Kenny Rogers was already a big star by the time he first met his future wife Wanda Miller in 1993, and the attention from a globally successful singer-songwriter was only part of what surprised Wanda when they first met.
Wanda, then in her mid-20s, was working as a hostess in an Atlanta restaurant when Rogers walked in for a blind date with another woman. But the singer was instantly smitten with Wanda, and afterward, he called the restaurant and left a message, hoping to get in touch.
In a new interview with People, Wanda admits that she didn't take Rogers' interest in her seriously at first.
"The bartenders always would play jokes on me. They said, 'Oh, Kenny Rogers called back,' and they gave me a note," she remembers. "I balled it up and threw it in a trash can, and they went diving after it. I thought, 'Maybe they're not joking.'"
Still, their relationship seemed improbable — he was 28 years older than she was, and had been married and divorced four times before — so Wanda assumed at first that they'd just be friends.
"It all started out like that, [but] we just became really close and it grew from there," she continues.
The couple married in 1997, and welcomed twin boys, Justin and Jordan, in 2004. They'd been together for nearly 25 years at the time of Rogers' death in March 2020. Since then, Wanda has worked to continue his legacy as well as preserve memories of the star, both for herself and for the legion of fans who love his music. Wanda personally curated the posthumous album Life Is Like a Song, which features tracks Rogers recorded between 2008 and 2011. The album dropped in early June.
"I want to make sure his legacy grows and stays alive. I think Kenny would be beyond happy and proud of the album," she explains. "Kenny's whole thing was, he 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."
PICTURES: See Inside Kenny Rogers' Staggering California Estate
Kenny Rogers developed a taste for fine living early in his success. His ultra-lavish mansion in Bel Air, Calif., an estate called Lionsgate, was opulent even by celebrity standards. The 11-bedroom, 17-bathroom home totals 23,988 square feet of space, and it sits on 1.63 acres of some of the most expensive real estate in California.
The lavish interior includes a master suite that encompasses more than 3,000 square feet, three separate living rooms, seven fireplaces, a billiards room, a formal study, a private 12-seat theater with leather seats, a climate-controlled wine room that opens onto a saltwater pool, three steam showers and a large dry sauna. The property also features an outdoor glass elevator that leads to a large ballroom party space with an attached guest suite and a professional-sized gym.
The exterior of the house is just as lavish, including an outdoor living area with heated floors and a fully equipped bar, a tennis court with stadium lighting and a viewing area, a hot tub and extensive landscaping. Realtor.com
calls Lionsgate the "most prestigious luxury estate" in Bel Air, boasting "possibly the best views in Los Angeles."
According to Business Insider
, Rogers purchased the estate in the 1970s, and he added the lions to the gate and christened the home Lionsgate. He sold it in 1983 for $5.8 million, according to Variety
, and the property most recently sold in 2015 for a staggering $46.25 million.
PICTURES: See Inside Kenny Rogers' Jaw-Dropping Atlanta Mansion
Kenny Rogers' 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom, 6,9991-square-foot mansion in the high-dollar area of Buckhead in Atlanta was absolutely spectacular. Highlights include a striking two-story entryway and sweeping staircase leading to very formal living and dining rooms. There is also a large eat-in kitchen with booth seating, and the great room features a 20-foot ceiling.
Other amenities include a massive upstairs master suite that includes its own fireplace, separate sitting room, luxurious bathroom and a massive walk-in closet. The luxurious home also features guest suites, a screening room, a full-sized bar, a game room and more. Ornate arched doors, oversized windows throughout and stunning trims, light fixtures and ceilings add to the luxurious feel of the stately home, which Rogers listed for $4,495,000 in 2019.
PICTURES: See Inside Kenny Rogers' Palatial Atlanta Estate
Rogers' 13,000-square-foot estate outside of Atlanta featured 6 bedrooms, 8 full and 4 half bathrooms.
The opulent mansion features wrought iron entry gates and a spacious two-story foyer with matching curved staircases, as well as elegant and very formal living and dining rooms. There's an enormous eat-in kitchen with a massive double island, along with 10 fireplaces scattered throughout the residence. The mind-boggling manor also boasts a conservatory, a combination family room and game room with its own full bar and a private movie theater with stadium seating.
The mansion's gigantic master suite comprises two walk-in closets with private dressing rooms, as well as a vast formal bathroom with brass fixtures and marble floors. There's also a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment above the garage, which could serve as extra space for visiting family or live-in staff members.
Rogers purchased the luxurious Mediterranean estate in 2012 for $1.5 million. He sold it for $2.383 million in 2018.
See Inside Kenny Rogers' Staggering California Mansion: