Kenny Rogers’ 6 Decade Long Career: The Music, The Acting, The Money & The Women Who Were Part Of His Journey

It All Started Quite Early

As a new artist, Kenny Rogers had planned to keep his real name ‘Kenneth’. However, when he performed as a young star in a variety show hosted by Larry Kane, Kane introduced him as Kenny, and when hoards of screaming girls and young women in the audience went crazy, the name stuck. Little did he know the defining moment that would be for the rest of his career. That was just the beginning…

When He Lost His Virginity, He Impregnated a Woman

Whilst Rogers lost his virginity slightly older than some boys, at 19 years old, his first time also remains memorable as he managed to father a child too. However, whilst he may be the biological dad to a girl, another man brought her up when the mother married someone else. Rogers appears quite relaxed with this set up despite maintaining that he loved the girl that he lost his virginity to. Want to hear about his friendship with Dolly? Click next…

He’s Older Than His Current Wife’s Parents

Rogers’s love life is certainly a story with many a chequered chapter to it. Not least so now, on his fifth marriage, given that he is two years older than his wife’s parents. However, despite a rocky start in which the parents of wife, Wanda, were not happy with the relationship, they now are all very amicable with one another and have a solid friendship between them. Keep reading to find out which wife cost him half of his fortune!

Two Decades of Marriages & Divorces

Early on in his life Kenny pursued the ladies.Between 1958 till 1976 Kenny Rogers’ love life was far from calm. Kenny who was obviously a ladies man managed to get married 3 times and divorced exactly 3 times. His first marriage was to Janice Gordon who he had a child with. The marriage was short and lasted 2 short years till 1960. Not long after Kenny met Jean Rogers and married her, the marriage lasted a little longer but still only 3 years. But wait his love drama doesn’t end here…

Third Time’s Not So Much A Charm

Kenny moved on to his next marriage in 1964 right after the end of his second marriage. He could not stay alone and believed marriage was the way for all of his relationships. His third marriage with Margo Anderson also ended with a divorce in 1976 and 1 child. After three marriages and three children behind him Rogers would have to deal with the consequences of having different and separated families. He says of his older children today that he feels better that they grew up raised by their mothers and not by him. He feels they were better off without him in their lives.

The Woman Who Cost Rogers $60million

Perhaps the marriage that stung the most was his union with Marianne Gordon.  This was his fourth marriage and it is almost never forgotten in tabloids about Kenny Rogers. Their divorce was messy and acrimonious after a sixteen year relationship, in which time Gordon bore Rogers a son. For the time she spent with the country music king and the fact that she mothered a child for him, she was awarded a huge $60 million in their divorce settlement. A number than stands out in the vast world of celebrity divorce settlements.

Soulmates At Last

Kenny and his fifth wife Wanda seem to be in a happy and stable marriage something Kenny hasn’t seen over the years. He deserves the love. Kenny knows that people look down at him for being married so many times but he doesn’t care because he says him and Wanda are truly soulmates. The pair have been married since 1997 and still going strong. Kenny said he just can’t bare to see himself get married a 6th time. Even for him that’s too much so he is extremely happy that he has Wanda to lean on!

Regrets & Children

Kenny and Wanda have two mutual children, two twin boys. He knew that having children with Wanda at his older age would be a risk but it’s something that he wanted to do for Wanda because he didn’t want her regretting the marriage and the fact that they didn’t have children. That’s love! Kenny now being in a good relationship has looked back on his previous marriages and says that he feels like ruined part of his family life with all the divorce drama. He sees in hindsight the trauma that the divorce had on his children and he regrets getting them into that mess.

The Problem With Being A Mommy’s Boy

Kenny Rogers followed a music career thanks to some sage advice from his mother. She told him that by following a path where he would be doing something he loved every day, he technically would never be working a day in his life – simply getting paid to do what he enjoyed. He claims now that by really loving the music that he performs, he has been able to cope with what the music industry has thrown at him over the course of his career. But at some point, he needed to start making decisions for himself but he kept seeking for the advice of his mother.

