15 July, 2012
Reporter: Alex Cullen
Producers: Dale Paget and Erin Reimer
Country music legend Kenny Rogers doesn’t drink and has never done drugs, but he does have one vice.
Lucky in life but not lucky in women, Rogers has been married five times.
His divorce from wife number four - actress Marriane Gordan in 1993 - was also one of showbiz’s most expensive at $60 million.
For the last 15 years Kenny’s been married to his fifth wife, Wanda.
Twenty-eight years his junior, Kenny was 65 when they had twin boys.
Before tying the knot Kenny was given some blunt marriage advice from Kerry Packer, a fan of his music.
Packer told Rogers to sign a prenuptial agreement in front of his prospective wife.
"I was like, 'That’s not very good to say those things in front of her'," Rogers said. "I think you go into it thinking whatever is mine is half yours and you give it up when its over."
"I think it starts the marriage off on the wrong foot. You have to assume at least it has to last for ever. If it doesn’t everyone is hurt by that."
The song Kenny’s best known for, The Gambler, was released in 1978 – it was his second solo hit after Lucille.
At 74 and with 24 number one hits under his belt, he spends at least a 100 days a year on the road.
He travels in a bus with his wife and his young children.
"I'd rather spend 24 hours on a bus than three hours on a plane. It's not that I’m afraid to fly - I've got everything I need right here," Rogers said.
Kenny’s music has stood the test of time far better than his body - he has bad knees and a bad back.
He also carries the scars of cosmetic surgery he had more than a decade ago, caused in part by a desire to look young for his much younger wife.
The difference in how he looked back then to how he looks now is striking.
It remains the only area of his life that he is reluctant to discuss. Fortunately, Rogers talks openly about his music.
He says his collaboration on Islands in the Stream with Barry Gibb was stalling before Dolly Parton became involved.
"I did this song for about four days and I finally said Barry, 'I don’t even like this song anymore', and he said ,'You know what we need? We need Dolly Parton'," Rogers said.
"Forty minutes later she came waltzing in and it was never the same after that. You know she put her stamp on that sucker and I just followed like a little puppy."
Kenny Rogers will be touring Australia from 10th August. For information on show dates and tickets visit www.bluehawkpresents.com.
Thanks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville for allowing Sunday Night to film Kenny in concert.
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