Marvin Gaye: Wives, Girlfriend and children

If you are #TeamMarvinGaye then you should be happy to know jurors in Los Angeles decided that the 2013 single by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke breached the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got To Give It Up.”

As a result of the judge’s decision, the family of the late soul singer has been awarded $7.3m (£4.8m) in damages. Let’s find out who they are.

Marvin was married twice, he fathered three children. At the time of his death he was survived by his parents, wives, children and siblings.

Wives

He was first married to Anna Gordy, the eldest sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Anna was a Motown writer and executive since the early days. The couple were married from 1963-1977. She filed for divorce in 1975. During an ugly divorce proceedings, wherein Anna sought palimony and money from the international superstar, the singer claimed to have little money, despite his touring and assets, so attorneys agreed on Anna receiving a sizable chunk (a reported 50%) of royalties on Marvin’s next album.

While Anna and Marvin were married they became the parents of Marvin Gaye III, their adoptive son. She died January 2014, aged 92.

His second wife is Janis Hunter. By the time they were married, in 1977, Janis had already given birth to their two children; they ended in divorce in 1981.

Janis is the mother of Marvin’s two children: daughter Nona born September 4, 1974 and their son Frankie born November 16, 1975. Their marriage is described as tumultuous, some critics say in part because of Janis’ young age and Marvin’s substance abuse.

Wives

Children

Marvin Pentz Gaye III was born on November 17, 1966. At first it was thought he was conceived naturally between the couple but Marvin Gaye himself later confirmed his adoption.

His birth mother was identified as actress Denise Gordy, the niece of Anna Gordy.

41-year-old Nona Marvisa Gaye is the first daughter of Marvin’s second marriage. She grew up to become a model, singer and actress.

She was only 10-years-old when her famous father died, but she had been brought to her father’s concerts and at age 8, she introduced him on Soul Train.

Frankie Christian Gaye, now 40 is the second child from Marvin’s second marriage and his second son.

Children

Girlfriends

Following his second divorce, Gaye began dating model Eugenie Vis, it was said he later got involved with English socialite.

At the time of his death he was living with English native Deborah Decker who said in an interview she miscarried Marvin’s child.

Girlfriends

The Story of… ‚What’s Going On‘ by Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s protest anthem ‚What’s Going On‘ was a powerful and groundbreaking song at the time of its release in 1971, but fast forward nearly 50 years later and it is sadly still just as relevant for the world in 2020.

With the huge spark of protests in the US and around the worldfollowing the death of George Floyd, the subject of police brutality and racial injustice is just as big a problem today as it was then.

Marvin Gaye co-wrote ‚What’s Going On‘ about the issues of the time, but little did he know that over 30 years after his death, tragically it still sounds as if it could have been written yesterday.

Here’s the history of one of the most important songs of the 20th century:

The Story of... 'What's Going On' by Marvin Gaye

What The Last 12 Months Of Marvin Gaye’s Life Were Like

On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye died at the hands of his father. The preceding year had been one of dramatic contrast. Despite awards and accolades, the last year of Marvin Gaye’s life was an extreme roller coaster. Gaye first rose to prominence with his 1962 hit „Motown staple — not bad for someone who started out as just a drummer. By 1973, he was recording his incredible, three-octave range with the likes of Diana Ross, and he soon began producing his own records, even playing all the instruments himself. Everyone knew that Marvin Gaye was a force to be reckoned with, but it wasn’t until his later years that he would start to gain critical acclaim.

By 1984, Gaye had already released 17 studio albums. A frequent flyer on Ebony and Rolling Stone, he was even the source of a few scandals — the most prominent of which involved fleeing to Europe to avoid taxes and alimony.

But Marvin Gaye’s legacy isn’t just one of soulful music; it’s also one of tragedy and heartbreak. It’s the story of a broken man, a sometimes cruel man, who nevertheless gave the world some of its most beautiful music, in a time of unparalleled innovation. The last 12 months of Marvin Gaye’s life were tumultuous and dark. Here’s his story.

On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye died at the hands of his father. The preceding year had been one of dramatic contrast. Despite awards and accolades, the last year of Marvin Gaye’s life was an extreme roller coaster. Gaye first rose to prominence with his 1962 hit „Motown staple — not bad for someone who started out as just a drummer. By 1973, he was recording his incredible, three-octave range with the likes of Diana Ross, and he soon began producing his own records, even playing all the instruments himself. Everyone knew that Marvin Gaye was a force to be reckoned with, but it wasn’t until his later years that he would start to gain critical acclaim.

By 1984, Gaye had already released 17 studio albums. A frequent flyer on Ebony and Rolling Stone, he was even the source of a few scandals — the most prominent of which involved fleeing to Europe to avoid taxes and alimony.

But Marvin Gaye’s legacy isn’t just one of soulful music; it’s also one of tragedy and heartbreak. It’s the story of a broken man, a sometimes cruel man, who nevertheless gave the world some of its most beautiful music, in a time of unparalleled innovation. The last 12 months of Marvin Gaye’s life were tumultuous and dark. Here’s his story.

Marvin Gaye’s 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

Marvin Gaye was one of the greatest singers of all time, who recorded some of the finest ever soul songs in a short period of time.

Taken far too soon, Marvin Gaye’s music took on various styles, from uplifting duets to heartbreaking ballads to socially-conscious anthems.

We’ve taken his 10 very best songs for the ultimate Marvin Gaye introduction:

Jane Fonda Says Marlon Brando Was ‚Disappointing,‘ She Regrets Not Sleeping with Marvin Gaye

The actress said she didn’t want to sleep with Marvin Gaye at the time because she was married to Tom Hayden

Jane Fonda is revealing new details about her early experiences in the entertainment industry.

In a new interview with The New York Times, the Grace and Frankie star played a quick round of „Confirm or Deny,“ in which she opened up about her time with various stars including Marlon Brando and Marvin Gaye.

Asked about her experience with Brando, whom she starred alongside in the 1966 drama The Chase, Fonda didn’t seem to be wooed by the late actor.

Despite her relationship with Brando, the 82-year-old still acknowledged his strong skills as an entertainer, calling him a „great actor.“

Fonda also shed light on who she most regrets not sleeping with during her early years in the industry.

„Your greatest regret is that you never had sex with Che Guevara,“ Times reporter Maureen Dowd asked Fonda to confirm, which the actress quickly shut down.

„No, I don’t think about him,“ Fonda explained. „Who I do think about, and what is a great regret is Marvin Gaye.“

„He wanted to and I didn’t,“ she admitted. „I was married to Tom [Hayden]. I was meeting a lot of performers to try to do concerts for Tom and the woman who was helping me do that introduced me to Marvin Gaye.“

Fonda wed Hayden in 1973 and were married for 17 years before getting divorced. The two share 47-year-old son Troy Garity.

Dowd went on to tease Fonda about the Motown singer as a possible suitor, asking, „Please tell me his pickup line included the words ’sexual healing.'“

„I needed some but he didn’t say that, no,“ Fonda said. „But then I read, apparently he had my picture on his refrigerator. I didn’t find that out until later, after he was dead.“

In 2018, Fonda spoke candidly with PEOPLE about how she used to be defined by the men in her life — until she became single again by choice in her sixties.

“Up until my sixties, I was to an extent, defined by the men in my life,” she told former PEOPLE editor-in-chief Jess Cagle, in an episode of the Jess Cagle Interview.

“I was brought up to please,” she said. “I wanted my father to love me so I would turn myself into a pretzel to be what he wanted me to be, not necessarily what I already was.”

She added, “It took me getting into my sixties, and then I began to become who I was supposed to be all along.”

After years of tumult and abuse, Marvin Gaye died when his father, Marvin Gay Sr., shot him at point-blank range inside the family’s Los Angeles home in 1984.

As music critic Michael Eric Dyson once said, Motown legend Marvin Gaye “chased away the demons of millions… with his heavenly sound and divine art.” But while this soulful voice healed those who listened, the man behind it suffered a tremendous amount of pain.

That pain largely centered on Gaye’s relationship with his father, Marvin Gay Sr., an abusive man who never wanted his son and made no secret of it. A violent alcoholic, Gay took out his anger on his children — especially Marvin.

But not only did Marvin Gaye endure this abusive childhood, he eventually found worldwide fame as a soul singer for the iconic Motown Records in the 1960s and ’70s. But by the 1980s, Gaye moved back in with his parents in Los Angeles following a losing battle with cocaine addiction as well as financial difficulties.

It was here that the tension between Gaye and his father reached its tragic climax when Marvin Gay Sr. fatally shot his son three times in the chest on April 1, 1984.

But as the Prince Of Motown’s brother, Frankie, later said in his memoir Marvin Gaye: My Brother, Marvin Gaye’s death seemed written in stone from the beginning.

Growing Up In The Abusive Household Of Marvin Gay Sr.

Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. (he changed the spelling of his surname later on) was born on April 2, 1939, in Washington, D.C. From the start, there was violence inside the home thanks to his father and violence outside the home due to the rough neighborhood and public housing project in which they lived.

