- Bob Marley was one of the most famous reggae singers in the world. Known for hits like “Three Little Birds” and “Buffalo Soldier,” he’s one of the most well-known and respected singers in the genre.
- Bob fathered 12 children with multiple women before his passing from cancer at 36 in 1981.
- Bob’s life will be depicted in the movie ‘Bob Marley: One Love,’ set for release in 2024. The first trailer was released on July 6, 2023.
Bob Marley was a reggae legend who served as a world ambassador for reggae music, earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and sold more than 20 million records. The artist, unfortunately, passed away from malignant melanoma cancer in 1981. However, his legacy continues through his music, his 12 kids, and more than 20 grandkids. Unfortunately, one of his grandkids, Joseph Mersa Marley, passed away suddenly on Dec. 27, 2022 at the age of 31.
Now, Bob’s life is coming to the big screen. A biopic about his life Bob Marley: One Love will hit theaters on January 12, 2024. The movie will star Kingsley Ben-Adir as the late singer. The first trailer was released on Thursday, July 6, 2023, and it features many important moments in Bob’s life, like when he performed at the peace concert in Jamaica and spread his message of peace through his music. Read on to learn about the “Buffalo Solder” hitmaker’s 12 children and over 20 grandchildren.
Sharon Marley was born to Bob Marley’s wife Rita Marley on Nov. 23, 1964, and Bob adopted Sharon when he tied the knot with Rita in 1966. The 58-year-old is involved in the arts like her dad, as she is a singer, dancer, and curator. She was part of the award-winning group Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers her siblings Ziggy Marley, Cedella Marley, and Stephen Marley. The group has three Grammy Awards and eight nominations to its name.
Cedella Marley was born to Bob Marley and Rita Marley on Aug. 23, 1967 and was named after her paternal grandmother. The successful 55-year-old wears many hats as a singer who was part of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers and as a manager for several of her family’s ventures. She is the owner and designer of a women’s casualwear brand Catch A Fire, which is named after bob’s debut album for Island Records, the CEO of Tuff Gong International, Bob’s record label he created in 1965, and director of The Bob Marley Foundation, according to her website. Cedella also helps run Hope Road Merchandising, LLC, a “Marley family entity that manages the rights to Bob’s name and likeness”, and House of Marley, which runs merchandising for the Marley family. on top of all that, she’s the author behind the children’s books, The Boy from Nine Miles (The Early Life of Bob Marley), Three Little Birds, One Love and Every Little Thing.
Her latest book, Marley and the Family Band, was released in early 2022. “[The book] chronicles my life when we moved to Delaware — we came from Jamaica and moved to Wilmington, Delaware when I was a young girl,” Cedella told CBS News in Feb. 2022. “And I just wanted to share that experience of being a migrant kid at the time and bringing music to the neighborhood,” she continued. “It’s also a shout out to the unifying power of music as well as the importance of migration stories for children like myself and others.”
Cedella is also the proud mother of three boys, whom she shares with her husband David Minto.
She reflected on her father’s legacy ahead of the opening of a musical honoring him titled Get Up, Stand Up!. “When Daddy passed in 1981, the naysayers said that his music and his legacy would be nothing,” she told The Guardian. “Now that he is no longer physically here, he has long ago proven them wrong. He was the one who said, ‘My music will live on for ever.’”
Bob Marley’s eldest son, Ziggy Marley, certainly takes after his father and is arguably the most famous musician of his large brood. He was born on Oct. 17, 1968. The 54-year-old was the lead vocalist in Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers and has a plethora of albums to tout, plus eight Grammy awards to his name. His first album was titled Dragonfly and was released in 2003. His second album, Love Is a Religion, won a Grammy Award in 2007. He then went on to release Family Time, Wild and Free, Fly Rasta and his self-titled album. His most recent album titled, More Family Time, came in 2020. He’s actively touring.
