In 2020, the world of country music lost a true icon when Kenny Rogers passed away.
The Texas-born singer-songwriter-actor-producer, who was 81 years old at the time of his death in March 2020, passed away of natural causes in a hospice surrounded by loved ones.
The five children and Wanda, Kenny’s fifth wife, are all still alive and well.
Kenny saw Wanda on a date with another woman and claimed to have fallen in love at first sight.
“I’m honestly not sure she even looked at me, but I saw her. I don’t know what and I don’t know why, but there was just something incredibly different about her from the minute I saw her,” the then 54-year-old said of Wanda who was 26 at the time and working as a hostess at the restaurant.
Wanda’s parents were not happy with the age disparity, but the two continued dating nonetheless.
“Her parents are two years younger than me,” Rogers said to Fox News. “They called me when we started dating and said, ‘We want you to know we didn’t appreciate what you’re doing with our daughter’.”
They dated for five years before getting married on June 1, 1997, at Kenny’s ranch near Athens, Georgia, despite strong opposition from Kenny’s family.
Seven years later, on July 6, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia, the couple welcomed twin sons named Justin and Jordan.
Both Justin Charles and Jordan Edward Rogers were large babies at birth: 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and 5 pounds, 8 ounces, respectively.
Wanda has an identical twin sister, and the family of the country music legend also has a history of multiple births.
In addition to Kenny Jr., Christopher, and Carole, Kenny has three children from a former marriage to Marianne Gordon.
When he announced his retirement from music in 2015, Kenny Rogers remarked, “I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family.”
“My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories.”
He returned out of retirement the next year to take both boys on his farewell tour, dubbed “The Gambler’s Last Deal.”
“My goal is to spend some time with them and take them to some places they might not have gone to without me. So, they can look back someday and say, ‘My dad took me there.’ That, to me, is my legacy to them,” the star told Rare Country.
Kenny said he wanted to take his boys, who were 11 at the time, to Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, and Asia, but he joked that he’d “have to retire sooner” if he took them on every date of the tour.
He went to Africa on safari with his class and gave them all cameras, telling them to take lots of pictures of the things they found interesting to bring back and show the rest of the class.
“When we got them back they were all selfies..I’ll have to teach them something else I guess,” he joked.
When Rogers decided to stop touring so he could spend more time with his sons he told CMT: “I hope my fans understand that I’m a father first and a singer second… I’m missing some very great parts of my boys’ lives. I know as well as anybody else how that time gets away from you. And I don’t want to miss it. I just worry about how much longer I’m going to be here, and I want to have time to spend with them. It’s pretty simple.”
Kenny Rogers listed being a father as one of his life’s greatest joys in an Instagram post from 2017.
As his devoted following is well aware, Kenny was forced to postpone the rest of his 2018 tour due to health concerns.
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In March of 2020, when his sons were 15 years old, he passed away at the age of 81.
We’re relieved that the star was able to spend his final days with his loved ones.
The wonderful memories he had with his sons, who are now 19 years old, should bring them some solace.
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