Gaye described living in his father’s house as “living with a king, a very peculiar, changeable, cruel, and all-powerful king.”

That king, Marvin Gay Sr., hailed from Jessamine County, Kentucky, where he was born to an abusive father of his own in 1914. By the time he had a family himself, Gay was a minister in a strict Pentecostal sect who disciplined his children severely, with Marvin reportedly getting the worst of it.

While under his father’s roof, the young Gaye suffered vicious abuse from his father nearly every day. His sister Jeanne later recalled that Gaye’s childhood “consisted of a series of brutal whippings.”

And as Gaye himself later said, “By the time I was twelve, there wasn’t an inch on my body that hadn’t been bruised and beaten by him.”

This abuse prompted him to turn to music rather quickly as an escape. He also later said that were it not for his mother’s encouragement and care, he would have killed himself.

The abuse that caused these suicidal thoughts may have been partly fueled by Marvin Gay Sr.’s complicated emotions about his own rumored homosexuality. Whether or not that’s true, the source of the rumors was largely that he cross-dressed, a behavior that was — often erroneously — linked with homosexuality, especially in decades past.

According to Marvin Gaye, his father often wore women’s clothes and “there have been periods when [my father’s] hair was very long and curled under, and when he seemed quite adamant in showing the world the girlish side of himself.”

But whatever its cause, the abuse didn’t stop Gaye from also developing an extraordinary talent for music. He went from performing at his father’s church at age four to mastering both the piano and drums by the time he was a teen. He developed a deep love for R&B and doo-wop.

As he started to make a name for himself professionally, Gaye wanted to distance himself from his toxic relationship with his father so he changed his name from “Gay” to “Gaye.” Gaye reportedly also changed his name in order to quell rumors that he and his father were both homosexuals.

Gaye eventually moved with a musical colleague of his to Detroit and was able to secure a performance for the biggest name on that city’s music scene, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. He was quickly signed to the label and soon married Gordy’s older sister Anna.

Though Gaye soon became the Prince of Motown and enjoyed monumental success for the next 15 years, his relationship with his father never truly healed.

The Troubled Months Before Marvin Gaye’s Death

By the time Marvin Gaye finished what would be his last tour in 1983, he had developed a cocaine addiction to cope with the pressures of the road as well as his failed marriage to Anna due to his infidelity and which resulted in a contentious legal battle. Addiction had made him paranoid and financially unstable, inspiring him to return home. When he learned that his mother was recovering from kidney surgery, that only gave him more reason to move into the family home in Los Angeles.

Back home, he found himself in a pattern of violent fights with his father. Even after decades, the old problems between the two were still raging.

“My husband never wanted Marvin, and he never liked him,” Alberta Gay, Marvin Gaye’s mother, later explained. “He used to say he didn’t think he was really his child. I told him that was nonsense. He knew Marvin was his. But for some reason, he didn’t love Marvin, and what’s worse, he didn’t want me to love Marvin either.”

Furthermore, even as a grown man, Gaye harbored troubled emotions related to his father’s cross-dressing and rumored homosexuality.

According to one biographer, Gaye had long feared that his father’s sexuality would influence his, saying, “I find the situation all the more difficult because… I have the same fascination with women’s clothes. In my case, that has nothing to do with any attraction for men. Sexually, men don’t interest me. It’s also something I fear.”

Whether it was these fears, Gaye’s drug addiction, Marvin Gay Sr.’s alcoholism, or a myriad of other causes, Gaye’s time back home quickly proved to be violent. Gay eventually kicked Gaye out, but the latter returned, saying, “I have just one father. I want to make peace with him.”

How Marvin Gaye Died At The Hands Of His Father

The death of Marvin Gaye started with a fight like so many others. On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye and Marvin Gay Sr. became engaged in a physical altercation after another one of their verbal battles.

Then, Gaye allegedly began beating his father until his mother, Alberta, separated them. While Gaye was talking with his mother in his bedroom and trying to calm down, his father reached for a gift that his son had once given him: a .38 Special.

Marvin Gay Sr. entered the bedroom and, without a word, shot his son once in the chest. That one shot was enough to kill Gaye, but after he fell to the ground, his father approached him and shot him a second and third time at point-blank range.

Alberta fled in horror and her younger son Frankie, who lived in a guest house on the property with his wife, was the first one to enter the scene just after Marvin Gaye’s death. Frankie later recalled how his mother collapsed before them, crying, “he’s shot Marvin. He’s killed my boy.”

Gaye was pronounced dead at age 44 at 1:01 p.m. When police arrived, Gay was sitting calmly on the porch, gun in hand. When police asked him if he loved his son, Gay replied, “Let’s say I didn’t dislike him.”

Why Did Marvin Gaye’s Father Shoot Him?

While Marvin Gay Sr. was never shy about his venom toward his son, his attitude somewhat changed following Marvin Gaye’s death. He made statements professing his grief over losing his beloved child and claimed that he wasn’t fully aware of what he was doing.

In a jail cell interview before his trial, Gay admitted that “I pulled the trigger,” but claimed that he thought the gun was loaded with BB pellets.

“The first one didn’t seem to bother him. He put his hand up to his face like he’d been hit with a BB. And then I fired again.”

Furthermore, in his defense, Gay claimed that his son had become “something like a beastlike person” on cocaine and that the singer beat him terribly before the shooting occurred.

The subsequent investigation, however, found no physical evidence that Gay Sr. suffered a beating. Lieutenant Robert Martin, the lead detective on the case, said, “There was no indication of bruises… nothing like he’d been punched out or that kind of stuff.”

As for the nature of the argument that preceded Marvin Gaye’s death, distraught neighbors claimed at the time that the fight was over plans for the singer’s 45th birthday, which was the next day. Later reports claimed that the fight had broken out over an insurance policy letter that Alberta had misplaced, drawing Gay’s wrath.

Whatever the cause and whatever the truth of Gay’s BB claims, he added that he was remorseful and that he didn’t even know his son had died until a detective told him hours later.

“I just didn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought he was kidding me. I said, ‘Oh, God of mercy. Oh. Oh. Oh.’ It just shocked me. I just went to pieces, just cold. I just sit there and I didn’t know what to do, just sitting there like a mummy.”

Ultimately, the courts seemed to have some sympathy for Marvin Gay Sr.’s version of events.

On Sept. 20, 1984, Gay was allowed to enter a plea bargain of no contest to one charge of voluntary manslaughter. He was given a suspended six-year sentence with five years of probation. He later died in a California nursing home in 1998 at age 84.

He gave his last words on the death of Marvin Gaye at his sentencing on Nov. 20, 1984.

“If I could bring him back, I would. I was afraid of him. I thought I was going to get hurt. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m really sorry for everything that happened. I loved him. I wish he could step through this door right now. I’m paying the price now.”

But whether Marvin Gay Sr. was indeed truly penitent or the death Of Marvin Gaye was a cold, conscious act, the beloved singer was gone forever. Father and son were never able to escape the cycle of abuse that lasted the latter’s entire life.

01. April 1984: Marvin Gaye wird vom eigenen Vater erschossen

Anfang der 80er Jahre schien Marvin Gaye aus der Versenkung zurückgekehrt. Nach einer Auszeit und einem Drogenentzug feierte der berühmteste Soul-Sänger der 60er mit seiner Single „Sexual Healing“ und dem dazugehörigen Album „Midnight Love“ ein Comeback.

Heftige Konflikte mit dem Vater

Nach dem Ende der Tour im August 1983 zog sich der Sänger zu seinen Eltern nach Los Angeles zurück, in ein Haus, das er einst selbst gekauft hatte. Nach einer Zeit, die von Familienmitgliedern als „ruhig und ohne besondere Vorkommnisse“ beschrieben wird, geriet Gaye jedoch immer öfter und immer heftiger mit seinem Vater, einem strenggläubigen Prediger, aneinander.

Who wrote ‚What’s Going On‘?

The song was co-written by Renaldo ‚Obie‘ Benson, Al Cleveland, and Marvin Gaye, and produced by Gaye himself.

The song marked Gaye’s departure from the Motown Sound of his previous output, towards more personal material.

It was the title track of his album What’s Going On?, released in May 1971.

The album is a concept album, with most of its songs mixing into the next, and has been categorized as a song cycle.

The narrative in the songs is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering, and injustice.

Gaye’s lyrics explore themes of racism, drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War.

What inspired the song?

The song’s inspiration came from Benson, a member of the Motown group the Four Tops, after their tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969.

While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists, in what was described later as ‚Bloody Thursday‘.

Upset by the incident, Benson told author Ben Edmonds the he asked, ‚What is happening here?‘. One question led to another. ‚Why are they sending kids so far away from their families overseas? Why are they attacking their own children in the streets?'“.

He later discussed what he witnessed with friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who soon wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson’s worries.

Benson wanted to give the song to his group, but the other Four Tops turned it down.

„My partners told me it was a protest song“, Benson said. „I said ’no man, it’s a love song, about love and understanding. I’m not protesting, I want to know what’s going on.'“

In 1970, Benson gave the untitled song to Marvin Gaye, who added a new melody and changed the song and added his own lyrics.

Benson later said Gaye „added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song… we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it.“

Gaye called it ‚What’s Going On‘. He initially thought the song’s would be good for the group The Originals, Benson convinced Gaye to record it himself.

Gaye was inspired by social injustices committed in the US, including the 1965 Watts riots. On August 11, 1965, Marquette Frye, an African-American motorist on parole for robbery, was pulled over for dangerous driving. A minor roadside argument escalated into a fight with police, and six days of civil unrest followed.

Nearly 4,000 members of the California Army National Guard came into to control the situation, which resulted in 34 deaths and over $40 million in property damage. It was the city’s worst unrest until the Rodney King riots of 1992.

Gaye asked himself: „‚With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?'“

He was also influenced by emotional conversations shared between him and his brother Frankie, who had returned from three years at the Vietnam War, and his cousin Marvin’s death while serving troops.

During phone conversations with Motown boss Berry Gordy, who was on holiday in the Bahamas at the time, Gaye told Gordy that he wanted to record a protest album, to which Gordy said: „Marvin, don’t be ridiculous. That’s taking things too far.“

How was the song made?

Marvin Gaye was inspired by recent successes of his productions for The Originals, and decided to produce the song himself.

He brought inoriginal Motown in-house studio musicians such as James Jamerson and Eddie Brown, with musicians he recruited himself.

The opening saxophone line, by musician Eli Fontaine, was not originally intended for the song. Once Gaye heard Fontaine’s riff, he told Fontaine to go home. When Fontaine protested that he was just „goofing around“, Gaye replied: „you goof off exquisitely, thank you.“

The laid-back atmosphere in the studio was helped by constant marijuana smoking by Gaye and the musicians.

Jamerson was brought in after Gaye saw him playing with a band at a local bar. Motown conductor David Van De Pitte said that Jamerson „always kept a bottle of [the Greek spirit] Metaxa in his bass case. He could really put that stuff away, and then sit down and still be able to play.“

However, the night Jamerson came to record the bass lines, he could not sit properly in his seat and laid on the floor playing his bass riffs.

Wife Annie Jamerson later said that when he returned home that night, he declared that the song was a „masterpiece“.

Gaye also provided piano and keyboards, and also played a box drum to help alongside Chet Forest’s drumming.

Gaye also invited the Detroit Lions players Mel Farr and Lem Barney to the studio and, along with Gaye and the Funk Brothers, added in various vocal chatter in the background, in a mock conversation.

Musician Elgie Stover, who was later a caterer for Bill Clinton, was the man who opened the song’s track with the words, ‚hey, man, what’s happening?‘ and ‚everything is everything‘.

Gaye asked engineer Kenneth Sands to give him his two vocal takes to compare which one he wanted to use, but Sands ended up mixing them together by accident.

However, when he heard it, Gaye was impressed with the double-lead feel that he kept it.

Berry Gordy hated it

When Gordy heard the song, he turned down Gaye’s request to release it, telling Gaye he felt it was „the worst thing I ever heard in my life“.

Gaye responded to this rejection by refusing to record anything else unless the song would be released, going on strike until Gordy saw sense.

Read more: The 25 greatest Motown songs, ranked

The song was released without Gordy’s knowledge, and it sold over 200,000 copies within a week.

It eventually became a huge success, reaching the top of the charts within a month, staying at number-one for five weeks on the Billboard R&B charts. On the main Billboard Hot 100, it reached number two.

It eventually sold over two million copies, becoming then the fastest-selling Motown single ever. It forced Gordy to allow Gaye to produce his own music, giving him an ultimatum to complete an album by the end of March, resulting in What’s Going On.

Gordy later explained: „My reason for pushing back on Marvin wasn’t to stop the single, just to determine whether or not this was another one of his wild ideas.

„Motown was about music for all people—white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone. This was a big risk for his image.“

Marvin Gaye’s slow rise to fame

In February 1983, Gaye’s two-decade career was at its peak. Gaye had just won two Grammy AwardsSexual Healing, Midnight Love was rising into the Top 10, and Gaye had his eighth #1 album on the Top Black Albums chart (now known as R&B/HipHop)and a messy divorce — he was poised for a historic comeback.

Before 1971, Gaye had been releasing almost an album a year for over a decade — but they barely touched the charts. Everyone knew who Marvin Gaye was, and everyone listened to his music. But he wasn’t yet being taken seriously.

What’s Going On made it to #6 in the United States, and was followed by three massive hits: Trouble ManLet’s Get It On, and . Still, his next two albums struggled to break into the top 30s, and it appeared as though he might be sliding into obscurity once again. So, when Midnight Love came out, it seemed to usher in an entirely new stage of his career. As noted in Esquire, by 1983 people were finally starting to recognize Gaye as a musical genius, giving him the recognition that he had long deserved.

In February 1983, Gaye’s two-decade career was at its peak. Gaye had just won two Grammy AwardsSexual Healing, Midnight Love was rising into the Top 10, and Gaye had his eighth #1 album on the Top Black Albums chart (now known as R&B/HipHop)and a messy divorce — he was poised for a historic comeback.

Before 1971, Gaye had been releasing almost an album a year for over a decade — but they barely touched the charts. Everyone knew who Marvin Gaye was, and everyone listened to his music. But he wasn’t yet being taken seriously.

What’s Going On made it to #6 in the United States, and was followed by three massive hits: Trouble ManLet’s Get It On, and . Still, his next two albums struggled to break into the top 30s, and it appeared as though he might be sliding into obscurity once again. So, when Midnight Love came out, it seemed to usher in an entirely new stage of his career. As noted in Esquire, by 1983 people were finally starting to recognize Gaye as a musical genius, giving him the recognition that he had long deserved.

Marvin Gaye’s final performances, from Soul Train to the NBA

The year before his death, Marvin Gaye seemed unstoppable. On February 13, 1983, Gaye sang The Star-Spangled Banner at the NBA All-Star Game. According to TIME MagazineNBA called it a „seminal moment in sports history.“ This performance would later be used for a 2008 Nike commercial — and when VH1 launched on January 1, 1985, the performance was the first video they aired.

A few months later, Gaye performed on Soul Train for the last time. And on May 16, 1983, Marvin Gaye’s performance on „Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever“ proved to be as spellbinding as ever — though Gaye was noticeably haggard. These would be his final TV appearances.

Fans of Marvin Gaye can take some solace — Gaye was achieving his career goals. He was now two years out from a brutal divorce, and it appeared as though the worst was over. But behind the scenes, Gaye was struggling. Gaye was far from a perfect man; with a series of broken relationships, Gaye had been struggling with his mental health for some time.

The year before his death, Marvin Gaye seemed unstoppable. On February 13, 1983, Gaye sang The Star-Spangled Banner at the NBA All-Star Game. According to TIME MagazineNBA called it a „seminal moment in sports history.“ This performance would later be used for a 2008 Nike commercial — and when VH1 launched on January 1, 1985, the performance was the first video they aired.

A few months later, Gaye performed on Soul Train for the last time. And on May 16, 1983, Marvin Gaye’s performance on „Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever“ proved to be as spellbinding as ever — though Gaye was noticeably haggard. These would be his final TV appearances.

Fans of Marvin Gaye can take some solace — Gaye was achieving his career goals. He was now two years out from a brutal divorce, and it appeared as though the worst was over. But behind the scenes, Gaye was struggling. Gaye was far from a perfect man; with a series of broken relationships, Gaye had been struggling with his mental health for some time.

What’s going on? Marvin Gaye’s paranoia grows

What do you wear to promote your next tour? If you’re Marvin Gaye, it’s a bulletproof vest, according to Ebony. By early 1983, Gaye had started to spiral into paranoia. He hired bodyguards with loaded guns, took to wearing bulletproof vests, and sent his father the very same gun that would eventually be used to kill him. His father accepted it reluctantly; he had never owned a gun before.

Gaye’s ex-wife, Janis Hunter, would later remark in her book After the Dance that Gaye experienced both stage fright and crippling self-doubt. According to the Washington Post, his younger sister, Zeola Gaye, said that he was paranoid and believed that someone was trying to kill him — in truth, it seems as though the only person trying to kill Gaye was himself.

Per Ebony, Marvin Gaye had received several death threats — but this wasn’t unusual for a star of his stature. Still, he took them seriously. He told people that he was being stalked. He even called a press conference and told the press that he had hired a lawyer to look into the fact that he had recently been poisoned. In the last months of his life, Marvin Gaye would instruct limo drivers to drive in circles to throw off an unseen pursuer. He would avoid stepping out of elevators on specific floors. He became terrified to go anywhere but his hotel.

What do you wear to promote your next tour? If you’re Marvin Gaye, it’s a bulletproof vest, according to Ebony. By early 1983, Gaye had started to spiral into paranoia. He hired bodyguards with loaded guns, took to wearing bulletproof vests, and sent his father the very same gun that would eventually be used to kill him. His father accepted it reluctantly; he had never owned a gun before.

