Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Who Was Ray Charles’ Wife? Everything to Know About the Singer’s Love Life

Who Was Ray Charles’ Wife? Everything to Know About the Singer’s Love Life

Ray Charles had incredible success not only in music but in love. After all, the legendary singer famously had 12 children with 10 different women. Of all his many romances, however, Ray Charles called only two “wife.”

The man behind songs like What’d I Say, Hit the Road Jack, and Georgia on My Mind married Eileen Williams in 1952. They got divorced in 1953. Ray Charles then married his second wife, Della Beatrice Howard Robinson, in 1955.

Charles’ second marriage lasted for 22 years, but they were far from blissful. The couple shared three sons: Ray, David, and Robert. Ray Charles Sr. and “Bea” raised their children in California, but his music career took Charles on the road frequently. During this time, he reportedly had numerous extramarital affairs.

After a rocky two decades, Ray Charles’ second wife divorced him in 1977.

Ray Charles Had Quite a Love Life After His Second Wife

OK, so we covered Ray Charles and his wife situation. Yet breaking down Brother Ray’s love life will cause some people to need a road map to keep up. Charles was one busy dude, having 12 children with 10 different women.

That does include, by the way, his three children with Bea. But oh brother, there are many others.

In 1949, Charles’ first child, Evelyn Robinson, was born to Louise Flowers. Ray and David followed her, born to Bea. Then, in 1959, Charles Wayne Hendricks was born to Margie Hendricks, who happened to be one of the Raelettes in Charles’ band. Ray had a six-year-long affair with Margie.

Then, in 1960, Robert was born to Bea. In 1961, Renee Robinson was born to Mae Mosely Lyles. She was followed in 1963 by Sheila Robinson, born to Sandra Jean Betts. Sheila went by Sheila Raye Charles, though, and also was a singer/songwriter like her father. She sadly died of breast cancer in 2017.

Back to Charles’ list of children. In 1966, Reatha Butler was born yet there is no notation around her mother’s identity. In 1968, Alexandra Bertrand was born to Mary-Chantal Bertrand.

Charles’ Long-time Partner Stayed With Him at the End

Ray Charles went a few years between having more children to his name. In 1977, Vincent Kotchounian was born to Arlette Kotchounian, who reportedly was Charles’ longtime lover in Paris. That was followed in 1978 with Robyn Moffett born to Gloria Moffett. In 1987, Ryan Corey Robinson den Bok was born to Mary Anne den Bok.

Though she never officially became his wife, Norma Pinella had been Ray Charles’ partner and long-term girlfriend at the time of his death in 2004.

Now, that’s a lot of action when it comes to the love life of Ray Charles. Sure, it didn’t work out for Ray Charles to have a wife at home. And he definitely paid for having as many lovers as he did.

At the same time, one cannot separate the sheer genius of Ray the musician from this life either. His influence spread not only through the world of rock music but soul and blues, too. Heck, Charles even recorded some country music songs in his career, too.

He made a lot of appearances on stages all over the world. Charles also had numerous television appearances throughout his career, too.

Even in today’s music landscape, traces of Charles’ musical influence can be seen and heard all over the place. And that’s still happening many years after his death. Just goes to show you how much Brother Ray still matters all these years later.

His music can, of course, be heard among the hits on oldies radio shows and streaming platforms. Yet his children are still out there, keeping his memory alive in their own way.