Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Known as the “Empress of Soul”, she is a seven-time Grammy Award winner.
She gained fame through her family group, Gladys Knight & the Pips, which included her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight, and cousins William Guest and Edward Patten.
They recorded hits through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Two of her songs, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia”, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for their “historical, artistic and significant” value. She is also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors.

Basic Information

Full NameGladys Maria Knight
ProfessionSinger, Songwriter, Actress, Businesswoman, Author
NationalityUnited States
Date of Birth28 May, 1944
Current Age79
Place of BirthAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Zodiac SignGemini

Physical Stats

Height5 ft 4 in or 162.5 cm
Weight58 kg or 128 lbs
Body Measurements34-24-35 inches (chest-waist-hips)
Eye ColorDark Brown
Hair ColorBlack
RaceAfrican American
Tattoos on the Body
Shoe Size


Gladys Knight has had several relationships throughout her life. Here are some details about her past and current relationships:

  • James Newman Sr.: Knight married musician James Newman Sr. in 1960. The couple had two children, a son James Jr., and a daughter Kenya. They divorced in 1973.
  • Barry Hankerson: In 1974, Knight married Barry Hankerson, who created Blackground Records, the label that signed his niece, the R&B singer Aaliyah, to a record deal, in Detroit. They had one son, Shanga Hankerson but divorced in 1981.
  • Les Brown: Knight married to author and motivational speaker Les Brown in 1995; that marriage ended in 1997.
  • William McDowell: In April 2001, Knight married William McDowell, a corporate consultant she had reportedly met 10 years earlier but had only begun dating the previous January.

In addition to her relationships, Knight has also struggled with addiction to gambling and candidly describes the ups and downs in her professional and private life in her 1997 autobiography, Between Each Line of Pain and Glory. 
Knight has invested in a number of businesses, including a successful chicken and waffle restaurant chain.

Early life and education

Gladys Knight was born on May 28, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Sarah and Merald Knight Sr.
She began singing in church as a child and gained minor fame at age seven after winning a performance contest on the televised “Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour.”
Knight’s family was part of Atlanta’s growing Black middle class. She attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she studied music for a short time before leaving to pursue her music career.
Knight grew up in Atlanta and attended the local elementary school, where she was a member of the glee club.
By 1957, Gladys Knight and the Pips were touring across the nation on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” performing exclusively for Black audiences in clubs and theaters across the segregated South.


OccupationSinger, Songwriter, Actress, Businesswoman, Author
Years Active1948–present
GenresR&B, Soul, Pop, Gospel
Notable Works“Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For”
AwardsShe is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner and is an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame along with The Pips. She is also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors.
LabelsVee-Jay, Motown, Buddah, Columbia, MCA, Verve
Business Ventures“Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles”
Film and Television Appearances“Pipe Dreams,” “The Jeffersons”

Gladys Knight began her musical career at the age of four with a church recital.
She then toured and sang in southern churches with the Morris Brown College choir, an Atlanta gospel group, from 1950 to 1953.
In 1952, at the age of eight, Knight won a performance contest on the televised “Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour”.
Career in The Pips
In 1953, Knight, her brother Merald Jr., her sister Brenda, and their cousins Eleanor and William Guest formed a musical group called The Pips.
In 1961, the group scored their first rhythm-and-blues (R&B) top twenty hit with “Every Beat of My Heart”.
Gladys Knight & the Pips signed with Motown Records in 1966 and began touring with The Supremes as an opening act.
During its forty-year career, the group attracted worldwide popularity and won numerous awards, including a number-one pop hit with the soul classic “Midnight Train to Georgia” in 1973.
Gladys Knight decided to pursue a solo career in 1989, and the group disbanded upon its conclusion in 1988.
Solo Career
Throughout the 1990s, Knight continued to tour and record successful R&B and gospel music.
In addition to music, Knight established a steady acting career, appearing in many television series and films.
Knight is best known for her Motown and Buddah Records records from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
The people she worked with included her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and cousins William Guest and Edward Patten.
Her singles ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ and ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1989, she recorded the theme tune for the James Bond movie Licence to Kill.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Knight among the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
She is also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors.

Net worth

Net WorthAccording to estimates $28 million, with some sources suggesting it could be as high as $30 million.
Sources of IncomeGladys Knight’s primary source of income is her music career. She has had a successful career spanning over six decades with her family group Gladys Knight & the Pips and as a solo artist. She has also earned income from acting gigs, endorsements, and business ventures. She established the Gladys Knight & Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles franchise, which employs and provides opportunities for underprivileged individuals.
Record LabelShe has been associated with several record labels including Vee-Jay, Motown, Buddah, Columbia, MCA, Verve.

Gladys Knight has a net worth of $28 million to $30 million, according to various sources.
Her net worth comprises all of her assets as well as her current earnings. Knight has earned her wealth through her successful music career, acting, and business ventures, including a chain of chicken and waffle restaurants.
Her primary sources of income are her earnings as a singer-songwriter, actor, and author, and from her business. 
She has also appeared on shows like “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “House of Payne”, and as herself on “Empire”.
In 2018, Knight and her fourth husband, William McDowell, sold their Vegas estate for $720,000.
The six-bedroom home had a professional recording studio as well. They moved to Fairview, North Carolina. Knight and McDowell launched a fundraising campaign for Canton, North Carolina’s then-closed Reynolds Community Center.
Knight also helped her daughter open a bakery in Las Vegas and opened a line of popular chicken and waffle restaurants with another business partner in Atlanta.
Additionally, she runs her own record label.

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