Gaye’s ex-wife, Janis Hunter, would later remark in her book After the Dance that Gaye experienced both stage fright and crippling self-doubt. According to the Washington Post, his younger sister, Zeola Gaye, said that he was paranoid and believed that someone was trying to kill him — in truth, it seems as though the only person trying to kill Gaye was himself.

Per Ebony, Marvin Gaye had received several death threats — but this wasn’t unusual for a star of his stature. Still, he took them seriously. He told people that he was being stalked. He even called a press conference and told the press that he had hired a lawyer to look into the fact that he had recently been poisoned. In the last months of his life, Marvin Gaye would instruct limo drivers to drive in circles to throw off an unseen pursuer. He would avoid stepping out of elevators on specific floors. He became terrified to go anywhere but his hotel.

Gaye struggled with drugs and depression

A childhood filled with abuse and mistrust was likely part of Marvin Gaye’s paranoia. But the other component was, well, an absolutely ridiculous amount of drugs.

As reported by the New York Times, Marvin Gaye was not a stranger to drug use. He started using cocaine in the early 1960s, during his first few studio albums. He became dependent on it through the ’70s, also flirting with PCP. Per Ebony, he spent his time between reading scripture and doing cocaine — an unlikely combination for self-soothing.

Perhaps if it was only drug addiction, he could have survived. But in addition to addiction, Gaye had personal demons to fight. By 1983, he had attempted to commit suicide twiceingesting an ounce of cocaine in an hour.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A childhood filled with abuse and mistrust was likely part of Marvin Gaye’s paranoia. But the other component was, well, an absolutely ridiculous amount of drugs.

As reported by the New York Times, Marvin Gaye was not a stranger to drug use. He started using cocaine in the early 1960s, during his first few studio albums. He became dependent on it through the ’70s, also flirting with PCP. Per Ebony, he spent his time between reading scripture and doing cocaine — an unlikely combination for self-soothing.

Perhaps if it was only drug addiction, he could have survived. But in addition to addiction, Gaye had personal demons to fight. By 1983, he had attempted to commit suicide twiceingesting an ounce of cocaine in an hour.

Marvin Gaye unraveled during his Sexual Healing Tour

In 1983, Marvin Gaye remarked that a tour would likely kill him — but finances, notably his taxes, eventually backed him into a corner. In April 1983, he started the Sexual Healing Tour in San Diego. It would go on until August 14. Creative and controversial as ever, he debuted a military-style outfit, red with gold buttons — now in the Motown Museum. But while the tour itself seemed to be going well, he was falling apart both mentally and physically.

Gaye’s paranoia had taken the stage with him during the Sexual Healing Tour. According to The Independent, he’d hired bodyguards — and he had his sister bring water to him while on stage, to avoid poisoning. He was depressed, scared, and exhausted throughout the tour. He was continually convinced that the next town he was going to would be his last. As the tour continued, his health faltered. In Florida, he was hospitalized for exhaustion. 

Marvin Gaye’s prediction was coming through: The tour was killing him. Unpredictable and paranoid, he returned to his family home.

In 1983, Marvin Gaye remarked that a tour would likely kill him — but finances, notably his taxes, eventually backed him into a corner. In April 1983, he started the Sexual Healing Tour in San Diego. It would go on until August 14. Creative and controversial as ever, he debuted a military-style outfit, red with gold buttons — now in the Motown Museum. But while the tour itself seemed to be going well, he was falling apart both mentally and physically.

Gaye’s paranoia had taken the stage with him during the Sexual Healing Tour. According to The Independent, he’d hired bodyguards — and he had his sister bring water to him while on stage, to avoid poisoning. He was depressed, scared, and exhausted throughout the tour. He was continually convinced that the next town he was going to would be his last. As the tour continued, his health faltered. In Florida, he was hospitalized for exhaustion. 

Marvin Gaye’s prediction was coming through: The tour was killing him. Unpredictable and paranoid, he returned to his family home.

Marvin Gaye’s childhood was „a series of brutal whippings“

After his tour, Marvin Gaye had added the „e“). The reunion was tumultuous at best. Gaye’s childhood has been described as „a series of brutal whippings,“ under a strictly religious, Pentecostal household. In Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, Gaye described this as „like living with a king, a very peculiar, changeable, cruel and all-powerful king.“

Later, in My Brother Marvin, Zeola Gaye would illuminate more about their troubled household. Mr. Gay was an alcoholic and a closeted cross-dresser. He would be kind when he wasn’t drinking, and sour when not. Yet even she would go on to defend him: „My father was not a monster.“

In his family’s home, Gaye continued to do drugs. His mother would recount, tearfully, that each time was „the last time.“ People continued to bring him drugs in his family home, and he spent his time staring, obsessively, at a gun — which he would eventually throw through his bedroom window, without opening the glass.

After his tour, Marvin Gaye had added the „e“). The reunion was tumultuous at best. Gaye’s childhood has been described as „a series of brutal whippings,“ under a strictly religious, Pentecostal household. In Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, Gaye described this as „like living with a king, a very peculiar, changeable, cruel and all-powerful king.“

Later, in My Brother Marvin, Zeola Gaye would illuminate more about their troubled household. Mr. Gay was an alcoholic and a closeted cross-dresser. He would be kind when he wasn’t drinking, and sour when not. Yet even she would go on to defend him: „My father was not a monster.“

In his family’s home, Gaye continued to do drugs. His mother would recount, tearfully, that each time was „the last time.“ People continued to bring him drugs in his family home, and he spent his time staring, obsessively, at a gun — which he would eventually throw through his bedroom window, without opening the glass.

The loves and children of Marvin Gaye

During the last year of his life, according to Jet, Gaye’s current girlfriend Deborah Derrick reported that she was carrying Marvin’s unborn child (she later miscarried). At the time, Derrick remarked that the family tension within the Gay household was simply too much for her. Derrick moved out to her own apartment rather than suffer through it, and urged Gaye to come with her to Europe.

Deborah Derrick certainly wasn’t the only woman in Gaye’s life during the months before his death. Based on family accounts, women were coming in and out of the Gay house constantly — and frequently suffering from abuse under his volatile temper. But this wasn’t just the drugs. Gaye’s relationships with women had been rocky in the best of times.

At the time of his death, Marvin Gaye had three children: Nona Gaye, Frankie Gaye, and Marvin Gaye III. Marvin Gaye III had been adopted by Marvin and his first wife, Anna Gordy. His mother was Denise Gordy, Anna’s niece, just 15 years old when she became pregnant by Marvin. Nona and Frankie’s mother was Janis Hunter, Marvin’s second wife — whom he met when she was 17.

A predilection for younger women wasn’t exactly unheard of for the musicians of the time — it was the age of Lori Mattix and other star-struck groupies. But it certainly didn’t add stability to the Prince of Motown’s lifestyle.

During the last year of his life, according to Jet, Gaye’s current girlfriend Deborah Derrick reported that she was carrying Marvin’s unborn child (she later miscarried). At the time, Derrick remarked that the family tension within the Gay household was simply too much for her. Derrick moved out to her own apartment rather than suffer through it, and urged Gaye to come with her to Europe.

Deborah Derrick certainly wasn’t the only woman in Gaye’s life during the months before his death. Based on family accounts, women were coming in and out of the Gay house constantly — and frequently suffering from abuse under his volatile temper. But this wasn’t just the drugs. Gaye’s relationships with women had been rocky in the best of times.

At the time of his death, Marvin Gaye had three children: Nona Gaye, Frankie Gaye, and Marvin Gaye III. Marvin Gaye III had been adopted by Marvin and his first wife, Anna Gordy. His mother was Denise Gordy, Anna’s niece, just 15 years old when she became pregnant by Marvin. Nona and Frankie’s mother was Janis Hunter, Marvin’s second wife — whom he met when she was 17.

A predilection for younger women wasn’t exactly unheard of for the musicians of the time — it was the age of Lori Mattix and other star-struck groupies. But it certainly didn’t add stability to the Prince of Motown’s lifestyle.

Marvin Gaye’s final Grammy nomination

In early 1984, Marvin Gaye was nominated for his last Grammy in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category forMidnight Love. He wouldn’t be nominated again until after his death. 

During this time, critical magazines such as Rolling Stone were just starting to awaken to the idea that Gaye might be there to stay. Midnight Love had been well-received, and Gaye appeared to be securing his place in history — even after all the drug abuse and tax evasion. Still, very few knew about the increased paranoia he was experiencing behind the scenes.

In hindsight, of course, Gaye is a monumental figure. At the time, though, he was competing against some of the most memorable musicians of all time. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (previously titled In the Groove), now known as his breakthrough album, only hit #63 on the US Charts — despite the single reaching #1. 

It was a competitive year for groundbreaking music — 1968 saw the release of and Magical Mystery Tour.

