American country music star Willie Nelson has been making music for over 6 decades, and now, in his eighties, Nelson seems to show no signs of slowing down his tours around the country. Besides being a singer and songwriter, Willie Nelson is also an activist, actor, and poet.
Like every other entertainer in the industry, Nelson has had his ups and downs, but he has managed to overcome them all and stay on his feet. Follow us as we learn more about this pioneer of the lawless country.
Willie Nelson Bio/Wiki
Willie Hugh Nelson was born on April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas, the son of the parent’s 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 mother left and their father also moved away from Abbott.
As a child, Willie attended Methodist Church with his grandparents, where he first came into contact with music in the church choir. Willie showed so much passion for music that his grandfather bought him a guitar when he was 6 years old. At 7, Willie began writing his own songs.
As Willie grew, he immersed himself more and more 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, but his service was short-lived as he was honorably discharged due to a back injury.
Uncertain about his future, Willie enrolled at Baylor University to study agriculture while pursuing his musical interests. He soon began performing as a disc jockey and later honed his songwriting skills, earning a job at Nashville’s Pamper Music for $50 a week.
Soon the songs Willie wrote for other artists became a big hit, including Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Ray Price’s Night Life, and others. On the other hand, Nelson’s own music struggled with success compared to the songs he wrote for people, in part due to his lawless country sound, which he refused to change despite suggestions from music managers.
The years passed and in 1975 Nelson’s music began to gain ground. That same year he received his first Grammy for “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In addition to music, Willie Nelson has appeared in over 30 films and has co-written a number of books.
Willie Nelson Spouse – Annie D’Angelo
Nelson has had many difficulties in his private life, especially when it comes to his relationship with women. However, in his fourth marriage attempt, Nelson seemed to have found what he wanted in Annie D’Angelo, his fourth wife, and his current wife.
Willie and Annie entered into the marriage in September 1991 in Nashville, Tennessee, and have remained married ever since.
Annie, who was working as a make-up artist for movies at the time, met Nelson when she was assigned to the make-up department of the movie Stagecoach in 1986, and as fate would have it, Nelson was one of the actors in that movie.
Despite the age difference of 21 years (Annie was born in 1956) the couple felt attracted to each other and finally made it to the altar. The years went by and there was no news of divorce or tension between the two. In 2016 they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
Annie undoubtedly had a positive influence on Nelson, as the country star has had few run-ins with the law since marrying his fourth wife. The couple is the parents of two sons named Lukas Autry and Jacob Micah. Lukas has since followed in his father’s footsteps. He is the lead singer/guitarist of California-based rock band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real aka POTR. Lukas often wears the typical look of his father, wearing a headscarf.
Nelson and his wife Annie live in a sustainable solar-powered community on a Hawaiian island called Maui.
Since Willie Nelson was married four times in his life, he has a large family. His first marriage to Martha Matthews produced three children: Lana, Susie, and Willie “Billy” Hugh, Jr.
The latter, son Billy, hanged 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 her with a broom.
Less than a year after the divorce from his abusive wife, Nelson then married his compatriot and yodeler Shirley Collie. The marriage did not produce a child and ended in 1971 when Shirley divorced Nelson after she discovered that Nelson had cheated on her by conceiving an illegitimate child with Connie Koepke.
This child, a daughter named Paula Nelson, was born in Houston, Texas on October 27, 1969. Nelson married Connie Koepke in 1971 and together they had a second child, a daughter Amy Lee Nelson. About 17 years later Nelson and Connie divorced.
Nelson revealed in his December 2012 autobiography “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” that he has a secret family. He told that he recently got back together with an old lover, Mary Harney, only to learn that he had fathered a child named Renee with her. He added that Renee was now a grandmother, which makes him a great-grandfather.
Adding up all his themes from all his relationships, Willie Nelson has 7 children.
Willie Nelson is the victim of a fatal prank, which is due to his poor health. In the later years of his career, Willie Nelson had to cancel shows several times due to illnesses, most of which were always related to his lungs. In some extreme cases, he was taken off the stage during his performances.
Many tabloids are often quickly confronted with rumors of his death after such incidents. The most recent incident, as described in this article, occurred in early 2018 when Willie performed at Harrah’s Resort in SoCal. Halfway through his first song of the evening, “Whiskey River”, Willie seemed to have difficulty breathing and was taken off stage. His representative issued a statement saying that he had a bad cold but was recovering at home.
In response to the death jokes about him, Willie released a song called Still Not Dead from his album God’s Problem Child in April 2017. A part of the song says: “I woke up today and I’m still not dead again”.
Even though Willie Nelson is “not dead yet”, it is very likely that he will die doing what he loves most – performing in front of a crowd.