Barry White facts: Singer's real name, wife, children and death explained

27 December 2021, 15:26 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 16:45

Barry White
Barry White. Picture: Getty

Barry White had one of the most instantly-recognisable voices of all time.

The American singer-songwriter had many hits in the 1970s, and recorded some of the most enduring songs of the soul, funk and disco era.

Best known for hits including 'You're the First, the Last, My Everything' and 'Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe', Barry White sold over 100 million records worldwide.

  1. What was Barry White's real name and where was he from?

    Barry White
    Barry White. Picture: Getty

    Barry White was born Barry Eugene Carter on September 12, 1944, in Galveston, Texas, United States.

    His father was Melvin A White, and his mother was Sadie Marie Carter. His parents never married, so his mother gave him her surname. However, he later took on the last name of his father.

    Barry grew up in Los Angeles, California. He also had one sibling: his brother Darryl was 13 months younger.

  2. How deep was Barry White's voice?

    Barry White and Lisa Stansfield - All Around the World

    Barry White's voice deepened suddenly when he was 14 years old.

    He later recalled: "[As a child], I had a normal squeaky kid voice. Then as a teenager, that completely changed. My mother cried because she knew her baby boy had become a man."

    Barry had a vocal range of approximately F1-E5, and had a bass-baritone voice.

  3. Who was Barry White's wife?

    Barry White and wife Glodean
    Barry White and wife Glodean. Picture: Getty

    Barry White was first married to his childhood sweetheart, named as just Mary in his autobiography, when he was 19. They separated in 1969 and later divorced.

    In 1974, Barry married singer Glodean James. The couple duetted on the 1981 album Barry & Glodean. They were thought to have divorced in 1988, but they were still legally married until Barry's death in 2003.

  4. How many children did Barry White have?

    Barry White with new daughter Shaheiah Love White
    Barry White with new daughter Shaheiah Love White. Picture: Getty

    Barry White had at least nine children.

    By the age of 16, Barry had fathered two children with his first wife Mary.

    They had four children together. In 2017, his son Darryl White from his first marriage sued his estate, claiming he was cut off financially.

    Barry also had four children with his second wife Glodean. Their daughter Shaherah was his personal assistant.

    Barry Jr played in the Love Unlimited Orchestra, and was also his tour manager. Barry's son MacKevin worked in his publishing administration.

    Barry White and his daughter
    Barry White and his daughter. Picture: Getty

    He also had a daughter, Denise Donnell, born in 1962, to Gurtha Allen. She did not discover who her biological father was until 1988. She was accepted by Barry, and with his help she changed her name to Denise White.

    In 2016, she sued his estate after she stopped receiving money.

  5. When and how did Barry White die?

    Barry White
    Barry White. Picture: Getty

    Barry White was overweight for most of his adult life, and suffered from health problems because of it.

    He was also known to be a heavy smoker, and apparently smoked approximately 150 cigarettes a day.

    While undergoing dialysis and awaiting a kidney transplant in May 2003, Barry suffered a severe stroke, forcing him to retire from public life.

    His unstable health stopped him from receiving a new kidney, and on July 4, 2003, he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was aged 58.