About Ray Charles’ Ex-Wife, Della Beatrice Howard Robinson Bio

March 22, 2024
4 mins read

Who is Della Beatrice Howard Robinson?

Della was born in the USA in 1929, but her exact date and place of birth haven’t been disclosed. She’s probably only known for being an ex-wife of the late American singer and pianist Ray Charles Robinson Sr.

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Education and early life

Della was raised in the USA by her parents, about whom not a lot is known because Della prefers to maintain their privacy, but it’s believed that her father was a wealthy businessman, and that her mother was a housewife. Apparently she’s an only child, mostly because Della hasn’t spoken about having siblings.

She had a rather normal childhood, and studied at a local high school in her hometown. Della spent most of her spare time at home, helping her mother around the house, while she also enjoyed playing outdoors with her peers. She matriculated in 1947, and although she hasn’t spoken about her further education, many people believe that Della attended college, and that she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1951.

Della’s career

Della hasn’t shared many details with the public concerning her career, and it’s believed that she focused on being a housewife and raising her children, after she exchanged vows with Ray.


Love life and marriage with Ray Charles

Della and Ray met in Texas in 1954, and were together for around a year prior to marrying on 5 April 1955, in a small and private ceremony; Ray had previously been married to Eileen Williams, from 31 July 1951 to April 1952.

On 25 May 1955, Della gave birth to their first son Ray Charles Robinson Jr, and their second son David Robinson followed in 1958; Della and Ray’s third son Reverend Robert Robinson was born in 1960. The family lived in View Park, California and during one of his interviews, Ray shared that it was his heroin addiction and infidelity that led to his and Della’s divorce in 1977.

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Della hasn’t spoken about the men whom she’s been with since, while it’s known that Ray had a six years long affair with American blues singer Marjorie ‘Margie’ Hendrix, while still married to Della, and that she gave birth to their son Charles Wayne in 1959. He then had a two-year-long affair with Mae Mosley Lyles, who gave birth to their daughter Renee in 1961. Ray’s daughter Sheila Raye Charles was born in 1963 – her mother is Sandra Jean Betts. In 1967, French girl Arlette Kotchounian gave birth to her and Ray’s child.

Della seems to be unattached as of November 2022 – she was married to Ray Charles, and has three children with him.


Height, eyes and wealth

Della’s either 92 or 93 years old. She has brown eyes and brown and gray hair, weighs around 120lbs (60kgs) and is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall.

Della’s net worth has been estimated at over $15 million as of November 2022, nearly all of which she received as a divorce settlement; Ray Charles net worth was estimated at over $75 million at the time of his death.

Who was her husband Ray?

American singer-songwriter and pianist Ray Charles Robinson Sr. was born in Albany, Georgia USA on 23 September 1930, meaning that his zodiac sign was Libra. He’s rated one of the most influential singers in history – it was Ray who started the soul music genre in the ‘50s, with his combining of gospel, rhythm and blues and jazz music.


He was raised in Albany by his mother Aretha Robinson (nee Williams) who was a laundress, and father Bailey Robinson who was a laborer; Bailey eventually abandoned the family, and Ray had a half-brother George, but the identity of the boy’s father remains a mystery. George accidentally drowned when he was four.

Ray was three when Wylie Pitman began teaching him to play the piano at his Pitman’s Red Wing Café, and was seven when he became blind, caused by glaucoma. He went on to attend the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and still continued to play the piano, learning to play classical music of Beethoven, Mozart and Bach; his mother died in 1945, and following her funeral, Ray chose to stop going to school.


He then lived with his mother’s old friend Charles Wayne Powell in Jacksonville, Florida, who Charles helped Ray find work; he played the piano for the bands which performed at the Ritz Theatre, and aged 16 moved to Orlando, Florida, but where he lived in poverty. After a couple of months, Ray moved to Tampa, and then to Seattle, Washington State in March 1948, where he found the McSon Trio together with Gossie McKee and Milton Garred – their first hit was their 1949 song “Confession Blues”. Ray moved to Los Angeles, California in 1950 and released two hit songs “Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand” and “Kissa Me Baby” in 1951 and 1952 respectively.


He signed a contract with Atlantic Records in 1952, and gained recognition in 1954, when his hit single “I’ve Got a Woman” peaked at #2 on the Billboard R&B Chart. Ray’s contract expired in 1959, and he then signed with ABC-Paramount; his 1961 song “Hit the Road Jack” topped the charts in the US, and won him a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. He then released two albums in 1962: “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” and “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2”.

Due to his addiction to heroin, in 1964 Ray agreed to enter a rehabilitation program.


Rock ‘n’ roll and R&B music took over the US in the ‘70s, and Ray’s success declined. He signed a contract with Columbia Records in 1983, and was amongst the singers featured in the 1985 hit song “We Are the World”. His album “Would You Believe” was released in 1991, and Ray was rather inactive in the music industry in the following 12 years.

He died on 10 June 2004, aged 73, following complications caused by liver failure.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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