Kenny Rogers’ Widow Wanda On Life Without Him: ‘I Miss His Love’

It’s been a little more than three years since Kenny Rogers passed away in March of 2020. The Country Music Hall of Fame member was 81 years old when he died at the home he shared with his wife, Wanda, and twin sons, Justin and Jordan, who were 15 at the time.

While Rogers remains one of the most celebrated and successful country music artists of all time, Wanda says it’s who he was off-stage that she and her boys miss the most.

“You would think Kenny was the most average guy. He was never pretentious, and he sort of taught [the boys] that. He never needed any special attention,” Wanda tells People. “I miss his love, his support. I miss his touch. I miss everything about him. I wish we could have that one last conversation just to say, ‘Are you good? Are you OK?'”

One of her biggest supporters in the years since Rogers passed away is Lionel Richie, a close friend of the singer and actor. Richie has remained active Wanda’s life, as well as Rogers’ children.

“When things are tough, you know who your real friends are. And I think he knew,” Wanda boasts. “[Lionel] is truly Kenny’s brother. He definitely just wants to make sure that I’m always OK and the boys are OK. He just has the biggest heart.”

Wanda admits she often reads her journal entry from the day Rogers passed away, a painful yet also healing reminder for her of his bittersweet final moments.

“I still get choked up reading it, but it does give me happiness that it was a day full of ice cream and movies,” she says. “With him passing away at home, you don’t know how it affects kids. And Justin said the next morning, ‘Mom, one thing about dad passing away at home…’ And I thought, ‘Uh-oh.’ And he said, ‘His sweet spirit will be here forever.’ And I was like, ‘High five to that. Yes, absolutely it will.'”


Wanda has since begun dating again, something Rogers encouraged before he passed away. Although the new relationship doesn’t take away her pain over the loss of her husband, the 56-year-old is grateful to have found love a second time.

“It’s funny because a few of my friends said, ‘I just really feel like Kenny’s a part of this somehow.’ And I know that sounds weird,” Wanda says. “[But] he tells our kids, ‘I’m not your dad. No one will ever take the place of your dad, but I’m here as your friend forever.'”

Wanda is determined to give her sons the best life she can give them, but she is also equally determined to carry on Rogers’ legacy, long after he is gone. She also recently released an album of tracks Rogers recorded between 2008 and 2011, Life Is Like a Song.

“I want to make sure his legacy grows and stays alive,” Wanda maintains. “I think Kenny would be beyond happy and proud of the album. Kenny’s whole thing was he always wanted to say in a song what every man wanted to say and every woman wanted to hear. I think this would fall right into that category.”

Find Life Is Like a Song and all of Rogers’ music at