It is said that a great woman is the driving force behind any great man, but in the case of the renowned Chuck Norris, he is fortunate enough to have not one but two amazing ladies in his life to support him: his wife and his mother.
The well-known specialist in martial arts and actor, who is now 81 years old, is married to the former fashion model Gena O’Kelley, and he frequently brags about her on social media.
When the pair celebrated 22 years of marriage in November, he turned to Instagram to convey his feelings about the lady who has been a part of his life for so long.
“22 years ago I became the luckiest man in the world when Gena and I got married,” he wrote. “Happy Anniversary my beautiful wife! There are no words to describe my love and appreciation for you. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I praise God for every day we are together.”
The Oklahoma native and father of five is also blessed to have another powerful and supporting lady in his life: his mother, Wilma Norris Knight, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday in the month of May.
Norris frequently talks about how difficult life has been for his mother, but despite everything, she has managed to maintain her faith and continues to pray for her eldest son on a daily basis.
According to the grandpa of 13, his mother was isolated from her family for a period of two years while she was confined to a children’s hospital since she was diagnosed with a rare condition when she was only 8 years old.
She was only 10 years old when she was finally able to leave the hospital, but rather than returning home to resume her normal life, she was forced to assist in the care of her family during the Great Depression. Her family had lived in extreme poverty their whole lives.
Cotton picking was one of the many occupations that she had to take on to help support her family in rural Wilson, Oklahoma. She could have been attending school and playing, but instead she had to work many jobs to make ends meet.
When they were through harvesting one field, they would frequently relocate to a different town to harvest another field. According to Chuck, who lived through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, “there was nothing simple about living in the Dust Bowl, especially during the decade of the Great Depression.”
She was married when she was 16 years old to Chuck’s father, but he left her after a few years of marriage, leaving her to raise their three sons by herself.
Chuck shared with Christian Post that during his mother’s whole life, she had been a model of steadfastness and faith.
“She’s also endured the deaths of her two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren, and my younger brother Wieland in the Vietnam War. She’s had cancer repeatedly and has gone through roughly 30 different surgeries for a host of issues – and yet she’s still here to tell about it.”
Not only has prayer assisted this courageous mother in overcoming the challenges in her life, but Chuck attributes his own success to the prayers sent up by his mother.
“Throughout the ups and downs of my life, my mother has never stopped praying for me.
“When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked.”
Additionally, Chuck added, “During this Mother’s Day week, I celebrate my wife, Gena, just as much as I do my own mother.” Gena is the Chief Executive Officer of our newly founded artesian bottled water business, CFORCE, and she assists me in running all of my businesses. But above all else, she is the mother of our twins, the woman I love more than anything else in the world, and my closest friend.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for these two incredible women’s influence in my life.”