If Marvin Gaye III’s relationship with his dad had been a TV show, it would’ve been The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. “He was not only a great dad all the way around — he was my best friend,” Marvin III exclusively tells Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “I was always happy to see him, but at the same time, I was always looking forward to our next adventure.”
Marvin’s millions of fans loved him just as much, and now they can celebrate the long delayed release of his lost album, You’re the Man. It was recorded shortly after his 1971 classic “What’s Goin’ On” but was shelved for political reasons. “He put his heart, soul and mind into his writings and recordings,” says Marvin III, 53. “He seriously wanted you to feel everything he was feeling.”
That included the pain he experienced due to his strained relationship with his father, pastor Marvin Gay Sr. “I didn’t understand why my grandfather was the way he was — he was not a fun person to be around,” says Marvin III. “It really hurt my dad for them to interact the way they did.”
Their conflicts ultimately resulted in tragedy, as Marvin Gay Sr. shot and killed his drug-addled son during a family argument in 1984; Marvin Gaye was 44. Marvin Sr. pleaded self-defense and was convicted of manslaughter, telling the court during sentencing, “If I could bring him back, I would.”
Marvin III (whose birth mother is Denise Gordy, the niece of Motown founder Berry Gordy) says he chooses to focus on his dad’s “happiest times. Everybody used to come over to the house on weekends and barbecue and play basketball.”
Marvin had two more children — daughter Nona and son Frankie — with his second and last wife, Jan Gaye. “We used to take the kids on the road with us, and he loved that,” Jan tells Closer. “He loved making them laugh and laughing at their corny jokes. He was a good father who loved his children.”
For more on your favorite stars, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!
Be sure to check out and subscribe to our Classic TV & Film Podcast for interviews with your favorite stars!