Willie Nelson’s ex found out he was cheating from his secret baby’s hospital bill

Willie Nelson turned 90 on April 29, but for some reason the CBS tribute concert Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday Celebration didn’t air until December 17. Methinks whoever did the scheduling may be as big a fan of Marijane as the birthday boy himself. But wait, there’s more! In addition to the special on CBS, fellow corporate-family-member Paramount+ just released Willie Nelson & Family, all four episodes now streaming. Touted as “the first authorized work,” the series really doesn’t shy away from any aspect of Willie’s family life. And some of it is downright Real Housewife material. Case in point: his second wife Shirley discovered Willie was cheating when a hospital bill arrived for Willie and his girlfriend Connie (who would later become his third wife) after the birth of their secret baby. Like I said, Housewife territory.

“Shirley wanted to know who in the hell was Connie Nelson. The truth is, Connie had been my girlfriend for several years before becoming pregnant.”

Lana Nelson, Willie’s daughter with first wife Martha, adds:

“She had no idea there was a Connie. She had no idea there was a baby until she got the hospital bill. That’s how she found out about Connie. That’s how I found out about Connie!”

And later Willie chimes in:

“I’ve always said there’s no such thing as a former wife. Once in your life, a wife never leaves. I regret the pain I caused Connie, and Martha, and Shirley before her. I have no excuses. I’d be hard-pressed to define love. I know God’s love is pure, but worldly love is flawed love, and lots of times confused love. When it came to romance, I had a gift for complicating things.”

[From Pajiba]

No Willie, no! That is messy, there’s just no getting around it. Even if you’re a Willie fan, which I am! But no, he really f–ked, up or excuse me, “complicated things” in ways that were obviously headed towards combustion. You can’t be that stoned all the time and successfully maintain multiple families. The only good spin I can think of is to say I’m glad he didn’t insist on glossing over his unsavory moments. At least — and yes I know it is the very least — he’s owning up to the truthful story, warts and all. While he was most definitely in the wrong, I find myself reluctant to rag on Willie much further. Why, because he’s 90? Because of the gentle timbre of his voice? Or maybe it’s the braids that are disarming. Whatever it is, Willie, I trust you’ve learned valuable lessons on love and relationships in your time, even if the hard way. And I’d also expect a call soon from Andy Cohen wanting to book your next TV series.

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Photos credit: Michael Putland / Avalon, Chris Casella / Avalon, Getty and via Instagram

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40 Responses to “Willie Nelson’s ex found out he was cheating from his secret baby’s hospital bill”

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  1. GoldenMom says:

    Wasn’t there a story that his first wife, wildly inappropriately young & Native American (is that right?), found out he was cheating on her and took action. She sewed him up in a bedsheet while he slept and beat him with a bat.

    I KNOW it’s wrong and disturbing but a vicious little voice in my head loves to see a woman (girl in this case) get even in a way that is unmistakeable.

    I’ll see myself out.

    • Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

      The Devil on my shoulder is chuckling too.

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        Never heard that one before, but it seems like there was a lot I didn’t know about Willie.

    • Lisa says:

      I’ll sit with you

    • Giddy says:

      The story I’ve always heard is even better than that. She found out that he was cheating, so when he passed out drunk she sewed him his sheets around him so that he couldn’t escape, and then beat him with a broom handle.

    • GoldenMom says:

      Surely this defined FAFO. DELIGHTED the story is true after all!

      And I’ll buy that first round for my friends in evil…..

    • HeatherC says:

      Not sure of “wildly inappropriate” as she was 16 and he was 19 fresh from discharge from the Air Force and hadn’t even made a record yet, not exactly Jerry Lee Lewis territory (13 to 22 year old) but man I love her chutzpah. I read an article once where she denied the story….she didn’t tie him up/sew him in bedsheets….she tied him with a jump rope THEN beat him. Either way he FAFO, though no lessons were learned

    • what's inside says:

      I heard that same story decades ago. He was drunk and abusive and she had had enough.