Mom Wasn’t Happy With Him

Kenny Rogers loved his mom so much that one of his best hits is a ballad called ‘Lucille’, which was her name. Although he didn’t write the song, the truth is that when it came out, his mother was actually not amused by it. Rogers shared in an interview that his mother called him and scolded him for ‘putting her business out there’. This episode in his life was another defining moment for the choices he would make in the future…

What Kenneth Rogers Did Before He Was a Country Music Star

Kenny Rogers was once in the band entitled The First Edition. It had a very different sound to the music that we usually connect to the country star. Instead of bluegrass melodies, The First Edition had a much more hippie and pop feel to it. To match the band’s sound, Rogers grew his hair long, had his ears pierced as well as donning a pair of bright pink sunglasses. Fans of the Big Lebowski will recognise The First Edition song as it is played during the dream sequence scene.

The Dramatic Exit From The First Edition

In late 1974, the band did their final effort to jump-start their domestic careers. Even though the band was successful, it had gotten to a point where a big break through was needed otherwise it wouldn’t survive. Kenny had become short on money by that time, and was in debt. So he decided to hawk guitar lessons for a commercial, but that didn’t do any good to the other band members, image-wise. So in 1975, one of the band’s members left, creating a dramatic response from Kenny and the others. After a while the band decided to pursue different dreams.

He Was Also a Jazz Bassist

Before going on to be a huge country music solo artist in his own right, Rogers also spent time as a jazz bassist in the band The Bobby Doyle Trio. The band broke up in 1965 after failing to crack the music world. It makes you wonder what state the country music industry would be in if Rogers’s jazz band had been more successful. Or if he had given up once they disbanded. Are you shocked that Kenny Rogers failed in a band? Wait until you see what’s next…

His Father Had a Substance Abuse Problem

When Kenny Rogers’ father returned from fighting in World War II, he, like many Americans, found it difficult to find work in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Due to being unemployed and therefore not able to provide for his family, Rogers’ father turned to alcohol in a futile effort to alleviate his worsening depression. Rogers has often admitted that it was seeing his father behave in this way that made him strive for better in his life.

He Only Ever Performed Once Under the Influence

Unlike his father, and unlike many artists before him, Rogers was able to resist the temptations of drink and drugs that are so often prevalent in the music industry. Given that he was in a psychedelic disco band in the 60s, he would have had his fair share of temptation, too. However, he admits that the only time he took something and performed, his vocals deteriorated to such a degree, he never did it again.

His Plastic Surgery Went Wrong

Kenny Rogers is one of the few stars on the planet that has admitted to going under the knife in order to maintain or enhance their looks. He also freely admits that he has been disappointed with the results of his surgery – much to the amusement of his friend, and fellow plastic surgery lover, Dolly Parton. Parton believes his new look to be very becoming on her country music pal and sometimes singing partner. But wait until you read why he had surgery in the first place…

Why Kenny Rogers Says He Had Plastic Surgery

Whilst Rogers admits that he had plastic surgery that went wrong, he also admits why he got it in the first place – and he doesn’t cite medical reasons either. He claims that he did it for the simple reason that, as his wife is so much more his junior, he wanted to look younger like her too. What a fantastic compliment to be given by someone so admired and adored by so many, regardless of whether it turned out how he wanted.

He Cameoed in Reno 911

As well as Mad TV, Rogers appeared on the noughties show, Reno 911 as himself. The storyline for the episode in which he appeared was that he was in town for a book signing and therefore in need of security. When two massive Kenny Rogers fans volunteer to be on his watch, farce descends in the most amusing of ways. It is another example of how Rogers knew how to market himself in other ways than just through his music and performing.

