Willie Nelson could spend only 5 years with his daughter Renee Butts as she passed away in 2017.
Country music superstar, Willie Nelson, turned 90 years old last month. The American singer-songwriter recently celebrated his big bash wearing a cowboy hat at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on April 29, 2023, for his birthday concert.
Nelson admitted he's grateful to be alive having had his own health scare last year from COVID. “I almost died,” he told Parade. “It’s bad stuff.” Getting older doesn't intimidate him. “Norman Lear is a good friend of mine and he just turned 100,” Nelson said. “I was telling him, ‘Norman, I heard that age ain’t nothing but a number, am I right?’ He said, ‘Yeah, it’s just that.’ And that’s good enough for me. I’ll be one of the oldest b*stards out there,” Nelson added with a laugh. “But as long as people keep showing up, so will I.”
His motto in life? "You have to do something every day to pay for the day,” he said. “You need to run, walk, swim, sing; whatever it is that’s important to you, you have to do it and then see how long you can keep doing it.” He's determined to keep going and be as healthy as he can to do what he loves. “Your lungs are the biggest muscle you have,” he said, adding, “so it’s healthy for me to sing.” He loves what he does for a living, confessing, “I get really bored when I’m not working.”
The music legend is also a father to eight beautiful kids who are grown adults with their own families. He has five daughters—Lana, 69, Susie, 66, Paula, 53, and Amy, 50, as well as the late Renee Butts—and three sons—Lukas, 35, Micah, 32, and Billy, who died in 1991.
The veteran singer did not know about his eighth child, a daughter named Renee, until 2012. Nelson was 80 years old by the time he found out about her. His friend Mary Haney gave birth to their daughter on Jan. 22, 1953. "I have an old, dear friend, Mary Haney, who I'd lost touch with but recently met again after decades," he wrote in his 2012 memoir per PEOPLE. "Turns out Mary and I had a child together called Renee. It also turns out Renee has a daughter, Noelle, who has a daughter, [Jordyn], who I am happy to now call my great-granddaughter." Sadly Renee died in August 2017. Nelson has been married four times, including his marriage to his current wife, Annie D’Angelo. He shares two children, Lukas and Micah, with D'Angelo, whom he's been married to since 1991.
Couple Willie Nelson and Annie D'Angelo 'Then' and 'Now'. pic.twitter.com/HcUUKJCB1F— Don Balkwill (@DonBalkwill) February 17, 2023
"My love for Annie was all-consuming, but winning her over wasn't easy. She didn't care about me being a celebrity. She was whip-smart, with a keen appreciation for all forms of art. It didn't hurt that she was pretty and radiated enough energy to light up any room she entered. She also had a sharp political sense," Nelson wrote of his fourth wife in his book, per PEOPLE.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Olivier Douliery