, she formed the Paula Nelson Band and has released five studio albums (as of June 2022).

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She also hosted her radio show on Sirius XM's Outlaw Country channel. Paula and her dad have a healthy relationship, and she recorded a duet with him for his 2013 album, "To All the Girls."

Unfortunately, Paula's life has not been a walk in the park. She began experimenting with drugs as a teenager and needed to go to rehab in San Diego, California. She eventually got sober and became a counselor.

Amy also founded a band called the Folk Uke with Arlo Guthrie's daughter, Cathy Guthrie. Amy and Cathy have released three albums together (as of June 2022), and their famous dads have made guest appearances on some of their songs.

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WHY DID WILLIE NELSON DIVORCE CONNIE KOEPKE?

Koepke stood by Nelson's side even when he had issues with the law and got arrested for possession of marijuana. The first happened in Dallas in 1974, and the second in 1977 at an airport in the Bahamas.

In 1986, Nelson appeared in the film "Stagecoach," where he met makeup artist Ann Marie D'Angelo. Despite his relationship with Koepke, he fell in love with D'Angelo, so he divorced his third wife in 1988 to marry D'Angelo in 1991.

Nelson admitted to messing up another marriage and regretted the pain he caused his ex-wives. However, he said he didn't believe in the term "former" wife because his previous spouses would always be part of his family. Nelson and D'Angelo are still together. Way to go!

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