  2. Lizzie Bathory says:

    It’s the braids lol. No, I think Willie’s sense of authenticity is pretty disarming, even when he’s admitting to bad behavior. I’m always intrigued by people who have multiple families. It’s a huge emotional/psychological/financial burden that most people never undertake for those very reasons.

  3. Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

    Never been a Willie Nelson fan, not a fan of country music at all so I’m not conflicted about his bad behavior and it was bad, not “complicated”, just bad.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      I ❤️ his music…and at THIS stage of the game regarding humanity…I TOO am not conflicted by his GROSS behavior😠

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      The only thing I like about Willie is he wrote the Patsy Cline song Crazy. But yeah, as a person, he sounds pretty garbage.

  4. Oswin says:

    Yet again a man gets a pass on being a horrible partner, because people like him. Complicated? Messy? No, just a shitty partner being a shitty partner. The timbre of his voice and hippie braids don’t give him a pass, nor does his age.

    • JaneS says:

      I’m 62. I knew all these ugly things about Willie, for a long time.
      And yes, PoS is correct.
      I hate how when people reach a certain age, so much sh*tty, cruel behavior gets whitewashed bc “Well, he’s an old man now”
      Nothing funny about how he treated his partners or his kids.
      Stop making excuses or joking about cheating, abuse, drinking to the point that your family goes hungry, etc. No one thing funny about any of it.
      Willie has down played alot of his crap “In my drinking days” Garbage.
      Btw, the wife and the bedsheet story is true and she was 16 at the time. Good for her I say.

      • equality says:

        Dangerous too. It’s the same thinking a lot of people used with Trump, that he is older now and possibly doesn’t grope women anymore.

      • CatMum says:

        if Donald has stopped groping women it’s only because he can barely walk now so it’s easier for them to get away.

    • bisynaptic says:


    • Jaded says:

      Yeah and he was a huge tax dodger for many years. In 1990 he got caught owing almost $17 million and took several years to pay it off. He’s a cheater and not only with women. He doesn’t get a pass.

    • Ameerah M says:


  5. LooneyTunes says:

    What a piece of 💩. There, I said it for you.

  6. Avonan says:

    When the power dynamic in a relationship is so skewed, I think this straying from the family unit often occurs. A mega star like Willie Nelson will feel entitled to do whatever he feels like at the time. Glad at 90 he realizes (and is sorry for) the messes he made. Only the left-behinds can know if this acknowledgment of his sh*tty behavior is enough.

    • Ameerah M says:

      Well he’s shilling something so I’m sure that is playing a big part in his “realizing” his mistakes.

  7. Whyforthelove says:

    I feel like the guy who admitted to smoking pot on the roof of the Whitehouse..well I shouldn’t be this be surprised about his clear lack of respect for…institutions..

  8. JaneS says:

    Tax evasion, anyone? Willie also had the IRS after him for $Millions bc he simply did not file or pay his taxes for years.
    Had the nerve to release an album titled
    “Who will buy my memories?”
    Some fans were sending HIM money.

    • Jaded says:

      I posted the same thing before reading your comment @JaneS — he’s not a likeable person AT ALL and I don’t understand the love he gets. He’s a seasoned cheater and his apologia is too little too late.

  9. Enis says:

    I worked in country music in the 1990s. Knowing what I know about his contemporaries, this isn’t surprising because it was the status quo for most male performers in the 70s-80s. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, of course, but more puts it into the context of all these artists being in an environment where it was accepted or even encouraged to behave like this.

    Willie falls into the area of “complicated” for me. He gave my cousin his first shot as a cinematographer for one of his music videos when he was in school because Willie liked to support the kids at Central Texas College. He helped a ton of family farmers with Farm Aid. But he was also a horrible father and husband.

  10. Slush says:

    At this point, I just assume any famous man is garbage in his personal life. Even those that bang on about how much they love their wives…..I especially side eye them.

  11. Bettyrose says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit I have tix to his upcoming tour. Let’s face it, there’s a real chance the tour won’t happen. But it’s for sure the last, so I took the leap. That’s my policy now. Say yes to the concert because who knows what the future holds.

