Famed American country singer Willie Nelson has eight kids with five women including five daughters and three sons. Let’s meet his family.
With help from fellow songsmith Hank Cochran, Willie got work as a staff writer for Pamper Music and quickly established himself as one of the most talented songwriters in the business, scoring enormous hits like “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Billy Walker), and “Hello Walls” (Faron Young).
He was one of the main figures of the outlaw country subgenre that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound.
Of all his achievements, his biggest remains being a father. Surprisingly, almost all of his kids followed in his footsteps as musicians. Here’s everything we know about his children.
How many children does Willie Nelson have?
American singer and guitarist, Willie Nelson is a proud father of eight. He has three sons and five daughters.
The names of his children are Lana Nelson Fowler, Susie Nelson, Willie “Billy” Hugh Jr., Paula Carlene Nelson, Amy Lee Nelson, Lukas Autry Nelson, Jacob Micah Nelson, and Rene Butts.
He shares his kids with five women; seven from his marriages and one with his mistress.
From his marriage to his first wife Martha Matthews of ten years, the pair shared three children before they divorced.
In his eight-year marriage to his second wife Shirley Collie, they welcomed a child.
He also had a child from his seventeen-year marriage to his third wife, Connie Koepke.
In his current marriage spanning over 3 decades to Annie D’Angelo, he has welcomed two kids and he has a child with his mistress.
Most of Willie Nelson’s children have their families and have worked in the music industry.
Lana Nelson Fowler
Lana Nelson Fowler was born on November 11, 1953. Her mother is Willie’s first wife, Martha Matthews.
While she isn’t a musician like her father, she has been a costume designer for several films.
In 1986, she worked as a costume designer with Willie on the set of his film Red-Headed Stranger.
She also designed costumes for the 1993 TV special, Willie Nelson: The Big Six-O.
Lana has been married twice and has four children, according to Texas Monthly.
Susie Nelson is Willie and Martha’s second child. She was born on May 23, 1956.
She published Heart Worn Memories: A Daughter’s Biography of Willie Nelson in 1987.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, she married writer and editor Bob Rosenbaum that same year after being a widow and a divorcee.
In 2012, she co-hosted Susie’s Gospel Hour with her dad on the singer’s SiriusXM channel.
William “Billy” Hugh Nelson Jr
Willie’s first son was born on May 12, 1958.
In 1989, Billy’s mother, Martha, passed away and he separated from his wife, who had custody of his daughter.
He was treated at an alcohol rehab facility in 1990.
On Christmas Day, 1991, Billy was found in his home after an apparent suicide by hanging. He was 33.
Before his untimely death, Billy had been working on a gospel-inspired album with his father.
In 1994, the older Nelson released the completed album, Peace in the Valey: The Gospel Truth Collection.
Of his son’s passing, Willie said, “I’ve never experienced anything so devastating in my life,” according to People.
Paula Carlene Nelson
Paula Nelson is Willie’s first child with his third wife, Connie Koepke. She was born on October 27, 1969.
Paula was named after Willie’s best friend, the late Paul English. When she was born, Willie was still married to his second wife.
Her parents married in 1971 and divorced in 1988. During her senior year, she entered a drug rehab facility in San Diego.
She is also the first Nelson to receive a high school diploma. Like her father, Paula pursued a career in the music industry.
In 2016, she was named Female Artist of the Year by the Country Music Association of Texas.
She’s also collaborated with her dad on Willie’s 2013 cover album To All the Girls. They covered “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” together.
Amy Lee Nelson
Amy Lee Nelson was born on July 6, 1973.
She directed the 2016 documentary Lovey: King of the Roadies and captured footage for Kinky Friedman’s Resurrection music video.
She also followed in her father’s footsteps and is one-half of Folk Uke with Arlo Guthrie’s daughter Cathy Guthrie.
Apart from music and film, Amy is an animal rights activist. She helps run Willie’s Kids, which is the Nelson family non-profit.
The organization works to rescue horses from slaughter.
Lukas Autry Nelson
In 1991, Willie married his current wife, Annie D’Angelo, but the couple had their first child together, Lukas Autry Nelson, on Christmas, 1988.
Born with music in his genes, a song Lukas wrote a song when he was 11 was on Willie’s 52nd album, It Always Will Be.
In 2008, Lukas formed a band called Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and they were Neil Young’s backing band from 2015 to 2019.
Lukas has collaborated with his father.
Willie sang backup and wrote a song for the band’s first album in 2010. He also included his son on his 2012 album, Heroes.
Lukas co-produced the music for the 2018 film A Star Is Born and wrote songs with Lady Gaga.
He won a BAFTA Award for Best Original Music and a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for his work.
Jacob “Micah” Nelson
Willie and Annie’s youngest child, Jacob Micah Nelson, was born on May 24, 1990.
The youngest sibling, who goes by his middle name, began releasing music under a moniker in 2012.
The moniker, Particle Son, came from Willie misspeaking when he tried to call Micah his Prodigal Son, according to Pitchfork.
Micah collaborated with his father on the 2022 song Amerikan Lyfe.
The older Nelson contributed writing, vocals, and musical composition to the song.
In 2019, Micah announced his marriage on Instagram.
In 2012, Willie Nelson discovered he had fathered a daughter with his friend Mary Haney.
Their daughter, Renee Butts, was born on January 22, 1953. She worked as a graphic designer.
Renee married her husband Joel Butts in 1976, and they lived near Houston, Texas.
Sadly, she died in 2017 and was survived by her husband, daughter, and granddaughter. She was 64.