It's been one year since the world said goodbye to country music icon, Kenny Rogers. The 81-year-old singer of "The Gambler" and other famous songs passed away on March 20, 2020 of natural causes. He left behind his wife Wanda Miller, their twin sons, Justin and Jordan, and three adult children, Carole, Kenny Jr., and Christopher, from previous marriages. Rogers didn't find his true love until later in life, as he and Wanda were married in 1997 when Rogers was 58 years old. Their marriage was the country superstar's fifth after previously being married to Janice Gordon, Jean Rogers, Margo Anderson, and Marianne Gordon, but after four marriages that ended in divorce, Rogers finally found his soulmate with Miller.
Rogers first set eyes on Miller while eating at a restaurant called Pricca in Atlanta, Georgia on a blind date. Miller, who was 26 at the time, worked at the restaurant as a hostess, and according to The Valdosta Times, had been chatting with a co-worker that day about not being able to meet her special man. The co-worker reportedly told her that her "knight" would arrive soon, and that same day, Rogers walked in. After he saw Miller at the restaurant, Rogers called the establishment asking about her and told them to give her his number. Miller couldn't believe what awaited her at work the next day.
"I came in the next day and they all said, 'Kenny Rogers called asking about you,'" she told the publication. "They gave me a piece of paper with a number on it. I threw it away. I thought it was a joke. They dug it out of the trash and said it was for real."
"I called him back but I never thought I would date him," she added.
However, Miller's tune soon changed and the two dated for five years before getting married, but their relationship was not without its challenges. One of the obstacles Rogers and Miller had to overcome was their age difference. Rogers was 28 years older than Miller, which initially spelled a problem for Miller's parents.
"Her parents are two years younger than me,'" Rogers once told Fox News (quote via MSN). "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,' and I said, 'First of all I don't blame you. I don't think I would either but I will make you a promise. I will never lie to her and I will never lie to you.'"
Rogers added that he and Miller's parents later became "best friends."
Now a widow, Miller often shares throwback photos and videos from her life with Rogers on social media and can be found on Instagram at 'wandamillerrogers'. She remembered her husband on the one-year anniversary of his death in March with a series of photos showing Rogers with their sons when they were toddlers, Miller and her sons standing at Rogers casket, and a past photo of Miller and Rogers.
"A year ago.. our lives changed forever... but as KR always said..'you're never gone until you're forgotten'.. we will always love you," wrote Miller in the caption.
Rogers was born August 21, 1938 in Houston, Texas. The singer/songwriter went on to become one of the best-selling music artists of all time, releasing hit songs such as "Lucille," "Love Or Something Like It," "Lady," "Islands In The Stream (featuring Dolly Parton)," and many more. Rogers is also a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Enjoy all things country?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.