Gladys Knight, aka Empress of Soul, is an American singer, songwriter, author and businesswoman. Starting from the ’60s, Gladys has given multiple R&B hits. Moreover, Knight is the seven-time recipient of the Grammy Award.
Gladys Knight Personal Life
Knight was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, with her siblings. She has an older sister Brenda, brother Merald “Bubba” Jr. and deceased brother David. Her father, Merald Woodlow Knight Sr, was a postal worker. Whereas, her mother Sarah Elizabeth, was a homemaker.
Knight married four different men in her lifetime. Before finding her one true love, Gladys had to suffer from 3 divorces and heartbreaks.
At sixteen-year-old, Knight got pregnant and married her then sweetheart, James “Jimmy” Newman. However, she suffered a miscarriage the first time. Later, on August 13, 1962, her first son James “Jimmy” Gaston Newman III, was born. Unfortunately, Newman became a drug addict and abandoned his family shortly after their only daughter Kenya Maria Newman was born. They divorced in 1973.
In 1974, Gladys married Barry Hankerson. The couple welcomed their first child, Shanga Ali Hankerson, on August 1, 1976. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in divorce in 1979.
In 1995, Knight married the motivational speaker Les Brown. As their relationship lived short, they separated and later got divorced in 1997.
In 2001, Knight found her dream man and got married for the fourth time. Gladys and William McDowell is together for 20 years and is very supportive of each other.