Music has always been extremely important to Smokey Robinson. After all, it’s what led him to meet his first wife, Claudette Rogers, whom he welcomed two children with. Though his first marriage didn’t work out, the Motown hitmaker did not give up on love. He went on to marry his second wife, Frances Glandney, in 2002.
Smokey, born William Robinson Jr. in 1940, found success early on in his career with Tamla Records, the label that was later renamed Motown. In the late ‘50s, he and a few of his friends founded the Miracles, an influential R&B group. Claudette joined the group in 1957 to take her brother Emerson “Sonny” Rogers’ place after he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
Motown founder Berry Gordy helped launch the group to stardom with the hit song “Shop Around.” During their time with the Miracles, Smokey and Claudette formed a special connection. The pair were married in 1959. They became parents for the first time in 1968 when they welcomed their son, Berry Robinson, named after the record executive who helped them find fame a decade earlier.
In 1971, the couple’s daughter, Tamla Robinson, was born. Her name is a tribute to Motown’s original moniker. Also during their marriage, Smokey fathered a third child from an extramarital affair, son Trey Robinson, which he admitted in his book, Smokey: Inside My Life.
Smokey and Claudette’s divorce was finalized in 1986. The Kennedy Center honoree moved on with Frances, but still kept a cordial relationship with his first love over the years. He is often pictured on his daughter’s Instagram account, hanging out with his kids and grandkids, and spending time with the ones who mean the most to him.
“Smokey and I had a very, very good relationship first and then marriage. And we were great friends,” Claudette told 50Bold.com in February 2020. “Smokey is remarried now, so of course, we can’t have the same kind of friendship we had before. But it’s all OK. We know where we are. You know, he’s a great guy and the father of our children and we have grandchildren as well.”
Keep scrolling to learn more about Smokey’s two marriages.
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