Della Beatrice Howard Robinson: Ray Charles Ex-Wife, Life and Divorce

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson is a name that may not ring a bell for many, but she had an incredible impact on the life of legendary musician Ray Charles. As his ex-wife, Della played a pivotal role in Ray’s career and personal life. But who was Della Beatrice Howard Robinson? In this blog post, we’ll delve into her early life, marriage to Ray Charles, and what happened after their divorce. Join us as we uncover the story of one of music’s unsung heroes: Della Beatrice Howard Robinson.

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s early life

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson was born on January 20, 1929, in the small town of Gainesville, Florida. Growing up in a segregated community, Della faced many challenges from an early age.

Despite these obstacles, she was determined to succeed and went on to attend Florida A&M University where she earned her degree in business education.

After graduating from college, Della moved to Seattle where she worked as a secretary for the Black-owned newspaper The Northwest Enterprise. It was there that she met Ray Charles who had just signed with Atlantic Records.

Their love story began soon after they met and they were married in 1955. Together they had three children: Ray Jr., David, and Robert.

Della’s support for Ray extended beyond their personal life. She played an integral role in managing his career during its early stages by helping him secure gigs and negotiate contracts.

Despite facing discrimination as a black woman during this time period – particularly within the music industry – Della remained steadfast in her commitment to supporting her husband’s dreams.

Her marriage to Ray Charles

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s marriage to Ray Charles was a significant part of her life. They met in the 1950s when Robinson was working as a secretary for a music publishing company that represented Charles. Their relationship quickly turned into romance, and they were married in 1955.

Robinson played an essential role in Charles’ career, managing his office and handling his finances while he focused on creating music. Together they had three children; however, their marriage wasn’t without its challenges. Charles struggled with addiction issues and infidelity that eventually led to their divorce in 1977 after over two decades of being together.

Despite the difficulties they faced, there is no denying the impact Della Beatrice Howard Robinson had on Ray Charles’ life and career. She supported him through thick and thin, both personally and professionally, during one of the most crucial periods of his musical journey.

Their marriage may have ended in divorce but it remains an integral part of both their legacies as well as an important piece of history within American music culture.

Life after her divorce from Ray Charles

After her divorce from Ray Charles, Della Beatrice Howard Robinson continued to lead a life that was both eventful and challenging. She had to come to terms with the end of her marriage while raising their children on her own. Despite the difficulties she faced, she remained resilient and managed to carve out a successful career for herself.

Robinson had always been interested in music, and after her divorce from Charles, she decided to pursue it more seriously. She started singing in nightclubs around Los Angeles and eventually landed a recording contract with RCA Records. Her debut album “Soulful” was released in 1972, which received positive reviews from music critics.

In addition to pursuing a career in music, Robinson also became involved in various philanthropic activities. She founded The Ray Charles Foundation along with other members of his family to support causes such as hearing impairment research and education for visually impaired children.

Despite being divorced from one of the most famous musicians of all time, Robinson never lived off his fame or fortune. Instead, she made a name for herself through hard work and dedication towards achieving personal success while giving back to society.

Della Beatrice Howard Robinson’s post-divorce life is an inspiration not only because of her individual achievements but also because of how well she handled adversity while continuing Raymond’s legacy through The Ray Charles Foundation.


Della Beatrice Howard Robinson was a remarkable woman who lived an extraordinary life. She had to overcome many challenges and obstacles in her early years, but she never let them define her.

As Ray Charles’s wife, Della played a crucial role in his career and helped him become one of the most iconic musicians of all time. Her contributions to his success cannot be overstated.

After their divorce, Della continued to live a full life with her children and grandchildren as the center of her world. She remained active within the community and gave back whenever she could.

Della passed away on August 31st, 2009 at the age of 83. However, she left behind an enduring legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Today we remember Della Beatrice Howard Robinson not just as Ray Charles’ ex-wife but as a strong-willed woman who always stood up for what she believed in and made a difference in this world.


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