In early 1984, Marvin Gaye was nominated for his last Grammy in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category forMidnight Love. He wouldn’t be nominated again until after his death. 

During this time, critical magazines such as Rolling Stone were just starting to awaken to the idea that Gaye might be there to stay. Midnight Love had been well-received, and Gaye appeared to be securing his place in history — even after all the drug abuse and tax evasion. Still, very few knew about the increased paranoia he was experiencing behind the scenes.

In hindsight, of course, Gaye is a monumental figure. At the time, though, he was competing against some of the most memorable musicians of all time. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (previously titled In the Groove), now known as his breakthrough album, only hit #63 on the US Charts — despite the single reaching #1. 

It was a competitive year for groundbreaking music — 1968 saw the release of and Magical Mystery Tour.

Marvin Gaye’s last suicide attempt

Just before his tragic death, Marvin Gaye made one last attempt on his own life. Four days before he was shot and killed, he attempted to jump out of a sports car going 60 MPH. He walked away with just bruising.

According to Essence, he had attempted this multiple times. In 1969, Gaye had thought to shoot himself but was stopped by Motown’s Berry Gordy. In 1979, Gaye had ingested an ounce of cocaine, believing it to be more pleasant than a gun. These repeated attempts lent credence to the idea that he was a man struggling to survive.

At this stage of his decline, Gaye was only leaving his house when high. At least once, he was found stumbling on freeway overpasses and brought home. His psychological battle with his father continued, but for the most part, Marvin Gaye remained within his room.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Just before his tragic death, Marvin Gaye made one last attempt on his own life. Four days before he was shot and killed, he attempted to jump out of a sports car going 60 MPH. He walked away with just bruising.

According to Essence, he had attempted this multiple times. In 1969, Gaye had thought to shoot himself but was stopped by Motown’s Berry Gordy. In 1979, Gaye had ingested an ounce of cocaine, believing it to be more pleasant than a gun. These repeated attempts lent credence to the idea that he was a man struggling to survive.

At this stage of his decline, Gaye was only leaving his house when high. At least once, he was found stumbling on freeway overpasses and brought home. His psychological battle with his father continued, but for the most part, Marvin Gaye remained within his room.

The shooting of Marvin Gaye: April 1, 1984

„It wasn’t simply that my father beat me, though that was bad enough. By the time I was twelve, there wasn’t an inch on my body that hadn’t been bruised and beaten by him,“ Marvin Gaye once said, according to Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye.

On April 1, 1984, Mr. Gay was angrily storming through the house looking for an insurance letter. He shouted at Mrs. Gay, but she was busy tending to Gaye. Marvin’s sister would later note that Gaye was in a state of (perhaps perpetual) undress, likely to unnerve his father even more. Still unable to find the letter, Mr. Gay started to scold Mrs. Gay — and Gaye went to her defense. Eventually, the fight led to Gaye striking his father.

A scuffle ensued, after which Gaye’s father came back and shot him twice in the chest — with the pistol that Gaye himself had sent him some months earlier. Later, Gaye’s father would say that he thought the pistol was full of BBs. According to Frankie Gaye, his brother, as Marvin lay dying, he said that he had his father shoot him because he couldn’t do it himself. Marvin Gaye would be declared dead at 1:01 PM, just one day shy of his 45th birthday.

„It wasn’t simply that my father beat me, though that was bad enough. By the time I was twelve, there wasn’t an inch on my body that hadn’t been bruised and beaten by him,“ Marvin Gaye once said, according to Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye.

On April 1, 1984, Mr. Gay was angrily storming through the house looking for an insurance letter. He shouted at Mrs. Gay, but she was busy tending to Gaye. Marvin’s sister would later note that Gaye was in a state of (perhaps perpetual) undress, likely to unnerve his father even more. Still unable to find the letter, Mr. Gay started to scold Mrs. Gay — and Gaye went to her defense. Eventually, the fight led to Gaye striking his father.

A scuffle ensued, after which Gaye’s father came back and shot him twice in the chest — with the pistol that Gaye himself had sent him some months earlier. Later, Gaye’s father would say that he thought the pistol was full of BBs. According to Frankie Gaye, his brother, as Marvin lay dying, he said that he had his father shoot him because he couldn’t do it himself. Marvin Gaye would be declared dead at 1:01 PM, just one day shy of his 45th birthday.

Marvin Gaye’s family reacts

„Marvin knew if he ever touched Father, my father would kill him,“ Zeola Gaye would later say, per the Washington Post, „It was a mercy killing. Father took Marvin out of his misery.“

Many close to Marvin Gaye believed that he committed suicide via his father. According to the Independent, a recorded conversation revealed his security officer warned Gaye that if he kept provoking his father, „he’s told you what he’ll do.“

Perhaps so. But what is it called when someone takes a person out of the misery that they themselves inflicted? What do we make of a world in which a man is shot twice in the chest by his own father, and everyone declares it suicide?

Marvin Gaye’s father, in his incredible power and cruelty, was regarded by the Gay family as nothing less than a force of nature. Marvin’s mother, sisters, and even family friends later painted the tragic incident as an intentional provocation by Marvin Gaye.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

„Marvin knew if he ever touched Father, my father would kill him,“ Zeola Gaye would later say, per the Washington Post, „It was a mercy killing. Father took Marvin out of his misery.“

Many close to Marvin Gaye believed that he committed suicide via his father. According to the Independent, a recorded conversation revealed his security officer warned Gaye that if he kept provoking his father, „he’s told you what he’ll do.“

Perhaps so. But what is it called when someone takes a person out of the misery that they themselves inflicted? What do we make of a world in which a man is shot twice in the chest by his own father, and everyone declares it suicide?

Marvin Gaye’s father, in his incredible power and cruelty, was regarded by the Gay family as nothing less than a force of nature. Marvin’s mother, sisters, and even family friends later painted the tragic incident as an intentional provocation by Marvin Gaye.

The legacy of Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and earned the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996 — despite a life cut short. In his honor, the Marvin P. Gaye Jr. Memorial Foundation was established, and April 2nd, 1985 was declared to be the Marvin Gaye Junior Scholarship Fund Day. Four albums have been posthumously released, as recently as 2019, according to legal battles in 2018 when Robin Thicke’s „Blurred Lines“ was found to be notably similar to one of his tracks.

In the last months of Marvin Gaye’s life, he was, by many accounts, abusive, paranoid, and destructive. He found solace in cocaine and pornography and terrorized members of his family. But the last months of Gaye’s life don’t tell the entire story; the story of a child dominated by a father who would eventually go on to kill him.

Though Marvin Gaye may have been at the height of his career in 1984, it didn’t erase the harm and tragedy that he had lived through. His suicidal inclinations, drug abuse, and the string of younger partners were all the habits of a man desperately trying to hide — from himself, from the world, and from the man who had brought him into it. 

Marvin Gaye would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and earned the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996 — despite a life cut short. In his honor, the Marvin P. Gaye Jr. Memorial Foundation was established, and April 2nd, 1985 was declared to be the Marvin Gaye Junior Scholarship Fund Day. Four albums have been posthumously released, as recently as 2019, according to legal battles in 2018 when Robin Thicke’s „Blurred Lines“ was found to be notably similar to one of his tracks.

In the last months of Marvin Gaye’s life, he was, by many accounts, abusive, paranoid, and destructive. He found solace in cocaine and pornography and terrorized members of his family. But the last months of Gaye’s life don’t tell the entire story; the story of a child dominated by a father who would eventually go on to kill him.

Though Marvin Gaye may have been at the height of his career in 1984, it didn’t erase the harm and tragedy that he had lived through. His suicidal inclinations, drug abuse, and the string of younger partners were all the habits of a man desperately trying to hide — from himself, from the world, and from the man who had brought him into it. 

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

Written by the famous Holland–Dozier–Holland trio at Motown, this gave Marvin Gaye his biggest hit at the time in 1964.

The song’s title was inspired by one of Jackie Gleason’s signature catchphrases: „How Sweet It Is!“

The love song was later recorded as a famous cover version by James Taylor in 1975.

Abraham, Martin and John

Originally by Dion, this song was a tribute to four iconic Americans who were assassinated: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

Marvin Gaye covered the song in 1970, and was one of his first experiments in socially-conscious music, a year before his What’s Going On? album. It reached the top 10 in the UK.

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

Taken from his iconic What’s Going On? album, this song is one of music’s most poignant anthems regarding the environment.

It was a million-seller, and was later covered by Robert Palmer in 1990 as part of a medley with Gaye’s song ‚I Want You‘.

Let’s Get It On

This was the song that saw Marvin Gaye become a sex symbol for the rest of his life. How could it not?

The title track of his 1973 album, it became Marvin’s biggest hit and one of his singature songs.

Co-written with Ed Townsend, it was originally conceived as a religious song after Townsend had recently finished rehab, before Gaye transformed it into an emotional plea about love and sexual liberation.

What’s Going On?

This song was co-written by Renaldo ‚Obie‘ Benson, Al Cleveland, and Marvin Gaye, and produced by Gaye himself.

