Willie Nelson’s Wives: Learn About The 4 Women He Married

Willie Nelson has written quite a few love songs, which may be because the country crooner has being married four times! Find out all about the four brides here!

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Willie Nelson is a country music icon still going strong at the age of 88! With a career spanning over seven decades, it’s no wonder the Texas native has a legion of fans. He became a household name with hits like  “On the Road Again”, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”, and “Pancho and Lefty.” Along with his award-winning music career, Willie is also widely recognized for his activism, including fighting for farmers’ rights, the legalization of marijuana and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.

His love life is quite as legendary as well! The Grammy winner has walked down the aisle a total of four times with four different women: Martha Matthews, Shirley Collie, Connie Koepke and Annie D’Angelo. “I’m not easy to live with,” he admitted to Parade in 2010 as a reason for his multiple nuptials. “I’m pretty temperamental, you know. I’ve been used to doing things my own way for so long that I’m not interested in any suggestions.” Find out all about the women he called wife here!

Martha Matthews

When Willie was 19 years old and discharged from the Air Force due to back injuries, he met Martha, who was 16 at the time, per Sunset Blvd Records. They would go on to welcome three children: Lana, Susie, and Willie Nelson Jr. But their home was not a happy one, as the young couple “quarreled, brawled, and drank heavily,” per Parade. The relationship became so volatile, Martha once tied up Willie in a blanket and beat him with a broomstick, according to the Los Angeles Times. Martha denied the story, saying she used a kid’s jump rope instead of a blanket to tie Willie up. They would split in 1962.

Shirley Collie

In 1963, Willie took Shirley for his second bride. Shirley had a successful career as a rockabilly singer, yodeler, guitarist and songwriter. The couple would even often tour together. However, divorce was imminent after Shirley found a bill from the maternity ward of a Houston hospital saying Willie had fathered a baby with another woman, Connie Koepke. “The bill said the charges were for the birth of a baby girl, Paula Carlene, born to a Mrs. Connie Nelson,” Willie recalled in his memoir 2020 “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band,” via People. “Shirley wanted to know who in the hell was Connie Nelson. Couldn’t lie. Was caught flatfooted. Had to get the words out of my mouth. ‘Connie’s my girlfriend and Paula’s our daughter.'” Willie and Shirley went their separate ways in 1971.

Connie Koepke

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson and Connie Koepke with their daughters Paula and Amy. (Shutterstock)

In the same year he divorced Shirley, Willie made an honest woman out of Connie. Two years later, they welcomed another daughter named Amy. Their 16-year marriage would bring Willie back to his home state of Texas, where he felt he was could connect with his fans again.  “I really felt like I needed to be in Texas playing to the people that were and still are my base,” he told Parade. The love affair wouldn’t survive Willie’s affairs, though, and they bid adieu in 1988. “I messed up another marriage. My wandering ways were too much for any woman to put up with,” he admitted in his memoir.

Annie D’Angelo

Willie Nelson
Willie and Annie D’Angelo are still going strong after marrying in 1991. (Shutterstock)

While working on the film Stagecoach in 1986, Willie met makeup artist Annie. “In the mideighties I fell head over heels in love with Ann Marie D’Angelo, called Annie. Never had met a woman like her before,” he admitted in his memoir. Willie and Annie would go on to wed in 1991. “There was friction with my other wives. But it seems like Annie and I did okay with each other. It takes a special person to live with me,” he told Parade. The couple are still together after 30 years and going strong!

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