"She's my lover, my wife, nurse, doctor, bodyguard," Willie Nelson said of his wife.
Willie Nelson, who just turned 90, has been married to Annie D'Angelo for 31 years. After all these years of marriage, Nelson says that there is only one secret to their successful marriage: laughter. "As they say, laughter's the best medicine," Nelson said. "I've always enjoyed a good joke," the legend said in an interview with PEOPLE.
Nelson sees his wife play many roles in his life and he has deep gratitude for her. "She's my lover, my wife, nurse, doctor, bodyguard," he said praising D'Angelo, 66, who is a makeup artist. Before meeting her, Nelson had previously been married three times before he met D'Angelo with whom he has had his longest-lasting relationship, per PEOPLE. They met on the sets of one of his movies in 1980 and the couple tied the knot at Nashville's St. Alouin Church on September 16, 1991. They share two sons: Lukas and Micah Nelson, who are also musicians.
Blackbird Presents' Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, a two-day music extravaganza at the Hollywood Bowl, was held in honor of Nelson's 90th birthday on April 29. Many of his friends and both his kids with D'Angelo joined him on stage for the celebration, per PEOPLE.
Nelson is also the father of his deceased children Renee and Billy, as well as Lana, 69, Susie, 66, Paula, 53, and Amy, 49. "We've got a couple of great kids," Nelson said. "I am proud of them and all they're doing on their own. It's great to have your kids with you at any time, but if they're on the stage singing with you and they're good, that makes it even better." He prefers to be a living example for his children rather than offering them advice. "It's better to show them rather than tell them," he said.
Nelson admits that "When it came to romance, I had a gift for complicating things." But things changed for him after meeting D'Angelo. Time and again he has shared how much she means to him. "But marrying Annie wasn't complicated at all. It's about the smartest thing I ever did. I can say that because, 34 years after we first met, we're still together and going strong," he wrote in his 2020 joint memoir Me and Sister Bobby: True Tales of the Family Band.
He further wrote, "My love for Annie was all-consuming, but winning her over wasn't easy. She had to be sure my marriage was over and that I was truly free." Nelson officially divorced his third wife Connie Koepke in 1988 before marrying D'Angelo.
Nelson feels young at heart despite the fact that he is experiencing the effects of aging. His hearing is "not the best," and he can no longer perform most of his martial arts routines except in his "mind". He added, "I still have a good time." Retirement is not in his thoughts as he starts a new decade, but he is finally slowing down. Nelson will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November after touring through the fall. "There are probably other things I will do and can do, but I'm not going to push myself too hard. I know one day it all ends, but I'm not rushing it," he shared.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Rick Diamond