Della Beatrice Howard Robinson

Who is Della Beatrice Howard Robinson? All About Ray Charles’ Wife

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson is the second wife of an American singer, songwriter, and pianist, Ray Charles. Born in 1929 in the small town of Richmond, Texas. Her life intertwined with one of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century, providing steadfast support and resilience through the highs and lows of their tumultuous journey.

Della Beatrice’s role in Ray Charles’ life extends far beyond that of a spouse. She was his anchor, offering unwavering support as he navigated the complexities of fame, addiction, and personal struggles. Her presence was a source of stability for Ray, helping him endure the challenges that came with his burgeoning career in the 1950s and 1960s jazz and blues scene.

The purpose of this blog post is to honor and shed light on the life and legacy of Della Beatrice Howard Robinson, the second wife of legendary musician Ray Charles. Through a detailed exploration of her early life, marriage to Ray Charles, family dynamics, challenges faced, and her post-divorce life, this article aims to showcase her resilience, unwavering support, and significant influence on one of the most iconic figures in music history.

Profile Summary

Full NameDella Beatrice Howard Robinson
Birth Year1929
BirthplaceRichmond, Texas, USA
Known ForBeing the second wife of Ray Charles
Marriage to Ray Charles1955 – 1977
ChildrenRay Charles Robinson Jr., David Robinson, Robert Robinson
Financial StatusEstimated net worth of $15 million

Early Life

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson was born in 1929 in the small town of Richmond, Texas. Growing up in the segregated South during the 1930s and 1940s, Della Beatrice faced numerous societal challenges. Her early years were marked by the values and experiences typical of a modest upbringing in a close-knit community.

Raised in a humble household, Della Beatrice’s family instilled in her a strong sense of resilience and determination. These traits would later become essential as she navigated the complexities of life with Ray Charles. Her upbringing laid the foundation for the strength and perseverance she would exhibit throughout her life.

While specific details about her education remain sparse, it’s clear that her early life experiences shaped her into a woman of strong character. These influences prepared her for the pivotal role she would play in Ray Charles’ life, both personally and professionally.

Journey to Los Angeles

Seeking new opportunities, Della Beatrice moved to Los Angeles, a city known for its vibrant music scene. This move would prove to be a turning point in her life, setting the stage for her eventual meeting with Ray Charles.

In Los Angeles, Della Beatrice immersed herself in the local music culture. It was here, amidst the bustling jazz clubs and burgeoning blues scene, that she would cross paths with the man who would become her husband and one of the most iconic figures in music history.

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Meeting Ray Charles

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson first met Ray Charles in 1954. Their meeting was serendipitous, occurring at a time when Ray was on the cusp of achieving widespread fame. The chemistry between them was undeniable, sparking a relationship that would soon lead to marriage.

Their courtship was characterized by a deep connection and mutual respect. Despite the challenges posed by Ray’s demanding career, their relationship flourished. Della Beatrice’s unwavering support played a crucial role in helping Ray navigate the early stages of his musical journey.

Marriage to Ray Charles

In 1955, Della Beatrice Howard Robinson and Ray Charles were married. Their wedding marked the beginning of a partnership that would endure for over two decades. Despite the challenges they would face, their bond remained strong, rooted in love and mutual respect.

The early years of their marriage were marked by both joy and struggle. As Ray’s career took off, Della Beatrice stood by his side, providing the stability he needed to thrive in the competitive music industry. Her support was instrumental in helping Ray achieve his dreams.

Della Beatrice played a multifaceted role in Ray Charles’ life. She was not only his wife but also his confidante and advisor. Her insights and encouragement helped Ray navigate the ups and downs of his career, making her an indispensable part of his success.

Family Life

Together, Della Beatrice and Ray Charles had three children: Ray Charles Robinson Jr., David Robinson, and Robert Robinson. Their family life was a blend of the extraordinary and the every day, with Della Beatrice providing a nurturing environment for their children amidst the whirlwind of Ray’s career.

Balancing family life with the demands of Ray Charles’ career was no small feat. Della Beatrice managed to maintain a stable home environment, ensuring that their children grew up with a sense of normalcy despite their father’s fame. Her ability to juggle these responsibilities was a testament to her strength and dedication.

Challenges and Struggles

One of the most significant challenges in their marriage was Ray Charles’ struggle with addiction. His battle with heroin addiction put a strain on their relationship, as did his infidelities. Despite these difficulties, Della Beatrice remained a steadfast presence in his life, offering support and understanding.

The impact of Ray’s addiction and infidelity on their marriage was profound. It tested the limits of their bond, creating tension and conflict. However, Della Beatrice’s resilience and commitment to her family helped them navigate these turbulent times, even as they faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The Decision to Divorce

After more than two decades of marriage, the cumulative strain of Ray’s addiction and infidelity took its toll. In 1977, Della Beatrice and Ray Charles decided to divorce. This decision was not made lightly, but Della Beatrice needed to preserve her well-being and the stability of their family.

Following the divorce, Della Beatrice Howard Robinson chose to maintain a low profile. She focused on her personal growth and her role as a mother, ensuring that her children continued to receive the love and support they needed. Her resilience in the face of adversity was truly inspiring.

Life Post-Divorce

After the divorce, Della Beatrice consciously stepped away from the public eye. She valued her privacy and preferred to lead a quiet life, away from the spotlight that had shone so brightly on her during her marriage to Ray Charles. This decision allowed her to heal and rebuild her life on her terms.

Despite the challenges she faced, Della Beatrice remained a devoted mother and grandmother. Her relationship with her children and grandchildren was a source of joy and fulfillment. She continued to provide guidance and support, ensuring that the legacy of love and resilience she had built was passed down to future generations.

Depiction in Popular Culture

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s life and her relationship with Ray Charles were brought to the big screen in the 2004 film “Ray.” The film provided a glimpse into their complex and enduring bond, highlighting her crucial role in Ray’s life and career.

In “Ray,” actress Kerry Washington portrayed Della Beatrice with grace and depth. Her performance captured the essence of Della Beatrice’s strength and resilience, bringing to life the woman who stood by Ray Charles through thick and thin. Washington’s portrayal was widely praised for its authenticity and emotional impact.

Legacy and Influence

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s influence on Ray Charles’ success cannot be overstated. Her unwavering support and encouragement were instrumental in helping him achieve his musical dreams. She provided the stability and love he needed to navigate the challenges of his career, making her an integral part of his legacy.

Beyond her role as his wife, Della Beatrice’s influence extended to Ray’s music and personal life. Her presence was a source of inspiration and strength, helping him overcome his struggles and reach new heights in his career. Her impact on his life and music is a testament to the power of love and resilience.

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson Net Worth

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s financial status has been a topic of speculation, particularly following her divorce from Ray Charles. It is widely believed that Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s net worth is approximately $15 million. This figure likely reflects the financial settlements she received post-divorce, as well as any assets and investments she may have accrued over the years.

The financial settlements post-divorce ensured that Della Beatrice could maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Despite the end of their marriage, Ray Charles valued and respected her contributions to his life, which was reflected in the substantial support she received. This financial security allowed her to focus on her personal growth and the well-being of her children.


Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s life is a testament to resilience, strength, and unwavering support. From her early years in Richmond, Texas, to her pivotal role in Ray Charles’ life and career, she demonstrated an extraordinary ability to navigate the challenges and triumphs that came her way.

Her impact on Ray Charles and music history is profound. As his wife, confidante, and supporter, she helped shape the legacy of one of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century. Her story is a reminder of the powerful influence that love and support can have in the face of adversity, making her a significant figure in the annals of music history.

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