He Also Cameoed in a Geico Commercial

Making use of his hit song, The Gambler, Kenny Rogers appears in a Geico commercial selling insurance. The song is of particular poignancy to the scene as the commercial is set at a poker game with three other friends of his. It’s a funny commercial that is memorable when first seen. Whilst some thought that Rogers was selling out by giving his music to a commercial, and one selling insurance too, he was able to reach new audiences by doing so.

There’s a Kenny Rogers Movie

Not happy with numerous TV appearances, Kenny Rogers also starred in a film called Six Pack which grossed around $20million in the US at the box office. Rogers plays a man whose car is stripped down by a number of orphans acting on the local sheriff’s orders. To get his car back, Rogers has to take part in racing. It is a wholesome movie suitable for watching with the family. Rogers, unsurprisingly, steals the show though.

He Has Appeared in the Muppet Show

Following his other TV appearances, Rogers has also made an appearance on the Muppet Show. He performs on the show and sings the Gambler with one of the muppets acting as a gambler in the skit whilst he sings. Prior to his performance, Rogers also takes part in a scene where his dressing room is sold to high bidders causing much hilarity and confusion. Wait until you read how else he reached new audiences and markets though, click on…

He Asked QVC Viewers to Compile a Record for Him

Showing some business acumen, when Rogers wanted to make a greatest hits record, but was unsure what songs to put on it, he asked the viewers of QVC to cast their vote and decide for him instead. The two disc record was only available, at first, to buy through QVC itself. Only one year later, however, Rogers released the album for wider distribution. The record includes all time favourites like When A Man Loves Woman. This wasn’t his only different approach to selling his music – are you ready for what’s next?

One Of His CDs is Only Available at Cracker Barrel

In another key marketing ploy, Rogers’s record, ‘The Love of God’, is only available to purchase at Cracker Barrel restaurants. It is a unique compilation of songs too as it’s a collection of gospel tunes that he listened to as a young boy in Texas. By partnering up and selling his work at Cracker Barrel he endeared himself to many, especially with such a touching and personal collection of songs.

He Was a Huge Home Improvement Fan

In the 90s, one of the biggest shows on TV was the Tim Allen show, Home Improvement. Allen starred as a family man who presented a cable show all about home improvement – often relying on his sidekick to do the actual work. Rogers loved the show so much, that when it aired its final show in 1999, he wrote a song for the finale. It isn’t available to hear or purchase anywhere else. You’ll never guess the next fact though…

He’s a Huge History Geek

Kenny Rogers loves history – more specifically he loves to learn about anything to do with the Wild West and the United States. This led him to present a show called ‘The Real West’ in the early 90s, which is still rerun today by the History Channel. The show looked at key events and short term causes to the expansion of the US into the West. It sounds so surprising to have such a music great so engrossed in history, but the show was watched by many.

The Kenny Rogers Hotline


Kenny Rogers was once embroiled in a career-threatening scandal. He set up his own phone line on which women could call him for conversations of a sexual nature. He claims, however, that when setting it up, he did so in such a way that women had the full knowledge of the purpose of the 1-800 number should they use it. The conversations still got him into hot water and damaged his image for a time. Shocked? You ain’t seen nothing yet…

The Money Behind the Music

Even with a prolific career that so many wannabes dream of, Rogers claims that he is more often than not almost out of money – despite having made countless records and won countless awards. He blames growing up with next to nothing – he says he was never given the opportunity to budget, save or manage his money well. He is perhaps too hard on himself though. He made so much from such humble beginnings.

His Long Standing Relationship with Dolly Parton

Their relationship has been subject to media rumour for as long as they have both been making music. Their natural chemistry in songs they duet on, like You Can’t Make Old Friends, has made many a person ask if they had ever been more than just good friends, both of which they deny. Either way, they both made a great on stage partnership and made some great music together. Their partnership, if not romantic, was certainly artistically productive.

