Willie Nelson's Wives and Children: Everything to Know

Sun May 28 2023
By   tashi

Willie Nelson has been married four times and has a big brood: Complete story here!  

Willie Nelson's recent induction into the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was well-deserved and long overdue. The country winner has been eligible to get inducted since the 80s, but for some reason, Nelson only submitted recently. A Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Nelson is considered an avant-garde musician in the outlaw country genre.  

In a career spanning over six decades, which also encompasses acting, activism, and consistent touring, Nelson has established himself as one of the most enduring artists of all time. Aged 90 now, Nelson has no intention of slowing down and is looking forward to kicking off his latest tour.  

Inside Willie Nelson's Marriages!  

The country icon Willie Nelson dated plenty of women at the peak of his career. Willie walked down the aisle with four of them. Along with his legendary career, and activism for a progressive society, Willie is known for his expansive love life.    

Willie Nelson is a country singer-songwriter.
Willie Nelson is a multiple Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. 
Photo Source: Instagram

The On the Road Again hitmaker was 19 when he met Martha Matthews in 1952. Willie had just been discharged from the airforce on medical grounds when he met and quickly fell in love with Martha. The young love birds tied the knot the same year, but what lay ahead of the married pair wasn't that pleasant. 

Nelson and his first spouse often got into serious quarrels. Said altercations led to physical ones soon after. The pair parted ways in 1962 after nearly ten years of marriage and three kids later. During his marriage with Martha, Willie worked various odd jobs to make ends meet. 

Finding Success After Ending His First Marriage: Willie Nelson

But by the time Willie Nelson stumbled upon his next love, Shirley Collie, Nelson had cemented a prolific status as a songwriter. Shirley would eventually become Nelson's second wife.    

Willie Nelson has been married four times.
Nelson was 19 when he married his first wife, Martha Matthews. 
Photo Source: Instagram

Willie married Collie, a musician/yodeler, in 1963, and had a few years of blissful married life. Things couldn't have ended worse for the duo as their nuptials ended after Willie's affair with a young girl resulted in the birth of an illegitimate child.

Shirley reportedly discovered a medical bill that proved that her husband had fathered a baby with a girl named Connie Kopeko. Nelson and Shirley finalized their divorce in 1971. 

Moving on to his Third marriage: Willie Nelson

The Stardust hitmaker became someone's husband for the third time when he married his former mistress, Connie Kopeko. Shockingly, Connie a new high school graduate, in 1971. Along with their first daughter born out of wedlock, Nelson and Kopeko welcomed one more after their nuptials.   

Willie Nelson shares three kids with his first ex-wife.
Nelson fathered a child with his mistress while he was married to his second wife. 
Photo Source: Instagram 

Willie and his wife led a quiet life with their daughters for over seventeen years. But even the third time didn't stand to be true for the country singer. In his joint memoir with his late sister Bobbie Nelson, the singer expressed regret over screwing up yet another marriage because of his unfaithful nature. Willie and his third wife called it quit in 1988.  

Who is Willie Nelson Married to Now?   

Call it unfair or life's mysterious plans, but Nelson's wandering eyes and Willie's infidelities worked in his favor. The singer-turned-actor was married and had children, with an established empire in music and a skyrocketing career in acting when he started an illicit affair with Annie D'Angelo.    

Nelson and his wife, Annie D'Angelo, have been married for over three decades! 

The Old Timer singer was filming for the 1986 film Stagecoach, starring Johnny Cash when he met Annie. D'Angelo was on board as a make-up artist.

In his memoir, the singer recalls being head over heels for D'Angelo, who he calls the one. Nelson writes that although he and Annie started dating in 1986, it wasn't until his divorce from Kopeko that he won Annie.  

The Highwayman and Annie went on to welcome two sons before getting hitched in 1991. It's over three decades since their marriage, and the pair are still going strong. While talking about his chemistry with Annie, Nelson said that he and his fourth wife shared a connection that he didn't have with his former wives.  

Willie Nelson's Children!  

The Grammy winner is a patriarch of a huge blended family. Nelson has fathered eight children, five daughters, and three sons. Despite the disfavoring and unconventional situations at hand, Nelson has proven that he loves his kids deeply. The legendary singer has collaborated with some of his kids over the years.  

Willie Nelson is a father of eight children.
Nelson revealed in his memoir that he had a daughter he didn't know about until 2012.
 Photo Source: Instagram

Nelson's oldest kid, the late Renne Butts, was a stranger to him until 2012. The singer jots down in his memoir that his long-estranged friend, Mary Honey, with whom he had gotten romantic at one point, had given birth to Renne in 1953. Through Renne, Willie has a grandchild and a great-grandchild. She, unfortunately, passed away in 2017.  

Nelson's three oldest from his first marriage are Lana, 69, Susie, 66, and Billy, 64. Lana and Susie have appeared alongside their father on a few of his projects. But Willie's kids mostly keep it out of the spotlight. 

Willie Nelson is a father to eight children.
Nelson's oldest son, Billy, died of suicide, in 1991. 
Photo Source: Instagram

Willie's oldest son, Billy, was an aspiring musician and often assisted Nelson on his tour until addiction cut his life short. Willie's son, Billy, died of suicide in 1991.

Nelson had two daughters from his second marriage, Paula, 53, and Amy, 49. Both of them possess the singing talents of their father and have ventured into their individual music careers. Both Paula and Amy have collaborated with Nelson a few times. 

Nelson fathered his youngest two, Lukas, 34, and Jacob, 32, with his current wife, Annie. Lucas is probably the most accomplished of Nelson's large brood, as he won a Grammy and a BAFTA for his work on A Star is Born in 2020.  

Lukas also fronts the country rock group Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, also known as POTR. Willie's youngest, Jacob, started writing songs and singing at the age of 14. Jacob has released seven albums so far and has also worked with Willie.  

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