Willie Nelson is a Texas-sized legend of country music. The country singer, known for his Outlaw Country songs, including collaborations with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard, his fight for the legalization of pot and his status as an Austin icon, has also had a Texas-sized amount of marriages.
The songwriter's first wife was Martha Matthews. Nelson and Matthews were married from 1952 to 1962. The marriage was a contentious and violent one. In a 1980 interview with People, Nelson said Matthews once sewed him up in a bed sheet and then beat him with a broomstick. "By the time I got loose, she'd lit out in the car with the kids, her clothes and my clothes," Nelson told People. "There was no way I could follow her naked, and that was kind of the end of it."
Nelson and Matthews had three kids together: Lana, Susie, and Willie "Billy" Hugh, Jr.
The country legend's second wife was Shirley Collie, whom he married in 1963, soon after his first marriage ended. This marriage ended almost as bizarrely as his first. Things quickly deteriorated after Collie found a bill in their home from the maternity ward of a Houston hospital. It was charged to Nelson and Connie Koepke for the birth of their child Paula Carlene Nelson. Needless to say, Nelson's wife wasn't super interested in sticking around after that.
But all's well that ends well? Nelson went on to marry Koepke a short time later and they eventually had another child, Amy Lee Nelson. Of course, this is only the third marriage we're writing about, so obviously this one wasn't meant to last either. Nelson and Koepke divorced in 1988.
Deciding to finally take a few years off from being married to someone (anyone?) the "On the Road Again" singer didn't marry again until 1991, when he tied the knot with his current and fourth wife, Annie D'Angelo. Old Shotgun Willie and Annie have two kids together, Lukas Nelson and Jacob Micah Nelson. These days Nelson spends his time with his wife Annie either on their Spicewood, Texas ranch or at their place in Maui, Hawaii. That or on a tour bus heading to Stagecoach, FarmAid the Opry or somewhere else awesome. (Not a bad life.)
We're glad you found true love, Willie! No more blue eyes crying in the rain for you.
This article was originally published in September of 2019.