His Autobiography Is a Brilliant Read

With over five decades in the music industry, Kenny Rogers has a number of stories to tell. He documents his time as a performer in his memoir ‘Luck or Something Like It’. Starting with his days as a jazz artist, he moves on to how he became a solo artist that took the country music world by storm. It’s an interesting read that is only fitting for a man with such an entertaining past. Read on to see why it was almost not published though…

His Autobiography Was Almost Not Published

Rogers was hesitant to write his autobiography. He assumed that people would only read it due to some of the scandals that had plagued his otherwise great career. He was persuaded by his publishers that this wasn’t the case – that the true story was how a music legend came from one of the poorest areas in Houston. It is amazing to think that Rogers was unaware at how interesting his life was to his fans. Keep clicking to find out which woman took $60million from this boy done good.

He Could Have Won Wimbledon

If Kenny Rogers’ music career as a leading country artist had failed, he could have fallen back on another one of his loves, tennis. He was known to practise whilst on tour, and for hours on end, several times a week when at home. He was even nationally ranked by the United States Tennis Association at one point and had the opportunity to practise against some of America’s top players. Surprised? Click on to see how else he supplements in his income…

He’s An Interior Design Buff

Kenny Rogers has redesigned and renovated over 20 houses in his lifetime and shows a real flair and knack for interior design. He has even put his money where his mouth is and opened an interior design studio called Kenji Design Studio with a man called Jim Weinberg who is both a friend and business partner to Rogers. That’s not all he does to make money when he isn’t selling multi award winning music. Read on to find out…

His Restaurant Chain: Kenny Rogers Roasters

With a huge love of food, and chicken in particular, Rogers started a fast food chain that competed with other market leaders, like KFC, by selling food with a much lower salt and fat level. The restaurants can now only be found in the Philippines or Malaysia. It was a brave move for the Texan to put his money where his mouth was, and try to change the fast food industry by leading the way in making it healthier. Read on to see how else he shows his bravery…

His Albums, by Numbers

Kenny Rogers has made many albums, but sold millions more. It is because of this that he is ranked as the 8th most profitable musician in the world by the RIAA. This is down to 30 of his albums going gold, 19 going platinum and one earning its status as a Diamond record. In fact, his Diamond record was a greatest hits album that sold over 24 million copies. His reputation, therefore, really does precede him.

He’s in the Country Music Hall of Fame

In 2013, Kenny Rogers made it into the Country Music Hall of Fame. This was widely seen as a justified move given Rogers’ part in making country music more widely popular in mainstream channels, not to mention the influence he has on so many other country music artists around today. Garth Brooks, for example, cites him as the man who showed him how to be a performer when he was new to the business. Read on to see what other acts of kindness he has performed.

We Are The World

When drought hit Ethiopia and Sudan amongst many other African countries in the 1980s, causing a humanitarian crisis, singers and performers came together to help all those that were suffering from starvation. Some of the biggest stars of the time sang on the hit single ‘We are The World’ to raise money that could help the families that were affected. Kenny Rogers was one of those stars, and the single went on to raise over $60million.

The Kenny Rogers Classic TV Show

To further support his charity work, Rogers started a TV show in which he asked his celebrity friends to come and compete in sports events. People like Michael Jordan, John McEnroe and Woody Harrelson, to name just a few, signed up to play tennis, basketball and golf. It was work like this, amongst other charitable deeds, that makes Rogers one of the kindest music stars out there. Read on to see how else he shows his kind human side…

Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Rogers was diagnosed with skin cancer and he blames the hours he spent in the sun throughout his life as the culprit. He has often spoken about his battle with the condition and has done so in the past for National Skin Cancer Month. Raising awareness has been another high point in his career. It has led him to retire from the music industry, wanting to spend as much time with his family as possible. Read on for more Kenny Rogers facts.