Like his older sister, he Ziggy has released several children’s books, a cookbook, and even a comic book called MarijuanaMan. He also created a photo book in a tribute to his father titled Bob Marley: Portrait of the Legend. “Going through the photos, it hit me how young he was,” Ziggy told Caribbean Journal about working on the book. “It’s sad, but he did so much in that time— it’s still a testament to his ethics and spirituality. He knew he had to do everything in the shortest amount of time.”
Furthermore, Ziggy is a philanthropist and supports a myriad of foundations that support children in need, the environment, education, healthcare, and more. He has seven children, including singer Bambaata Marley.
Stephen Marley, 51, was born on April 20, 1972 to Bob Marley and Rita Marley. He started singing professionally at the age of 7 with his older siblings in The Melody Makers. He is an eight-time Grammy winner, with six of them coming from the Best Album category. Like his older brother Ziggy, he is a philanthropist. Stephen co-founded the Ghetto Youths Foundation with his younger brothers Damian and Julian Marley. He is also currently touring.
Robbie Marley was born to Bob Marley and Pat Williams on May 16, 1972. The 51-year-old lives a relatively private life compared to his siblings, but was documented going on a trip to Africa with his brothers Ziggy Marley and Rohan Marley in 2011 for a filmed titled Marley Africa Roadtrip that is available on Amazon Prime Video. It’s official description reads, “Marley Africa Roadtrip follows three sons of music legend Bob Marley as they travel back to Africa with hopes of reconnecting with their father. Thirty years after his passing, Ziggy, Rohan and Robbie Marley uncover the roots of his legacy of music, family and African Unity.”
He also appeared in the 2012 documentary, MARLEY. In an interview that same year, he explained how being the son of Bob Marley has made him a better person after being asked how having an “iconic father” benefits him. “It benefits, but at the same time… It benefits. There’s no negative in that. It always helps you to become a better person, because if I wasn’t the son of [Bob Marley], then I could do bad things,” he told Collider.
Rohan Marley was born on May 19, 1972 to Bob Marley and Janet Hunt. The 51-year-old entrepreneur is also a father to five children with singer and songwriter Lauryn Hill: Selah Marley, Zion David Marley, John Nesta Marley, Joshua Omaru Marley and Sarah Marley. He also shares Nico Marley, Eden Marley with Geraldine Khawley and Maria Fialho Marley with Barbara Fialho.
He made headlines in 2020 when his daughter Selah called both her parents out in an online video that can be seen here for arguing in front of her and using physical means to punish her, and accused Rohan of not being a present father. He apologized to his daughter publicly on Instagram. “I love her very much and do apologize for any contributions I may have added by arguing in front of her as a child,” he wrote in the statement. “I’ve grown as a man, a spiritual being and a father. I am constantly growing and will teach my children to always take the higher road in any disagreements. I will be there for her no matter how many hours, days, months or years it will take. I will be the best Dad that I can be. One Love.”
Stephanie Marley was born to Bob and Rita Marley on August 17, 1974. The 48-year-old lives a relatively private life, but it is known she worked at B’Unik Modeling Talent Agency as recently as 2015 and was tasked with turning their business around. “We have been networking with ad agencies and production teams to get our company in the know. We still have to work on increased publicity; however, the response has been good as we have made it easier for agencies to locate and identify children with talent,” she told the Jamaica Observer in 2015.
Karen Marley was born to Bob Marley and Janet Bowen in 1973. The 50-year-old resides in England and is involved in the fashion industry. She’s a designer who has her own label called By Karen Marley. She recently honored her father on her social media by posting lyrics to his song “Forever Loving Jah.” She also recently posted an inspiring message in honor of him. She wrote, “Choose today to learn from your mistakes. Choose to allow any challenge to make you stronger. Choose the disappointments to make you more determined. Choose to turn your frustrations into stronger patience. Today, you have the power to choose to be positively proactive and not let anything hold you back from happiness.”
Julian Marley,48, was born to Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder on June 4, 1975 and like many of his siblings, he is a musician, songwriter, producer, and humanitarian. The devout Rastafarian released his first album, Lion In The Morning, in 1996. He then released A Time & Place, Awake and most recently, As I Am. In a 2020 interview, Julian said he doesn’t feel pressured to be as big as his father was. “You can’t do twice as much; you have to do what you can do,” he told The Guardian Life. “You have to do what you are supposed to do, cuz everyone has a mission. Everyone has something to do. I don’t think of it like that.”