It marked Gaye’s departure from the Motown Sound of his previous output, towards more personal material.

Read more: The Story of… ‚What’s Going On?‘

It was inspired by the many racial injustices of the 1960s that had spilled over into the 1970s. Gaye asked himself: „‚With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?'“

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

The Miracles first recorded ‚I Heard it Through the Grapevine‘, and it was first a hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips.

However, it is Marvin Gaye’s version from 1968 that became the most iconic, despite the fact that Motown chief Berry Gordy was not convinced it would be a hit at first.

Read more: Marvin Gaye’s isolated vocals from ‚I Heard it Through the Grapevine‘ will give you tingles

It became a hit for a second time in 1985, after its use in the iconic Levi’s advert featuring a certain Nick Kamen at a laundrette.

MARVIN GAYE HAD A BABY WITH THE UNDERAGED NIECE OF HIS THEN-WIFE, ANNA GORDY?

It has been revealed, in the aforementioned biographies, that the REAL mother of Marvin Gaye III is actually Denise Gordy, 67 (pictured below), the niece of Berry Gordy and Marvin II’s then-wife, Anna Gordy. Denise was 15 years old at the time of Marvin III’s birth in 1965, which means that Marvin risked being jailed for statutory rape had anyone found out. Now let’s not forget that Marvin Gaye did publicly date his then-girlfriend (who eventually became his wife), Janis Gaye when Janis was 17 and he was 34, so being with a not-yet-legal young lady wasn’t foreign territory for him back then. But again, celebrities, like Marvin and Anna, aren’t perfect, they’re simply perfectly flawed human beings, moving on…

It was also reported that the whole thing was arranged and that Anna and Marvin were both on board, because Anna (who was 17 years older than Marvin) reportedly couldn’t conceive at that time.

According to the biographies, Anna (pictured above with Marvin III) and Marvin faked Anna’s pregnancy for the media and claimed that she’d given birth to Marvin III. But it was Marvin Gaye who revealed in his biography “Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye” to author, David Ritz, that Marvin III was really adopted. The book released in 1985, a year after Marvin’s death and according to several reports, that’s when Marvin III learned his true identity.

BUT THERE’S MORE! WAIT TIL U SEE WHO MARVIN III’S FAMOUS SISTER AND IN LAWS REALLY ARE >>>

Empfehlung der Redaktion

Nach seiner Rückkehr in die USA begab sich Gaye, der das Touren eigentlich nicht mochte, auf die Reise um sein Album zu promoten. Um dem Druck standzuhalten griff er wieder zu Kokain. Sein Gemütszustand zerrüttete zusehends, Gaye fühlte sich verfolgt.

Empfehlung der Redaktion

Am 1. April eskalierte ein Streit um ein Versicherungs-Dokument. Erst kam es zu Handgreiflichkeiten, dann schoss der Vater seinem Sohn mit einer Pistole in die Brust, einer Smith & Wesson, die Marvin ihm zu Weihnachten geschenkt hatte.

Als die Polizei 20 Minuten später am Tatort eintraf, war Marvin Gaye bereits tot. Am nächsten Tag hätte er seinen 45. Geburtstag gefeiert.

Marvin Gaye Publicly Confessed Very Surprising Fact About His Sexuality Most Never Knew

We’re gonna put this out there before we even get into this story: Here at ILOSM, we do not care if a person is gay, straight, bisexual, purple, has three eyes and a kick stand for a leg. To us, people are people and it is the content of a person’s character that we prefer to judge one by. We salute the late, great Marvin Gaye for standing in his truth and letting the world know what you are about to read. We think that a story like this gives many lessons in tolerance and understanding. With that said, let’s get into the sexual revelation Marvin Gaye revealed to his autobiographer, David Ritz, in Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye…

Star athlete and now transgender, Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), wasn’t the only famous ‘straight’ male cross-dresser, so was our beloved Marvin Gaye. Marvin was not gay, but he publicly revealed the following cross dressing revelation himself, although many people missed it back in the 1982, Marvin Gaye revealed this in his autobiography:

As you can see, Marvin had some internal struggles that were implanted in him without his consent- whether it was a genetic inheritance from his father, or a learned set of behaviors from his father- it doesn’t sound like Marvin actually wanted it. Nevertheless, he dealt with it the best way that he knew how and truth be told, Marvin Gaye, the icon, became one of the bravest artists in entertainment.

Regardless of how anyone may have judged him about this revelation of being a cross dresser, he proved to have the courage of 1000 lions, by publicly disclosing such personal information.

He was Marvin Gaye- the man who women all over the world were going crazy over, the man whom guys looked up to for his swag, and the artist whose classic hits soul music lovers couldn’t get enough of. To risk all of that, is a display of bravery beyond what many could ever imagine. Job well done Marvin Gaye, your days of ‘running’ were over a very long time ago.

Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Few figures in American music in the 20th century can compare to Marvin Gaye. As a singer, he was without peer, possessing a silky voice that could sound either angelic or seductive or, on his biggest hit „I Heard It Through the Grapevine,“ positively haunted. As a songwriter, he was equally skilled at writing with an eye for the charts and mining the depths of his heart, a combination that created many of the enduring classics of his era: „Hitch Hike,“ „Dancing in the Street,“ „Pride and Joy,“ „What’s Going On,“ „Let’s Get It On,“ „Got to Give It Up,“ and „Sexual Healing.“ That list also shows how the entire history of postwar R&B can be seen through the career of Marvin Gaye. He harnessed gospel and cabaret to create the exuberant uptown sound of Motown in the early ’60s, but he changed with his turbulent times, pushing pop-R&B into the realms of soul by the end of the decade. As the 1970s dawned, Gaye grappled with social protest on What’s Going On, the 1971 album that found the singer/songwriter charting his own idiosyncratic course. From that point, Gaye delved into funk, blaxploitation, and disco, eventually settling into the smooth environs of quiet storm. Throughout this period, Gaye battled personal demons, often creating powerful art through his struggles, but they caught up with him tragically in 1984, when he was murdered by his father. Gaye’s legacy resonated over the decades — he was a touchstone for soul and pop music that was either sensual or political — but his early death leaves hanging the question of what he could’ve achieved if he were alive. During his two decades as a recording artist, he already accomplished more than most artists do in a lifetime.

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. was born on April 2, 1939, in Washington, D.C., the second child of Reverend Marvin Gay and Alberta Gay. A minister in the House of God, Reverend Marvin Gay ran a strict household and his son — who would add an „e“ to his surname when he signed to Motown/Tamla, partially in tribute to his idol Sam Cooke — sought refuge in music. Marvin Gaye sang in his father’s church at the age of three and quickly rose through its ranks as a soloist. Soon, he also learned piano and drums.

Following his high school graduation, Gaye enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Once his service concluded, he returned to Washington, immersing himself in the city’s doo wop scene. He became part of the Rainbows, who were taken under the wing of Bo Diddley, an association that led them to OKeh after he couldn’t convince his label Chess to sign the group. The Rainbows became the Marquees and they recorded „Hey Little School Girl“/“Wyatt Earp“ with Diddley, but the 45 didn’t go anywhere. Not long afterward, R&B impresario the Marquees as his backing group, changing their name to the New Moonglows. The group relocated to Fuqua’s hometown of Chicago and recorded a handful of sides for Chess, all billed as Harvey Fuqua and the Moonglows. Notable among these was 1959’s „Mama Loocie,“ the first song to feature Gaye singing lead.

The Moonglows split in 1960, and Fuqua to Detroit, working with Tri-Phi Records as a house musician. At the end of the year, Berry Gordy, who negotiated a deal with Fuqua for Gaye to sign to the Motown subsidiary Tamla.

Initially, Gaye planned to be a supper-club singer specializing in standards and jazz, but Gordy wanted him to aim toward a younger audience. The duo compromised. His 1961 debut single, „Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide,“ satisfied Gordy’s needs, while the full-length The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye skewed toward the singer’s preferences. Over the next few years, there was tension between Gaye’s conception of himself as a singer and Motown/Tamla’s musical direction, and the vocalist slowly gravitated in Gordy’s direction. During this transition, Gaye earned money by playing sessions as a drummer, which led to him penning original songs. He scored his first hit as a songwriter when the Marvelettes took „Beechwood 4-5789“ into the Billboard Top 20 — and the R&B Top Ten — in the summer of 1962.

Gaye struck gold himself not much later, when „Stubborn Kind of Fellow“ went to eight on Billboard’s R&B charts. „Hitch Hike“ gave him another R&B hit in 1962, but it was „Pride and Joy“ that brought him into the pop charts, reaching ten in the summer of 1963. After „Can I Get a Witness“ — which went to three R&B, but 22 pop — he placed four hits in the pop 20 during 1964 („You’re a Wonderful One,“ „Try It Baby,“ plus the Mary Wells duets „What’s the Matter with You Baby“ and „Once Upon a Time“), while also scoring a smash as songwriter via the Martha & the Vandellas‘ „Dancing in the Street,“ which he co-wrote with Ivy Jo Hunter and William „Mickey“ Stevenson.

