Ray Charles Robinson, born on September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia, and better known to the world as Ray Charles, was a musical prodigy and pioneer whose impact on the music world transcended genres. Overcoming blindness at the age of seven due to glaucoma, Charles developed an extraordinary ability to blend gospel, R&B, and jazz, creating a unique style that became synonymous with soul music. Often referred to as “The Genius,” he revolutionized the music industry in the 1950s and 1960s with timeless hits like “What’d I Say” and “Georgia on My Mind.” His distinctive voice earned him numerous accolades, including 17 Grammy Awards.
Beyond his musical achievements, Charles was a complex individual who navigated personal struggles like drug addiction and the loss of family members. Despite these challenges, he left an enduring legacy not only through his music but also through his influence on future generations of musicians. After 73 years, Charles unfortunately passed away in 2004 in Beverley Hills, California. He was married twice. First to Eileen Williams for one year (m. 1951 – 1952), and then to Della Robinson for 22 years (m. 1955 – 1977).
His first marriage to Williams resulted in the couple having no children. There is not much information on the marriage and the couple separated after eight months.
Charles met his second wife, Robinson, in Texas in 1954 and married her the following year in 1955. After being married for 22 years, the couple divorced in 1977 due to Charles’ struggles with drug abuse and extramarital affairs. Their marriage resulted in three children: Ray Jr (b. 1955), David (b. 1958), and Robert (b. 1960).
Throughout the course of his life, Charles had relationships with other women in addition to his two marriages. He had a relationship with Margie Hendrix, the notable blues singer and founding member of the Raelettes, for six years which resulted in the birth of their son, Charles Wayne, in 1959. He then had a daughter with Mae Mosley Lyles in 1961 named Raenee and another with Sandra Jean Betts named Sheila Raye Charles. Soon after, Charles had a son named Vincent Kotchounian with a Parisian lover, Arlette Kotchounian in 1976. Closer to the time of his death, Charles was with his long-term girlfriend, Norma Pinella, though they did not have any children together.
Ahead, we dive into Charles’ family unit which includes his 12 children.
Evelyn Robinson was born in 1949 to Ray Charles and Lousie Mitchell. The couple dated for a year and ended up separating, however, their relationship resulted in Evelyn. She was born in Tampa, Florida where her father recorded his first song, “I Found My Baby There.” As a success coach, event, and travel manager, Robinson has diversified her career with roles as a Health and Wellness Consultant, a manager at Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., and a Software Engineer/Systems Analyst at Verizon. She decided to further her education at The George Washington University School of Business, where she earned a Master’s Certificate in Project Management. Currently, Evelyn resides in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ray Charles Robinson Jr.
Born on May 25, 1955, Ray Charles Robinson Jr., whose mother is Della Bea Robinson, is currently active in the entertainment industry. His roles include serving as a film producer, writer, and co-author of the book Ray Charles: 50 Years of Music. Additionally, he made an appearance in the 2004 film Chernyy prints. Residing in Los Angeles alongside his partner Rhonda Bailey, Robinson is a devoted family man with two daughters, Erin and Blair, and a granddaughter named Kennedy. Beyond his family responsibilities, he is passionately committed to supporting individuals in his community, specifically those grappling with addiction (as his father did).
Born in Los Angeles in 1958, David is the younger sibling of Ray Charles Jr. and the second son of Ray Charles and his second wife, Della Bea Robinson. In his personal life, Robinson married his longtime girlfriend, Synthia Robinson. Tragically, the couple faced the loss of their only son, Sgt. Conrad Robinson, who passed away at the age of 36 at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.
Charles Wayne Hendricks
Born in October 1959, Hendricks is the child of Maggie Hendrix, a renowned American gospel singer and member of the girl gospel group the Raelettes, with whom Charles had a long-term relationship. Hendricks maintained a private life away from the public eye and passed away in 2013. His obituary notes that Hendricks tied the knot with Marlene Hendricks from Aurora, Colorado, with whom he had several children and grandchildren.
Born on April 17, 1961, Robert is the fourth son of Charles and the youngest among his children with his second wife, Della Bea Robinson. Throughout his education, Robinson attended various Christian schools, including a prestigious Aviation school in Los Angeles where he earned multiple accolades and awards. His career took a turn when he secured a position as an instructor and teacher at one of the nation’s top-rated Aviation schools. However, in 1988, he decided to shift his focus to ministry. Now, Robinson is recognized as Dr. Robert F. Robinson, Sr., serving as the pastor of Great Faith Ministries and Schools.
Born in 1961 to Mae Mosley Lyles, Raenee Robinson, now 62, is actively engaged in professional pursuits as a Tax Repairer, Legal Shield representative, and Credit Repairer. She and her husband, Kevin, live in Los Angeles, California.
Sheila Raye Charles
Born in September 1963 to Sandra Jean Bettes, Sheila Charles, and her mother established lives together in Minnesota. Despite not having had extensive time with her father, she cherished the moments they shared while he was still alive. Similar to her father, Charles faced struggles with substance addiction, often describing her journey of overcoming addiction, incarceration, a car accident, and experiences of sexual abuse. Once she established a relationship with God, she decided to turn her life around and started to tap into musical pursuits as a talented singer and songwriter. She released a debut album in 2005 that was dedicated to her father entitled, My Daddy. Soon after, she relocated to Sarasota, Florida, and unfortunately, passed away on June 15, 2017, due to complications of breast cancer.
Born in 1966, Reatha Butler is the proprietor of Real Estate Pro, with offices in Payton, Colorado, and Falcon, Colorado. At 57 years old, she is the elder sister of Alexandra Bertrand. Known for her privacy, Reatha refrains from sharing much about her personal life and prefers to keep a low profile.
Born in 1968 to Mary Chantal Bertrand, Alexandra Bertrand is the younger sister of Reatha Butler. Information about her personal life is limited, as she is known for maintaining a highly private lifestyle. Alexandra Bertrand is currently 55 years old.
Born in Los Angeles, California, in 1977 to Arlette Kotchounian, Vincent Kotchounian is currently 46 years old. Having attended the University of Southern California (USC), he later assumed the role of a fitness trainer at INT and MMA GYM. Additionally, he earned recognition for crafting the cover design of one of his father’s music albums.
Personally recognized as Robyn LaJoya Moffett and professionally as Robyn LaJoya Charles, she was born in 1978 on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, to Gloria Moffett. Robyn, a former singer-songwriter with A-Class Productions in Atlanta, Georgia, is the proprietor of R. Charles & Co. Enterprises, a music publishing and consulting company established in 2015. Moffett further pursued her education at Columbia College, Chicago, focusing on academics such as vocal performance, music business management, and entertainment marketing. As a mother, she cherishes her role in raising her daughter, Avari Rhaen.
As the youngest child of Ray Charles, Ryan Corey Robinson, was born in 1987 to Mary Anne Den Bok. It is reported that he has a passion for music and has undertaken various cover projects.