The realm of country music suffered a profound loss in 2020 with the departure of Kenny Rogers.
The accomplished singer-songwriter, actor, and producer hailing from Texas passed away at the age of 81, succumbing to natural causes in a hospice surrounded by his family in March 2020.
Kenny’s legacy endures through his fifth wife, Wanda, and their five children. Kenny’s encounter with Wanda was a tale of serendipity. He spotted her while on a date with another woman, and in that moment, he described it as 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,” recounted the then 54-year-old Kenny about Wanda, who was 26 at the time and worked as a hostess at a restaurant.
The two began dating, despite facing disapproval from Wanda’s parents due to the significant age gap.
Recalling this, Rogers shared with Fox News: “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’.”
Nonetheless, defying familial reservations, the couple’s love persisted for five years until they eventually married on June 1, 1997, at Kenny’s ranch near Athens, Georgia.
Seven years later, their family expanded with the birth of twin sons, Justin and Jordan, on July 6, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia. Justin Charles Rogers weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces, while Jordan Edward Rogers weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
The proud parents found it fitting to have twins, given that Wanda has an identical twin sister, and twins also run in Kenny’s family.
Kenny also had three children from his prior marriage to Marianne Gordon – Kenny Jr., Christopher, and Carole.
In 2015, Kenny Rogers retired, citing the desire to focus on his 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.”
The subsequent year, he temporarily came out of retirement, taking his two sons on his farewell tour, ‘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,” he said.
In the midst of sharing these experiences with his sons, Kenny’s health began to wane. He canceled the remaining dates of his last tour in 2018 due to health issues. Tragically, Kenny Rogers passed away in March 2020 at 81 years old, when his boys were 15 years old.
Reflecting on his life’s journey, in a 2017 Instagram post, Kenny Rogers expressed that being a father had been one of the most rewarding aspects of his life.