Ky-Mani Marley was born on Feb. 26, 1976 to Bob Marley and Anite Belnavis. The 47-year-old is a musician with one Grammy nomination under his belt. He also has recorded a number of albums including Like Father Like Son in honor of his dad, Radio, The Journey, and Maestro.
Damian Marley was born to Bob and Cindy Breakspeare (Miss World 1976) on July 21, 1978. The 44-year-old is a DJ, singer and rapper. He released his first album Mr. Marley in honor of his father in 1996. He has four Grammy wins to his name, including for the Best Reggae Album category for his most recent work, 2017’s Stony Hill.
Ahead of what would have been Bob Marley’s birthday on February 6, 2019, Damian reflected on his father’s effect on their lives. “Our father is really a part of our everyday life, to tell you the truth, with the lessons and the morals and the example that he set carries us through everything that we do,” he told OkPlayer. “So it is great to see, on his birthday, so many other people celebrate him. But we celebrate him every day.”
Bob Marley shares his youngest child Makeda Jahnesta with Yvette Crichton. She was born on May 30, 1981, just days after Bob passed away. The 42-year-old has a son named Kai and keeps fans posted on him on her social media. She made headlines when she was caught growing marijuana in her home in 2010. Not much else is known about his youngest child.
Bob Marley’s Grandchildren
Bob Marley has 12 children and even more grandchildren: at least 20! Read on to learn about the singer’s most notable grandkids.
Joseph Mersa MarleyAs mentioned above, his 31-year-old grandson Joseph Mersa Marley died suddenly on Dec. 27, 2022. According to multiple reports, he was found unresponsive in a vehicle, but a cause of death was not immediately given. Joseph was a talented musician who decided to pursue music at an early age.
“I decided I wanted to do music from I was 11. Me and my cousin Daniel began to make beats with MPCs (MIDI Production Center or Music Production Controller) but I wouldn’t save them properly,” he told Jamaica Observer in 2014. “Then when I was around 12, my cousins and I went on the Melody Makers’ Roots Rock tour. Uncle Ziggy bought my cousins an Apple laptop and we used the Garage Band software and made our beats on it. We recorded from the microphone, put on our headphones and that became our studio for a good three years. That is when my songwriting started to get more focused.”
Joseph released two EPs during his music career: Comfortable in 2014 and Eternal in 2021. He also collaborated with his father, Stephen, on his 2016 song ”Revelation Party”, which was from his album Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life.
Mystic Marley, 26, is the sister of Joseph and was born in March of 1997. She is an aspiring musician herself and boasts more than 15,000 Instagram followers. She is inspired by her late grandfather every day, and she said she even once saw him in the clouds. “There was a moment where I literally saw his face in the cloud, and nobody could tell me it wasn’t him,” she told TODAY in 2021.
Adding that she always feels his presence, she said, “I feel like nature has this really beautiful way of showing itself sometimes — and even in the trees sometimes. I just, like, close my eyes and I see him, or I’m making music and I feel him.”
Donisha Prendergast became an advocate for police reform after she was reported to be breaking into a southern California AirBnb she had rented while on a work trip. The eldest grandchild of Bob and Rita Marley was with two other Black colleagues and a white assistant when they were surrounded by seven police cars. “When I was ordered to put my hands up I looked at one of the policemen and said are you serious? From the first few minutes, they knew that they were wrong but there is no protocol to deescalate the situation,” she explained to Billboard.
“They never drew weapons and at no moment was I afraid; I just felt sorry for them because they looked like robots repeating protocol. The police got a call about a potential burglary in process and they sent seven vehicles, a helicopter and not one black officer but they knew it was three black people there,” she further recalled. “What did they expect would happen? We have to revise this protocol because it has resulted in many destructive ends; I am sure that one of the reasons why the police were so well behaved in this case is because of who I am.”