American country music star Willie Nelson has been making music for over 6 decades and now in his eighties, Nelson seems to be showing no signs of slowing playing tours extensively around the nation. In addition to singing and songwriting, Willie Nelson is also an activist, actor, and poet.
Like every other entertainer in the industry, Nelson has had his fair share of ups and downs, however, he has managed to overcome them all and stay on his feet. Follow us as we explore more about this outlaw country pioneer.
Willie Nelson Bio/Wiki
Willie Hugh Nelson was born on April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas to parents Ira Doyle Nelson and Myrle Marie (née Greenhaw). Born during the Great Depression, Willie and his older sister Bonnie were raised by their grandparents after their mom left and their father also moved away from Abbott.
As a child, Willie with his grandparents would attend the Methodist Church where he got his first ever exposure to music singing in the church choir. Willie showed so much passion for music that his granddad bought him a guitar when he was 6 years old. At 7, Willie began writing his own songs.
As Willie grew, he became more immersed in music and started performing locally. In 1950, he graduated from Abbott High School where he played football. After high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force, however, his stint was short-lived as he was discharged honorably due to a back injury.
Uncertain about his future, Willie enrolled at Baylor University to study agriculture, all the while, he continued to pursue his musical interests. He soon began performing as a disc jockey and later honed his songwriting skills which landed him a job in Nashville’s Pamper Music for a $50 per week pay.
Soon, the songs Willie wrote for other artists became a huge hit including; Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Ray Price’s Night Life and more. On the flip side, Nelson’s own music struggled to find success compared to the ones he wrote for people, this was partly due to his outlaw country sound which he refused to change despite suggestions from music executives.
Years passed and in 1975, Nelson’s music began to gain traction. He picked up his first Grammy the same year for “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” and the rest, as they say it, is history.
In addition to music, Willie Nelson has appeared in over 30 films and co-authored a number of books.
Willie Nelson Spouse – Annie D’Angelo
Nelson has had a lot of troubles in his personal life especially when it comes to his relationship with women, however, at the fourth try at marriage, Nelson seemed to have found what he wanted with Annie D’Angelo, his fourth wife, and current spouse.
Willie and Annie tied the knot in September 1991 in Nashville, Tennessee and have since remained married.
Annie who was then working as a makeup artist for films met Nelson when she was brought to work in the make up department for the 1986 film Stagecoach and as fate would have it, Nelson was among the actors in that film.
Despite the 21-year-old age difference between them (Annie was born in 1956), the pair were attracted to each other and ultimately made it down the aisle. Years passed and there wasn’t any news of divorce or tension between the two. In 2016, they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
Annie has no doubt been a positive influence to Nelson as the country star has had few run-ins with the law since marrying his fourth wife. The couple is parents to two sons named; Lukas Autry and Jacob Micah. Lukas has since followed in the footsteps of his dad. He is the lead vocalist/guitarist of the California based rock band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real aka POTR. Lukas often sports his dad’s signature look of wearing a bandanna on his head.
Nelson and his spouse Annie live in a sustainable solar-powered community on a Hawaiian island called Maui.
Having been married four times in his life, Willie Nelson has a large family. His first marriage to Martha Matthews produced three children; Lana, Susie and Willie “Billy” Hugh, Jr.
The latter, son Billy hung himself in 1991. Willie was married to Martha from 1952 to 1962. The marriage was marked by domestic violence with Martha once tying Willie up and flogging him with a broom.
In less than a year after finalizing his divorce from his abusive wife, Nelson then married fellow country music star and yodeler, Shirley Collie. The marriage produced no child and ended in 1971 with Shirley divorcing Nelson after she discovered that Nelson had cheated on her by fathering a lovechild with Connie Koepke.
That child, a daughter named Paula Nelson was born on October 27, 1969, in Houston Texas. Nelson would then marry Connie Koepke still in 1971 and together they had a second child, a daughter Amy Lee Nelson. About 17 years later, Nelson and Connie divorced.
Nelson in his autobiography “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” released in December 2012 revealed that he has a secret family. He narrated that he had recently reunited with an old lover Mary Harney only to discover that he fathered a child with her named Renee. He added that Renne was now a grandmother, making him a great-grandfather.
Adding all of his issues from all relationships, Willie Nelson has 7 children.
Wille Nelson has severally been a victim of a death hoax stemming from his ill health. A number of times in the later years of his career, Willie has had to cancel shows due to ill health, most of which always has to do with his lungs. In some extreme cases, he has been taken off stage while performing.
Many tabloids are often quick to come up with rumors of his death after such incidences. The latest one, as of this writing, happened in early 2018 when Willie was performing at Harrah’s Resort in SoCal. Halfway through his first song of the night which was “Whiskey River,” Willie appeared to have difficulty breathing and was taken off stage. His rep released a statement saying he had a bad cold but was recovering at his home.
Upcoming tour dates were canceled and rescheduled for later in February.
In response to the death hoaxes about him, Willie in April 2017 released a song titled Still Not Dead from his album God’s Problem Child. Part of the song says; “I woke up still not dead again today.”
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Though Willie Nelson is “Still Not Dead” it is most likely that he’ll die doing what he loves most – performing to a crowd.
Height: 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m)