    • Slush says:

      Don’t be embarrassed. However he’s behaved in his private life, the man is literally a living legend. Its not like he killed someone.

    • JanetDR says:

      I had backstage passes to a concert years ago. Backstage was the bus and he took time to thoughtfully answer questions, etc. with everyone. I have a hot pink bandanna with his signature! 💗
      I’ve never been a huge fan of his music (but very much of his songwriting which sounds contradictory, but not to me). A friend had the tickets and passes and invited me along. I spent most of it contemplating how he channeled the energy of the audience and was just glowing up there. My friend said it was the dope, but I don’t think so!
      His personal life was always a mess. I recall an autobiography, maybe as far back as the 70s? where he told the story about being sewn into the bedsheets and beaten by his wife for cheating. He didn’t hold a grudge about it. I think he has calmed down more recently 🤣
      Enjoy the concert!

    • Bettyrose says:

      Thanks Slush & Janet! I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan but I grew up on his music, so there’s a strong nostalgic component and I can only imagine he’s a true performer that makes every show unique.

  12. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    Ahhhhhhhh Willie.
    True story
    For many years Willie would throw a “picnic” in my corner of Texas. Lots of food, lots of booze, LOTS of the green leaf. Music all day. I went one year with some friends and to our eternal astonishment, Willie was out just wandering around and would stop at various tables, and just visit for a few. He stopped by our table, had a seat across from me, had a drink with us, talked some then left. Very sweet man, gentle and kind.
    His private life was/maybe still is a mess, but at that moment in time it was special. I have seen him about 3 dozen times and even got MerlinsDad hooked

    As an aside, I was born and raised on Willie, but I didn’t appreciate him till much later. I highly recommend Red Headed Stranger and his Stardust albums (showing my age here)

    • TybeeLucille says:

      Love Willie’s music. Wrote a song about after Willie is gone called The Music lives on.

      When I was 20 Linda Rhondstat’s backup vocalist was in hospital so I was honored to get called up for duty. At AIR 4th of July 1983. Backstage area was wild Hank Jr’s bus had clouds of smoke but Willie’s was epic. The Stray Cat’s girlfriends were wearing razor blades dangling from their ears. It was pretty wild.

  13. Gracie says:

    Meh – he’s a human, not all good or all bad. Props for admitting what he did caused hurt. I don’t like that children had to experience it.

  14. Bumblebee says:

    Shirley (2nd wife) had a beginning music career when she met Willie. He convinced her to quit her dreams, stop traveling, marry him, and stay in one place, to take care of his 3 young children from his first marriage. Years later she found the hospital bill. Not a nice guy.

  15. Jayna says:

    Why are people surprised? Musicians are out on the road for a good portion of the year. Partying, alcohol, drugs, and groupies were the norm. Most back then in their earlier heyday cheated a lot. The same goes for younger guys in professional sports. The same goes for actors.

  16. Veronica S. says:

    My coworker can one-up this story: she got to find out her husband cheated when he took her to visit a “coworker” who had just had a baby. Everything was very weird and stilted, and she couldn’t figure out what was going on, only to have it hit her in the car in the way home that her husband just took her to see his mistress and his new child lol.

    To this day, that remains the height of audacious narcissism I’ve heard from a partner.

  17. samipup says:

    Bobby Lee Nelson, Willie’s sister was his piano player until 91 when she died. She forged a hard won battle as a woman entertainer. She had a hard life and a breakdown.She faced predudice and and misplaced morals. She risked losing her children for the ‘immoral’ behavior of playing in bars with her brother and the rest of the band. To get her kids back, she fulfilled her musical yearning playing Bible music in churches, honing her craft. The Piano and boogie woogie you hear in many of his songs is Bobbie Lee. I wished I knew of her when I went to see Willie in Bangor, Maine years ago. I did get the charm of him directing a wink towards me as I stood in front to catch a photo. I too have tickets to this tour. I was too late for Jerry. Don’t want to miss Willie.

  18. Ivan says:

    Whadda story! Well written! Thank u!