Sonji Roi: Life and Death of Muhammad Ali’s Ex-wife

Sonji Roi was the wife of first wife of the late legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. She was an American model, singer, and waitress. She was married to Ali for two years before their divorce in 1966. She was born on November 23, 1945, and died on October 11th, 2005, at 64.

When it comes to celebrities, one thing that captures the attention of many is their love affairs and marriages. Sonji Roi is one name that pops up every time there is a discussion about the personal life of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. Even though their marriage did not last, it was well publicized, especially for why it did not work out. Here are all the details you need to know about the life and death of Sonji Roi.

Summary of Sonji Roi’s Bio

  • Full Name: Sonji Roi
  • Nickname: Sonji
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of Birth: November 23, 1945
  • Died: October 11th, 2005 (64 Years Old)
  • Ethnicity: African – American
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Marital Status: Divorced as at the time of death
  • Sonji Roi’s Husband: Muhammad Ali (1964 – 1966), Reynaldo Glover
  • Sonji Roi’s Children: Brian Reynaldo Jr, Herman Griffin
  • Sonji Roi’s Height in Inches: 5 feet 5 inches
  • Sonji Roi’s Height in Centimeters: 165.1 cm
  • Sonji Roi’s Net Worth: $1 million – $5 million
  • Famous For: Being Muhammad Ali’s Ex-Wife

Sonji Roi Was Born in 1941 in The United States Of America

Sonji Roi

Sonji Roi was from Brooklyn, New York. She was born to her parents on November 23, 1945. There is no information on who are parents are, as she revealed little about her family while she was alive. She allegedly had a difficult childhood, as her parents passed away when she was young.

With the kind of childhood she had, it made sense that Sonji learned how to take care of herself early, and this shaped her adult life. She was a hardworking lady, and in the bid to fend for herself and pay her bills, she took up diverse jobs like working in nightclubs and as a cocktail waitress. She also did some modeling on the side.

She tried her hands at music but did not go far with it. However, she gained wide recognition from the Here I Am and Here I Stay records.

How Roi Became Muhammad Ali’s Wife

Even though Sonji Roi was adept at a whole lot of things, none of them got her to the limelight as fast as she wanted. However, all of that changed when she met Mohammad Ali. Sonji Roi met Muhammad Ali at a nightclub in Miami, Florida, in July 1964. However, there are different accounts of how they met.

According to Sonji Roi, she was working as a cocktail waitress at the nightclub when Ali came in with his entourage. He was immediately attracted to her and asked her to dance. They danced all night, and Ali proposed to her at the end of the evening.

However, Ali’s manager, Herbert Muhammad, had a different account. He said that he introduced Ali and Sonji at the nightclub and that Ali was not immediately attracted to her, but he was impressed by her confidence and intelligence. Whatever the case, Muhammad Ali proposed to Sonji Roi on the first day he met her before they started dating.

Sonji Roi Became Muhammad Ali’s Wife in 1964

In 1964, the same year Ali won his first heavyweight title, he married his first wife, Sonji Ro,i after dating her for just one month. At the time they got married, Sonji Roi was 18 while Muhammad Ali was 22. Sonji and Muhammad exchanged vows in a simple wedding ceremony that took place in Gary, Indiana, on August 14, 1964.

With her marriage to Ali, Sonji achieved the fame she wanted because the boxer’s career was just taking shape at the time, and he was receiving a lot of attention from the press. The union went on smoothly for two years but did not produce any children.

Sonji Roi Divorced Muhammad Ali Because Of His Belief in Islam

Sonji’s marriage to Ali was controversial from the start. Some people objected to the fact that Ali was a Muslim and that Roi was not. Others objected to the fact that Roi was white. The marriage also had problems because of Ali’s religious beliefs. Roi was not a Muslim, and she refused to convert. This led to disagreements between them.

Ali complained that Roi was not doing what she was supposed to do and was not behaving like a proper Muslim wife should. He cited instances like the fact that she still wore trousers, lipstick, and revealing clothes and often visited nightclubs and bars. A short two years after they got married, Roi filed for a divorce in 1966.

She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce, even though it was apparent that there was more going on. According to accounts, Sonji believed that her husband’s intellect and reasoning had changed significantly as a result of his conversion to Islam, and she was unable to accept the Muslim religion’s practices on worship, attire, and lifestyle. The divorce was finalized in 1967. Ali’s brother would later reveal that the legendary boxer did not get over the divorce easily.

Sonji Roi

Moving on from her divorce, Sonji relocated to Chicago and became a successful actress and model. She also found love again in the arms of a corporate lawyer and business advisor named Reynaldo Glover. They got married and had a son named Brian Renaldo Jr. She also had another child named Herman Griffin with another man who is unknown to any source.

Sonji Roi’s Ex-Husband Was a Legendary Boxer

Sonji Roi’s ex-husband was born to his parents on January 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay. Many are already familiar with his name as he is a professional boxer and activist nicknamed “the Greatest”. He was an undisputed champion from 1974 to 1978 after holding the Ring magazine heavyweight title from 1964 – 1970.

Ali began his career in 1956, competing in the Golden Gloves tournament, after which he went further in his career and won the light-heavyweight division in the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions. He had a successful career winning 56 matches of which 27 were by knockout. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and many other achievements in his name. Muhammad Ali till date is still known as the Greatest Boxer

Muhammad Ali died from septic shock on June 2, 2016, at a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he lived. He was 74 years old at the time of his death.

Sonji Roi Died in 2005

Sonji died on October 11th, 2005, at the age of 64, at her home in Hyde Park located in Chicago’s South Side. She is said to have died of natural causes, but her nephew, Clay-Glover, is strongly of the belief that she had died from a heart attack as she was found dead in her home.

Sonji Roi’s Net Worth

Sonji Roi’s net worth at the time of her death was estimated to be between $1 and $5 million. Her primary source of income was her music career. Her ex-husband, Muhammad Ali, on the other hand, had a net worth of $80 million at the time of his death.

Hugo Wright
Hugo Wright
Hugo has extensive professional writing experience and has been writing and editing articles on multiple platforms for several years now. Away from work, he is a football addict who loves to catch up on his favourite pastimes.


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