Willie Nelson: Meet His 8 Kids, Including Daughter He Didn’t Know About Until 2012

by Charles Craighill

Over the course of his over 50-year career, Willie Nelson has written about as many songs as anyone known to man. He has also fathered about that many children. From 1960 to now, Willie Nelson has seen twenty-five singles reach number one on Billboard charts. He has produced 69 studio albums along with a plethora of compilation and live albums. He has also written or helped write 337 songs. But perhaps the most impressive statistic is that he did all this while raising eight children. Here’s an introduction to all eight.

The Three Children From Willie Nelson’s First Marriage

From the years of 1952 to 1962, Willie Nelson was married to Martha Matthews. With Matthews, Nelson fathered three children, two girls, and one boy. The oldest daughter, Lana Nelson, often appears on Willie’s social media posts. However, she has also made a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Lana has appeared as an actress and costume designer in several films including “Red Headed Stranger” in 1986 and “King of Luck” in 2011.

Second, came daughter Susie Nelson. She still shares a very close relationship with her father, even sharing a radio show with him. Willie Nelson and Susie can be heard on Willie’s Sirius XM channel, “Willie’s Roadhouse” for “Suzie’s Gospel Hour,” which they co-host together. Suzie also wrote a book back in 1987. The book, titled Heart Warn Memories: A Daughter’s Personal Biography of Willie Nelson, talked about her life and experience as Willie Nelson’s daughter.

The third child of Willie Nelson and Martha Matthews was also Willie’s firstborn son. He took Willie’s name, Willie Hugh Nelson Jr, but went by Billy. Billy recorded a gospel record that included “My Body’s Just a Suitcase for my Soul” which featured his dad. On Christmas day of 1991, Billy tragically committed suicide. He had been married once and had gone through alcohol treatment at one point, but the death took everyone by surprise.

The Drama of His Second Marriage

Willie Nelson certainly lives a free-spirited life. This would never take away his love for his children, however, it sometimes led him to stray from his marriages. For instance, his second marriage to the rockabilly singer Shirley Collie ended prematurely due to a little fooling around. The couple had one child together, Paula Nelson, who works as a disc jockey and artist. She is responsible for recording “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” for HBO’s hit series “Big Little Lies.”

Willie Nelson’s marriage to Shirley Collie ended abruptly in 1971 after Collie discovered that Willie had fathered a child with another woman. That woman, Connie Koepke, ended up being Willie’s third wife, and their child together is named Amy. She also shares her father’s musical talent and sings with him on many occasions. Connie and Willie divorced later in 1988.

The Children of his Final Marriage

After Willie Nelson divorced Connie Koepke, he and Annie D’Angelo began dating. They remain married now and have two boys together, Lukas and Micah. Both Lukas and Micah are also talented musicians like their father.

In fact, Lukas helped write and produce the soundtrack for the movie “A Star is Born” even playing lead guitar for Bradley Cooper’s character. He now leads his own band, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real. Micah Nelson, born in 1990, often plays with his brother and father whether on the road or at home.

The Mystery Child of Willie Nelson

In 2012, Willie Nelson revealed that he had recently found out about yer another daughter that he did not know about. That child also happened to have a child, who then had another child, making Willie a great-grandfather. He had always been a great father, but now he is a great-grandfather.

“I have an old, dear friend Mary Haney, who I’d lost touch with but recently met again after decades,” Willie Nelson said about this discovery. “Turns out Mary and I had a child together called Renee. It also turns out Renee has a daughter, Noelle, who has a daughter, Jordan, who I am happy to now call my great-granddaughter.”

Renee and her family have now become acquainted with the rest of the Willie Nelson gang. “Our only regret is that we didn’t find out about all these female relatives for so long. I consider them as much a part of ­Willie Nelson and Family as I do my other children,” he continued. They ended up all spending Christmas together as one big family that year.