During his 36-years, Bob Marley produced countless reggae tracks for his fans all over the world. However, the number of offspring he produced is even harder to count. Let’s find out all his acknowledged kids and those that remain unknown.
Born to Bob’s wife Rita in 1968, Ziggy performed music as early as in school and was called “Freddie Dic.” Unexpectedly, his other stage name, Ziggy, stuck. Speaking to Melody Maker magazine, he revealed that it was him rather than his father that invented the nickname, which means “little spliff.” But his father supported him in other ways.
When Ziggy was still a tween, he started to appear at his dad’s concerts. Bob also suggested that his children Ziggy, Cedella, Stephen, and Sharon form a band—Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Their father even wrote and produced the band’s first song, Children Playing in the Streets. However, Bob’s legacy went beyond the field of music.
The reggae icon usually hung out with his boys and imparted those values that made him great to his beloved children. Ziggy once said his father had shown them how to use music as a vehicle to convey messages to the world. Ziggy and his siblings also learned to have a good work ethic and high musical standards from their dad.
Born in 1967, Cedella is the firstborn of Bob and Rita. Because of that, she shoulders so much responsibility for her family. Since she was ten years old, her father has invited her into the family business. She is now the CEO of Tuff Gong International—Bob’s recording label, and a hit fashion designer. Successful as she is, she had a tough childhood.
Because she is Bob Marley’s daughter and subsequently a Rastafarian, her friends had to lie to their parents just to go to sleep over at her home. Though she had trouble making friends with peers, she was able to freely hang out with her father’s friends, who were a mixed bag. But after sunset, Bob would send his girls home.
Born in 1972, Stephen is the youngest biological child of Rita and Bob. He is an eight-time Grammy Award winner as a producer, a solo artist, and a member of Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers. Critics have remarked of his first three albums, “everything a modern reggae album should slibe.” The producer’s fetish for music dates back to when he slipped into his father’s studio.
Stephen has always regarded the studio as a holy place. One night, he went there with Ziggy and asked the technician to turn on the microphones for them. They had a good time singing all of their father’s songs in the vocal booth. The instant they got out, they found Bob was just sitting there and listening to them. He was so moved and remembered the energy and the emotion felt in the place.
Sharon is also a member of the Melody Makers. Unlike her siblings, she is Rita’s daughter but was born to an unknown man before Rita married Bob in 1966. But Sharon has music in her genes just like her siblings. She has collected three Grammy awards for Best Reggae Album with the band.
Robert “Robbie” Marley Jr. is relatively unknown compared to his siblings who work on the stage. He was born to Bob and Pat Williams in 1972, out of wedlock. All we know about Pat is that she was a local Jamaican woman who had an affair with Bob. Rita brought him up like her own child.
Since he was a baby, Robbie had lived with the Marley clan but took a different path from most of them. Now he is devoted to design and motorcycles. He has also received his share of his father’s legacy, which was split equally among all the children.
Born to different mothers, he and Robbie are only three days apart in age. However this boy was a troublemaker and finally sent to live with Bob’s mother. After that, he seemed to learn to behave himself and ended up playing linebacker for The University of Miami. In 2009, Rohan founded an organic coffee plantation as a way of spreading his father’s values.
From Rohan’s childhood memories, everyone had respected his father because his father was always so charitable and caring. He would provide those people in need with food, water, and even a place to live. Bob also paid their doctor’s bills and tuition. He said, “I don’t know anyone like my father.”
Born to Janet Bowen in 1973, Karen was raised by Rita and is now a fashion designer. Though the Marley kids didn’t share the same biological parents, they formed a harmonious family bond and love to spend time with each other. Karen said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2014, “We do the family thing… We’re big about that.”
Though loving her family deeply, Karen would rather not talk about her father with the press. On the one hand, she doesn’t want to lead a life in the spotlight. On the other hand, she is sensitive to the topic and tired of being referred to as her father’s daughter.
Bob wasn’t alone in having affairs whilst married. Born to Rita and Ital in 1974, she was also adopted by Bob to become another member of the big family. Growing up just like a normal child, she has never thought of being treated as the reggae icon’s daughter.
While Stephanie enjoyed watching her siblings’ performances, she quickly found out that she had a passion for something else. She went to the University of Western Ontario, majoring in psychology. Today, she is the director of the Bob Marley Museum and also a hotelier.
Julian is another result of Bob’s affairs in England. Unlike most of his siblings, little Julian split his time between England with his mother, Lucy Pounder, and Jamaica with the Marleys. Influenced by his dad, he recorded a song at just five years old. In 2002, he and his brothers set up their label, Ghetto Youths International, and have since performed all over the world.
Ky-Mani’s name means “adventurous traveler” in East African culture. His mother is the Jamaican table tennis champion Anita Belnaivis, and she brought him up. When he was a kid, he learned to play piano, guitar, and trumpet. Later on, Ky-Mani also started to rap and even acted in films like One Love and Shottas.
Bob passed away before Damian turned three years old. Damian was raised by Cindy Breakspeare, a former Miss World who was involved in an affair with Bob until his untimely death. Though he rarely stayed with his father, he is still a music bug. In 2006, Damian became the first reggae musician to win two Grammy awards on the same night. He also operates in the CBD and cannabis industry.
While people can only find 11 names listed as Bob’s children on his official website, Bob has two more kids. Born in 1963 to Cheryl Murray, Imani is the oldest of all Bob’s kids. Makeda Jahnesta is the youngest child, born to Yvette Crichton in 1981 after her father’s death. Unluckily, she isn’t entitled to any of her father’s assets but instead has a trust fund.