All of this was prelude to „How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You.“ Peaking at six in early 1965, „How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You“ kicked off a year that also found „I’ll Be Doggone“ and „Ain’t That Peculiar“ reaching the pop Top Ten; both reached eight on the pop chart and number one R&B. In comparison, 1966 was relatively quiet for Gaye — while „One More Heartache“ reached number four on the R&B chart, it was his only pop Top 40 hit that year — but 1967 began with the immortal Kim Weston duet „It Takes Two,“ which peaked at 14 pop and four R&B.

Gaye’s partnership with Tammi Terrell was unveiled next via „Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.“ An undisputed classic — it was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame — the song spent three weeks at three on the R&B charts, reaching number 19 pop. Teaming with Terrell was a boon to Gaye’s commercial success. „Ain’t No Mountain High Enough“ was the first of a series of smashes recorded by Gaye & Terrell which were written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. „Your Precious Love“ went to two on R&B and five on pop, followed by „If I Could Build My Whole World Around You“ and the number ones „Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing“ and „You’re All I Need to Get By,“ which both arrived in 1968.

During this flush of success, Terrell suffered from migraine headaches, culminating in an on-stage collapse at an October 14, 1967 concert with Gaye. The two managed to finish some recording sessions — „You’re All I Need to Get By“ dates from these — before her death in 1970. Terrell’s death hard, but he initially worked through the grief, scoring some of his greatest hits along the way. Released at the end of 1968, „I Heard It Through the Grapevine“ spent seven weeks at the top of the pop charts in early 1969, matching that streak on the R&B charts. It was one of his biggest hits, followed by two subsequent smashes: „Too Busy Thinking About My Baby“ and „That’s the Way Love Is,“ both arriving in 1969.

Gaye retreated from the spotlight in the 1970, the result of personal problems and professional disillusionment. He returned in 1971 with „What’s Going On,“ a single where Gaye deliberately embraced progressive politics and expansive music. Motown head Berry Gordy wasn’t eager to embrace this change and refused to release „What’s Going On,“ but after Gaye refused to record any other new material, Gordy relented. „What’s Going On“ reached number one on the R&B charts and two on pop, leading Gaye to record the rest of the album that March. Two further hits followed: „Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)“ and „Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),“ both of which topped the R&B charts and went Top Ten pop.

What’s Going On freed other Motown artists from the label’s tight creative restrictions, but Gaye himself wound up a bit adrift in 1972. He attempted to write further political material, but the resulting „You’re the Man (Part 1)“ stiffed on the pop charts, failing to crack the Top 40 even though it went Top Ten R&B. An attempted album anchored on „You’re the Man“ never materialized — it’d be assembled as an archival release in 2019 — but he did wind up scoring the blaxploitation film Trouble Man, scoring a Top Ten R&B and pop hit with its title track.

Gaye turned explicitly carnal on 1973’s Let’s Get It On. The title track became a smash in the summer of 1973, reaching number one on Billboard’s pop chart — only his second single to reach the pole position on the Hot 100 — and spending six weeks on the top of the R&B charts. Diana & Marvin, a duet album with Diana Ross, followed, featuring the hit „You’re a Special Part of Me,“ but Let’s Get It On kept spinning out hits, with „Come Get to This“ reaching three on the R&B charts and „You Sure Love to Ball“ getting to 13 the next year. In 1974, he released Marvin Gaye Live! as he worked on his next album, I Want You.

Released in 1976, I Want You had an R&B number one in its title track (15 pop), followed by „After the Dance“ (14 R&B). That same year, Anna Gordy was finalized. As part of the settlement, Gaye agreed to record a new album whose royalties would cover missed alimony payments. As he worked on the record, Motown released Live at the London Palladium, which featured the single „Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1.“ A massive smash, reaching number one on both pop and R&B charts, „Got to Give It Up“ was Gaye’s biggest hit of the disco era.

Here, My DearGaye’s promised album to his ex-wife Anna, appeared in December 1978. The album not only contained no hits, it seemed designed to do. „A Funky Space Reincarnation (Part 1)“ went to 23 on the R&B charts, but didn’t make the Hot 100. Gaye began work on an album called Lover Man, but once its lead single, „Ego Tripping Out,“ failed to chart, he scrapped the album and relocated to Maui. His stay in Hawaii wasn’t long. In 1981, he fled the United States for Europe, all with the hopes of ditching the IRS. While there, he finished In Our Lifetime, the album that ended his long-standing association with Motown.

Gaye reemerged on Columbia in 1982 with the gorgeous „Sexual Healing.“ Spending ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B charts, the single spent three weeks at three on the pop charts. His star newly ascendant, he patched up his relationship with Motown, appearing on their 25th anniversary special, and he also sang „The Star-Spangled Banner“ at the NBA All-Star Game.

Just when it seemed like a new chapter in Gaye’s life opened, it shut just as quickly. He returned home, deep in the throes of cocaine addiction, and wound up getting into a series of fights with his father. On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gay, Sr. shot and killed his son; Marvin Gaye would’ve turned 45 years old the following day.

A pair of posthumous collections quickly appeared in 1985: Dream of a Lifetime rounded up funkier outtakes from Columbia Records and Motown. Motown released Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye: Never Before Released Masters in 1986, but the bigger project was the 1990 four-disc box The Marvin Gaye Collection. Over the three decades, Motown often repackaged Gaye’s music, sometimes releasing splashy archival packages, such as 1997’s Vulnerable, which revived a ballads album Gaye abandoned in 1977, and 2019’s You’re the Man, which collected the extant 1972 recordings from the singer.

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Janis Hunter was a mother of two in her early 20s when her longtime lover, father of her children and one of the world’s most lusted-after soul singers, Marvin Gaye, suggested an amorous liaison with another couple.

The four had been smoking weed and snorting cocaine when Gaye noticed the pair sizing her up.

“I think they want to take this party to the next phase,” he said. “A small intimate orgy is just what the doctor ordered.”

He didn’t participate but acted as ringleader, urging on the sexual proceedings between his hesitant, eager-to-please girlfriend, 17 years his junior, and the couple they had just met.

After, Gaye projected his joy at the event onto Hunter. He projected something else as well.

“Oh, dear, please don’t deny it. You were an animal in heat. You couldn’t get enough. This was your dream come true.”

The next night, when the other couple returned for more, Gaye’s enthusiasm had become something else. He told Hunter, “You go off with them if you want. I can’t stop you. I won’t try.”

She refused, the couple left and Gaye told her how he really felt about the fantasy that his prodding had made real.

“To watch purity turn to perversity is a fascinating thing,” he told her. “You were once my angel. But now you have fallen. And yes, I do admit, it is exciting to watch you fall.”

“After the Dance,” a memoir by Gaye’s mistress-turned-wife Jan Gaye, written with David Ritz, recalls a love affair propelled by just these sorts of mind games. Marvin Gaye’s immense, undeniable talent for singing and songwriting, and his equally impossible-to-dismiss sex appeal, were accompanied by increasingly heavy drug use — freebasing cocaine eventually did him in — and erratic moods, a constant tug of war between thrills, love, lust and terror.

Janis Hunter met Marvin Gaye when she was 17. Her mother, Barbara, was friends with Ed Townsend, Gaye’s producer, and he brought her to the studio to watch Gaye record.

Hunter recalls her first time seeing Gaye in person.

“His face expressed a gentleness that carried the same promise as [one of his songs]: that life, lifted into melody and framed by harmony, never has to be harsh,” she writes. “His sound erased all pain.”

At the time, Gaye was estranged from his wife, Anna Gordy, sister of Motown impresario Berry Gordy. Motown was Gaye’s record label, and both Gordys had played an outsized role in Gaye’s career. The divorce from Anna, with whom he had a son, would get ugly in the years to come.

Mutually enamored, Gaye brought Hunter to an Italian restaurant in Hollywood, where he bribed the waiter $20 to bring his underage date apricot sours.

Soon after, they made love for the first time in Gaye’s sparse one-bedroom apartment, which had a “hideous gold couch” where Gaye’s assistant, a junkie named Abe, had taken up residence.

But any surprise at his living conditions was quickly overshadowed.

“The explosive power of our sexual union was incredible,” she writes. “We made love at every opportunity, night and day. We knew every inch of each other’s bodies. We never used birth control. It was clear that Marvin wanted me pregnant — and I did nothing to prevent that.”

Soon, Hunter began to see how Gaye thrived on the emotional turmoil of those around him and learned the depth of his jealousy and possessiveness.

He tried to convince her to quit school so they could spend their days together and offered to be her educator instead.

“I can teach you everything you need to know,” he said. “I’ll be a far more loving and patient teacher than whomever the school provides.”

“I don’t want to share you,” he said. “There are all those strapping young high-school football players looking to love on you. They’re my competitors.”

One day, he picked her up from school and said he needed to make a stop. He was taking her to pick up his son — at Gordy’s house.