Kenny Rogers in Retirement

Country music saw one of its biggest exports retire in 2017 at the tender age of 79. Kenny Rogers had been performing for almost six decades at that point. In that time, he helped make country music more appealing to the mainstream and have more notability than it had had before his time. The country world has lost a great musician in the process. Click next to see who it was that cost the country music legend a massive $60 million…

He had a pretty famous roommate

While he is most known for his role as a singer himself, it seems as though Kenny Rogers also has a keen eye for other talented musicians. In fact, he discovered the popular band, Shiloh, and helped them produce their first album. One of the main members of this group was the subsequent Eagles band member, Don Henley. During his days within Shiloh, Don, and Kenny actually lived together – and we bet he was the perfect roommate!

Kenny Rogers was roommates with Don Henley, while he was part of the band, Shiloh

He’s a man of many awards

Kenny Rogers is one of the most successful country music artists of all time, and it seems as though we’re not the only ones to think so. Over the course of his career, Kenny has won hundreds of awards to adorn his shelf. Amazingly, he has won a whopping 18 American Music Awards, 3 Grammy Awards, 8 Academy of Country Music Awards, 5 Country Music Association Awards and 11 People’s Choice Awards and more.

Over the course of his career, Kenny Rogers has won numerous awards to his name

He’s doing what he loves

Since releasing his first set of music in the 1950s, Kenny Rogers has been on a rollercoaster of a career, but always maintained the same air of pride and humility about his work. In fact, Kenny has made it his mission to write and produce music that appeals to people from all walks of life – especially himself. He has noted that he has always loved what he does for a job, and knows that ‘people survive longer if they love what they’re doing.’

Kenny Rogers has focused his career on doing what he loves and producing music for everyone

He has collaborated with some of the biggest names

Although we all know Kenny Rogers as a solo artist, he has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business over the course of his hugely successful musical career. During the late ‘70s, Kenny teamed up with Dottie West to produce award-winning albums such as ‘Classics’ and ‘Every Time Two Fools Collide’ and more. As if that wasn’t cool enough, he has also collaborated with Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees.

Over the course of his career, Kenny has collaborated with people such as Dottie West and Barry Gibb

The Kenny Rogers Parody Website

The website ‘menwholooklikekennyrogers.com’, is one of the country music great’s favorite sites on the internet. When asked, he gave permission for the parody site to go ahead. It sees people send in images of other people that look like Kenny Rogers – Rogers’ only request was that it was all completed in good taste. His behavior on this website shows the grace and good humor that pervades the onstage persona that is known worldwide.

How Kenny Rogers Entertained Outside the Country World

Kenny Rogers spent some time on a show called Mad TV at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the noughties. The show took the mickey out of Rogers and his eponymous chicken restaurant chain: Kenny Rogers Roasters. Rogers had the last laugh though as he was extremely popular with the show’s audiences. It also added another facet to his ability to entertain. Can’t believe that anyone would take the mickey out of the great Kenny Rogers? Read on…

He finds solace in his pet

Nowadays, Kenny Rogers lives his life on his estate in Colbert, Georgia, in between his busy schedule and touring events. One of the greatest additions to his estate is his pet goat. Kenny was given the pet goat, which he calls ‘Smitty,’ in 2008, and has since struck up a caring and familiar relationship with each other. In fact, he has called his goat, “(his) center, providing a calming influence after long and stressful touring schedules.”

Kenny Rogers has a pet goat called ‘Smitty’ who provides a ‘calming influence’

His favorite album is a Jazz album

With so many hit records and albums to his name, Kenny Rogers’ favorite album of all time may surprise you. Out of all of the music he has ever made, his favorite came in the form of his 1994 album, Timepiece. Released by Atlantic Records, Kenny has called this album his ‘dream album’ as it allowed him the chance to explore the Jazz genre that he performed during the early years of his career.

