Obituary: Anna Gordy Gaye, 92, first wife of soul great Marvin Gaye and sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, has died. Although she and Marvin didn't stay married, she played a major role in the launching of his career.
Interesting she was considerably older, some 17 years older, than Marvin, who was born in 1939. Such huge age differences weren't common then among older women and younger men and aren't common today. They had dated for two years before marrying.
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."
She never remarried after divorcing Gaye. He did, and to a woman who was 17 years HIS junior. His second marriage went into the ditch as well. However, Anna and Marvin did eventually become close friends once again, and rumors surfaced they were going to remarry in the early 1980s. Of course it never happened.