Kenny Rogers is well known for his country music and he dominated the charts in the 70’s and 80’s.
Tributes flowed in on social media within hours after his passing. Kenny worked extremely hard for every penny he earned and was valued at a very impressive amount.
Scroll down to find out exactly how much….
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Despite his success many people feel that Kenny Rogers was kind and humble to the end.
Kenny grew up with his parents and six siblings in a federal housing project in Houston, on the wrong side of the tracks. His father was a carpenter but struggled with alcoholism, which affected Kenny and his entire family.
“We were on welfare most of my childhood,” Kenny said.
Father’s drinking problem
His father’s alcohol problem had long-term consequences for Kenny.
“I think that one of the real tragedies in my life is that I never really got to know why my dad drank. He couldn’t really support his family and I think it just broke him down. It breaks my heart that I didn’t know that before he passed away,” Kenny said in 2012.
“I never drank in my life. I saw it destroy him and saw it destroy other people I work with, so I made a conscious decision about this,” he said.
Kenny describes how his childhood shaped him:
“I think it made me more determined. One of the things I talk about in the book is the fine line between being driven and being selfish. I think there were times in my life I was so driven I became very selfish, and I’m not proud of that. I think it’s a realization I came to when I was writing this book”.
Kenny knew from a young age he wanted to become a singer and pursue a music career.
He became a living as a busboy at the Rice Hotel in Houston, and cleaned the floor in a hat shop to earn more money. Kenny never really learned how to manage money as he would spend every dollar as he got it.
He started his first band in the late 1950’s,
A group called the Scholars who managed to score a few local hits that sold around Houston. His brother, Lelan, remembered a particular highlight from the beginning of Kenny’s career, when he sang solo at a local concert.
“All the little girls started screaming and carrying on. It was just like Elvis. And my wife leaned over and said to me, ‘There’s your star.’ I said ‘That’s no star, it’s just my kid brother,’” Lelan recalled in 2014.
Kenny experimented with many different styles of music over the years.
In 1958, Kenny then had a minor breakthrough when he recorded the hit single “That Crazy Feeling” and made an appearance on the popular music program American Bandstand.
In the mid-1970s, Kenny once again embarked on a solo career and this time he would become a household name all across the United States. His focus turned to country music and he became a huge success. In 1978, “The Gambler” became an instant hit which was one of Kenny’s most famous songs.
“We remember the story differently. He remembers me not liking it, and I don’t … but whatever’s real is real. But I remember both of us looking at each other – and I think we both really, truly felt this was gonna be a major country record. I don’t think either one of us ever dreamed it would be what it ended up being.”
Partnership with Dolly Parton
He became at least as well known for his duets and collaborations with country legend Dolly Parton. The iconic duo recorded several songs together.
In 2017, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers performed the song for the very last time together, at Kenny’s final show in Nashville. When Kenny passed away in March of 2020,
Dolly wrote a heartfelt tribute to her beloved friend.
“You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend,” she wrote.
Kenny Rogers also appeared in several films.
His most famous role came in the movie “Six Pack”, where he played a race-car driver. It ended up grossing $20 million in US box office sales.
Kenny Rodger had everything he owned a private Lear jet, and lived on his 1,200–acre farm in east Georgia.
Kenny eventually sold the restaurant to Nathan’s Famous and created his own record label, Dreamcatcher Entertainment.
“I’m ambitious, but success is not what drives me,” he once said.
“Happiness drives me. I would’ve been content being a local musician, I think, playing my music as long as I could make my house payment and my car payment, and have a lifestyle I was happy with. I would’ve been happy with that.”
Kenny Rogers’s wives
Kenny Rogers was married five times and had five children.
“And this may seem like an absurd statement, but every woman I married, I really loved when I married her. And I do not blame them for the marriage falling apart. I blame myself and my chosen field of music. That’s why I say that music is a mistress, because you can not wait to get out there to it, and usually the mistress wins in a situation like that,” Kenny said.
Kenny’s third marriage was to Margo Anderson and they had one child. In 1977, Kenny said “I do” to his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon. After nearly 17 years together, they divorced in 1993 with one child.
That divorce alone cost Kenny $60 million. “Marianne really did deserve the $60 million because she is a great girl and we had a perfect marriage for 15 years,” Kenny mentioned.
Wanda Miller Rogers
Kenny had been through a lot of love drama before he met his biggest love and soulmate, Wanda Miller who he first met Wanda while on a blind date with another woman, it was love at first sight for him.
“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,” he said about Wanda.
When they began dating, Wanda’s parents didn’t approve due to the age gap between Rogers and their daughter.
“Her parents are two years younger than me. 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’. And I said, First of all I don’t blame you. I don’t think I would either, but I will make you a promise. I will never lie to her and I will never lie to you,” Rogers remarked.
Identical twin sons
Kenny and Wanda’s love was real, and they knew they wanted to share their lives with each other. They married in 1997 and welcomed their identical twin sons, Jordan and Justin, in 2004. The boys arrived just before Kenny’s 66th birthday.
“They say that twins at my age will either make you or break you. Right now I’m leaning towards break. I would kill for the energy they’ve got,” Rogers once said.
Wanda Miller Rogers was by Kenny’s side for almost thirty years and they built a wonderful life together. Kenny was surrounded by Wanda and his kids when he passed away at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Kenny Rogers net worth
Prior to his death Kenny was valued at $250 million which he gained through the 65 albums he recorded.
Kenny shared his wealth with wife Wanda Miller and his five kids: Carole, 61, Kenny Jr., 55, Christopher, 38, and twin sons Justin and Jordan, both 15.