Kenny Rogers’ favorite album of his is the 1994 Jazz album, Timepiece

Kenny owns his own record company

As well as releasing his own music with major record companies, Kenny has also made a move to create his own record company and sign other artists. He teamed up with Jim Mazza during the ‘90s to form the Dreamcatcher recording company and mostly used the company to re-release some of Kenny’s best music, as well as releasing his brand new music. His label proved to be hugely popular until it was closed down in 2004.

Kenny Rogers formed his own record label in the ‘90s to re-release his own music

He has a hobby outside of music

Most of Kenny Rogers’ life surrounds around music. He spends most of his time writing new music, recording new music, and taking his songs on tour to entertain millions of people around the world. However, it seems as though Kenny also has another hobby that he tries to find time for when he’s not singing. Amazingly, he’s a keen photographer! In his words, photography was “once an obsession, before it morphed into a passion.”

When he’s not touring the world or producing music, Kenny Rogers loves photography

He has used his hobby to his advantage

Yet, it seems as though Kenny Rogers has also used this passion for photography to his advantage. Alongside authoring his own autobiography, Kenny has also used his own photographs to release two impressive photo books. These are called, ‘Kenny Rogers’ America’ and ‘Your Friends Are Mine’ and were released in 1986 and 1987 respectively. Both of these books were incredibly popular, and have sold thousands of copies all around the world. Not bad for a hobby, ey?

Kenny Rogers has used his photography to release two photo books throughout his career

He’s also collaborated to write a fiction novel

As well as releasing his photo books and his memoirs, Kenny Rogers has also proved that he has a keen hand for writing and storytelling – and has even collaborated to write a fiction novel. Yep, Kenny teamed up with the author, Mike Blakely, in 2013 to write a hugely popular novel called What Are The Chances. Since it was released, the book has received largely positive reviews, which just goes to show Kenny’s talent for writing!

As well as writing photobooks and a memoir, Kenny Rogers has also written a fiction novel

Kenny has used his name for various business ventures

Considering he is one of the most famous country singers and musicians in the world, Kenny Rogers has had countless requests to collaborate with major businesses over the course of his career. However, Kenny has always been incredibly specific with his choices and has even chosen to work with smaller businesses. One of the businesses associated with Kenny is the Gambler Chassis Co. – a Sprint race car manufacturer from Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Kenny has associated his name and music to a race car manufacturer in Hendersonville, Tennessee

Kenny Rogers came from a huge family

While he was growing up, Kenny Rogers often found it hard to make a name for himself. After all, he was the middle child in a family of a whopping 8 kids! Nevertheless, Kenny always ensured that his talent shone through, and always wanted to excel in everything he ever did. Because of this, Kenny Rogers became the first one in his family to actually graduate from high school. This determination has since helped his future career.

Kenny Rogers was the middle child in a family of 8 kids and was the first to graduate from high school

He was almost written off in the world of music

While Kenny Rogers made a real name for himself in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s – there was a time when he struggled to maintain his fame. In fact, he was almost written off in the world of music in the late 1980s, as he had grown older, heavier and was struggling to keep his music on-trend. Luckily, Kenny was able to come back from his blip and show that he was more than capable of regaining his fame.

Kenny Rogers went through a blip in his career during the 1980s, before regaining his fame

There’s a documentary about his life

As he is one of the most famous men in music, it was only a matter of time before someone made a documentary about the life of Kenny Rogers – and that finally happened in 2006. The Journey followed the life and times of the musician and featured some of the musicians closest to him throughout his life. Yep, The Journey featured the likes of Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Dottie West and more, and was directed by Kelly Junkerman.

A documentary about Kenny Rogers was released in 2006 and featured those close to him

He has a hefty net worth

Over the course of his career, Kenny Rogers has put his name to hundreds of projects. He has released award-winning singles and albums; he has embarked on sold out shows, he has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, opened his own restaurants, written numerous books, showed off his photography skills and more. Because of this, Kenny Rogers now has a hefty net worth. Amazingly, his net worth is around $300 million, to be exact!

Kenny Rogers has built up a net worth of around $300 million over the course of his career