- Buzz Aldrin is a former NASA astronaut who piloted the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, where he landed on the moon
- The New Jersey native has been married to four different women
- He sued two of his three adult children in 2018, accusing them of fraud and slander
Buzz Aldrin, an American astronaut, engineer, and space exploration pioneer, is best known for his significant contributions to the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969, during which he became the second person to walk on the moon.
Born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. on January 20, 1930, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, his career was marked by remarkable achievements in both military and civilian spheres. He graduated third in his class from West Point in 1951 and served as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. Later, he earned a Doctor of Science degree in Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1963.
His defining moment came on July 20, 1969, when he and Neil Armstrong landed the Apollo 11 lunar module on the moon’s surface. As he stepped onto the lunar soil, Aldrin uttered the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” emphasizing the enormity of the achievement for humanity.
After retiring from NASA in 1971, Aldrin continued to advocate for space exploration and played an active role in promoting the future of space travel, including manned missions to Mars. In 2018, his massive career became entwined with his three adult children — James, Janice and Andrew — after Andrew and Janice and former business manager Christina Korp claimed Buzz was mentally impaired through dementia. His children alleged that he made new friends who were alienating him from the family and encouraging him to spend his savings at a high rate. In turn, Buzz sued the trio, alleging they stole money from him and were slandering his legacy.
Learn all about Buzz’s kids and how the dust settled with the legal dispute, below.
James Michael Aldrin
Although Buzz has been married four times, he only welcomed children with his first wife, Joan Ann Archer. The pair were already hitched when he made his famous walk on the moon; they got married 15 years before in 1954. After the moonwalk, Joan was very open about how difficult it was to adjust to his newfound stardom. “I had married an engineer and here he was a hero,” she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in the 70s. “This was disturbing but I didn’t understand and my immediate reaction was anger toward Buzz. I did realize I should have expected it.”
The couple had already welcomed their brood as well, with James Michael being the eldest of the bunch. He kept a very low profile throughout his life. He was not legally involved with the aforementioned lawsuit and does not appear to have a social media account.
Janice Ross Aldrin
Janice, the second child born to Buzz and Joan, was just one month shy of her 12th birthday when her pops landed on the moon. She recalled watching it on television as it was happening. “I didn’t have a concept that this was coming from the moon, and how crazy that was,” she told CNN in 2021. “I was just disappointed that it wasn’t in color.”
She also spoke out on how Buzz would love sharing his physics knowledge with his children during their family outings and even at dinner time. “I never asked my dad for help with my homework because I wouldn’t be able to understand what he was saying,” Janice hilariously said. “My eyes would start glazing over.”
Janice, who oversaw a private company and a non-profit in Aldrin’s name along with brother Andrew, filed a petition in 2018 saying Buzz was suffering from memory loss, delusions, paranoia and confusion and that he had been spending his assets as “an alarming rate,” per The Guardian. They were seeking guardianship of Buzz’ affairs. In Buzz’s lawsuit, filed after the petition, he accused his daughter of not acting in his financial interests and conspiracy, which she denied.
Janice, Andrew and Christina ended up withdrawing the petition and Buzz dropped the civil lawsuit in 2019. “This was the most charitable way to manage a difficult situation,” Buzz said in a statement at the time. Janice does not have a social media account at this time.
Andrew John Aldrin
Andrew, the third child of Buzz and Joan, revealed that at the time of the moonwalk, he had “total faith in NASA and the Apollo program, and almost a complete lack of fear that anything bad was going to happen,” per his CNN interview in July 2021. “It didn’t strike me that Apollo 11 was really all that scary or risky. It was just normal. It was, this was just the next mission we were going to do because that’s what dad said we were going to do.”
Andrew became deeply involved with his father’s life when he took over the Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation and Buzz Aldrin Enterprises. In his lawsuit, Buzz claimed that Andrew and Janice had been using his legacy along with company funds “for their own self-dealing and enrichment”. According to the suit filed in Florida, Andrew had pilfered nearly half a million dollars from his father’s personal account. Both adult children deny the allegations and in a statement said they were “deeply disappointed and saddened”.
Buzz and Joan would go on to divorce in 1974. She died at age 84 from natural causes on July 22, 2015. Before Joan’s death, she and Buzz became grandparents to Janice’s son, Jeffrey Michael Schuss.