He went inside to get the boy, and Hunter, frightened, waited in the car. Anna Gordy came outside to see the pretty young girl her husband was ditching her for.

“Anna was scary,” Hunter writes. “Her eyes burned with anger. Her eyes focused on me.”

Gordy “ordered” Hunter to roll down her window. She opened it just an inch.

“I just want to see what someone like you looks like,” Gordy told her, before turning to address Gaye. “Now that I’ve seen it,” she told him, “don’t ever bring it back here again.”

Hunter found herself pregnant soon after and noticed a troubling tendency in Gaye. Expressing his joy at the news, he told her, “A son. We will have a son.” Anytime they discussed their child, Gaye referred to him as a boy, and expressed a preference for such. When she mentioned the possibility of a daughter, he said, with a forced smile, “We’ll see.”

Hunter suffered a miscarriage, and Gaye consoled her by telling her, “God gives and God takes away. We praise him for his goodness and trust that next time he will bless us with a healthy boy.”

Their first child was born in September 1974 — a girl named Nona. Hunter’s first words to Gaye upon his seeing the child were, “I’m sorry.”

Gaye complimented Nona’s beauty and compared it to Hunter’s, but Hunter saw the disappointment in his eyes. Instead of joy at the birth of her first child, she spent days in tears, upset that she had disappointed the man she loved.

But if Gaye grew quickly accepting of his daughter, his attitude toward Hunter — specifically her new, just-gave-birth body — changed.

Appraising her stretch marks, he said, “Surely there is a way to rid yourself of those things.”

PBSThe couple did have a son, Frankie, a little over a year later. Gaye got over his body hangups (for a while), and they settled into family life, spending their days high on coke and pot as Gaye wrote and produced new music.

George Clinton and Bernie Worrell would often drop by to shoot hoops and drop acid with Gaye. The couple were invited to watch Ike Turner in the studio, where he “carried around his coke supply in a suitcase.”

They also partied with Richard Pryor, who invited them one night “to watch bikini-clad dancers having sex with each other.”

“The evening was uncomfortable for me, but I went along with the program,” writes Hunter.

Another night at Pryor’s, the comedian “got so coked up that he hit his wife over the head with a wine bottle and called everyone at the table ‘a f—in’ whore’ except me. Marvin laughed and said I should be flattered.”

Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall invited them to Studio 54, and after meeting Ryan O’Neal at a popular LA eatery, Hunter was dismayed to find the “Love Story” actor, who was standing behind her, making an awkward and unwanted connection.

“He made his move with great subtlety, but there was no mistaking the feel of his penis against my neck,” she writes. “As he spoke with Marvin, he kept pressing ever so slightly. I didn’t know what to do or say. So I did nothing.”

She didn’t tell Gaye for fear of starting a fight, but in time, she learned the effect may have been opposite. Gaye developed a habit of steering Hunter toward other men, whether out of some perverse masochism or genuine delight.

Noting a chemistry between Hunter and Maze singer Frankie Beverly, Gaye did everything he could to set up an illicit liaison between the two. When Beverly came for a visit, Gaye not only booked him a room at a local motel but booked the adjoining room for Hunter, saying he needed her out of the house so he could focus on music.

As Hunter and Beverly smoked a joint in Hunter’s hotel room, well aware of the awkwardness, there was a loud bang at the door. It was Gaye, seemingly hoping to catch them in the act. Beverly crawled back to his room on his hands and knees, and Gaye found Hunter alone.

After a long, ugly and expensive legal battle, Gaye was finally divorced from Anna Gordy, and married Hunter — now Jan Gaye — in October 1977. Soon after, he was once again telling her that he loved her but was not in love with her. Jan came to wonder if Gaye saw any commitment as “a prison.”

Gaye — now almost 40 — complained to his 22-year-old wife about her sagging breasts and her stretch marks, explaining, “There’s a big difference between pleasure and excitement. As a man, I can’t help but seek excitement.”

“I was barely 22,” she writes, “yet was convinced that I had lost my youth forever.”

They had vicious fights, including one time when Gaye, behind the wheel with both kids in the car, began to swerve and threatened to “drive this thing off the road!”

Soon after, Gaye left Jan and the kids behind on a planned trip to Hawaii with his family, beginning a pattern that would repeat over the years of Gaye leaving LA and his family behind, only to implore them to join him once at his destination.

In time, torn by Gaye’s cruel treatment, Jan slept with Beverly and also hooked up with Teddy Pendergrass, Gaye’s main musical rival.

Gaye’s jealousy turned violent. One day, high on a blend of psychedelic mushrooms and cocaine, he started to talk about Jan’s betrayals and became “enraged.”

“He took a kitchen knife and put it to my throat,” she writes. “I was petrified, paralyzed. I thought it was all over.”

Gaye told her, “I’ve loved you too much. This love is killing me. I beg you to provoke me. Provoke me right now so I can take us both out of our misery.”

Gaye’s rage subsided before he could do physical harm, but for Jan, this was the final straw. She took the kids and fled.

Courtesy of Jan Gaye The next five years saw Gaye, Jan and their children embroiled in nasty back-and-forth battles, including, after Jan brought the kids to see Gaye in Hawaii, his refusing to let Frankie leave, causing Jan to not see her son for over a year.

Gaye, out of his mind on cocaine, would tell Jan that the “end days” were approaching or accuse her of sending her father or gang members to try to kill him.

Financially broken from battles with Anna and the IRS, he wound up living with his young son in “an abandoned Helms Bakery truck.”

Jan, now working odd jobs and couch-hopping with her daughter, filed for divorce in 1982. Gaye, destitute, paid no child support.

Gaye was shot to death in a brutal fight with his father on April 1, 1984.

Jan writes that it took her years to forgive herself for her own role in the insanity her life had become, but in time she learned to feel “more deeply for Marvin than ever before.”

“That I lost myself in someone else — someone as remarkable as Marvin Gaye — is no longer cause for self-condemnation.”

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Anna Gordy Gaye, older sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy and ex-wife of Marvin Gaye, died today at age 92, a Motown representative confirmed.

Gordy Gaye played a key role in Marvin Gaye’s life, both personally and professionally. The pair met during a performance at Berry Gordy’s house in 1960 and married three years later. Early in his career, Gaye worked as a drummer for Anna Records, a record label founded by Anna and her sister Gwen with songwriter Roquel “Billy” Davis. His early singles “Pride and Joy” and “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” were dedicated to Anna.

Gordy Gaye herself cowrote three of Marvin’s songs:  “God Is Love” and “Flyin’ High (In the Friendly Sky)” from 1971’s landmark album What’s Going On and “Just to Keep You Satisfied” from 1973’s Let’s Get It On.

Gordy Gaye’s marriage to Marvin was one of the most turbulent in music, marked by frequent fighting and infidelity. (Gaye fell in love with 17-year-old Janis Hunter during the recording of Let’s Get It On). When Anna filed for divorce in 1975, the proceedings lasted more than two years before the marriage was officially dissolved.

“The marriage was troubled from the start,” Marvin told biographer David Ritz. “There was tremendous love between us, and tremendous need for one another. But I couldn’t be controlled – not by a wife, not by a manager, not by a record company. I was born a ram and a rebel.”

The divorce became the cornerstone to one of the stranger creation backstories in music.  With little cash to pay for back taxes and Anna’s divorce settlement, Gaye agreed to pay Anna $600,000, with the first $307,000 coming from an advance against royalties off his next album and the remaining $293,000 to be paid from any future royalties. Gaye began work on Here, My Dear, a brutally honest autobiographical account of his relationship with Anna; its titles –”When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You,” “You Can Leave, But It’s Going to Cost You” – exemplified the album’s personal themes. Here, My Dear told specific stories about the duo’s past, causing Anna to consider a $5 million invasion-of-privacy suit against Gaye.

“I figured I’d just do a quickie record – nothing heavy, nothing even good,” Marvin told Ritz. “Why should I break my neck when Anna was going to wind up with the money anyway? But the more I lived with the notion of doing an album for Anna, the more it fascinated me. Besides, I owed the public my best effort. Finally, I did the record out of deep passion. It became a compulsion.”

Critically maligned upon its 1978 release (disco fans did not want to hear a double-album about breakups and heartache), Here, My Dear has since became an essential album in Gaye’s catalog and is often cited as one of his best works. Gordy Gaye and Gaye reconciled in the early 1980s, with Anna by Marvin’s side at the 1983 Grammy Awards. She later accepted his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“My sister Anna was the glamour girl of the family,” said Berry Gordy. “She was beautiful, sexy, playful, lovely. Men loved her, but she lived for her family, especially her younger brothers of which, I was lucky enough to be one. She backed me up on everything I tried to do and gave me the confidence to be what I wanted to be. I will miss her so dearly. What I’m grateful for most was that she lived to see me reach my goals and shared them all with me in happiness and joy.”

Anna Gordy Gaye is survived by her brothers, Berry and Robert, her son, Marvin Gaye III, and two grandsons, Marvin IV and Dillon.

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