Smokey Robinson is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was born on February 19, 1940, in Detroit, Michigan, as William Robinson Jr. Growing up, Robinson stood out due to his lighter skin and golden green eyes, both of which are attributed to his African-American and French ancestry. He was also given the cowboy nickname “Smokey Joe” which was later shortened to “Smokey” and became his official stage name.
Robinson was academically smart and an excellent athlete but he was always destined for the arts. In 1955, the aspiring singer formed a doo-wop group called “The Five Chimes” with two of his childhood friends, Ronald White and Pete Moore. A couple of years later, they renamed their group “The Matadors” and included Bobby Rogers, Emerson Rogers, Claudette Rogers, and Marv Tarplin. When the group signed up with Motown Records, they officially changed their name to “The Miracles.”
Throughout the decades, Robinson left his mark as a singer, songwriter, and producer who popularized the distinct sounds of the 1960s. When he left the musical group in 1972, the singer pursued his career as Motown’s vice president. However, Robinson couldn’t stray too long from music and he eventually returned as a solo artist. The singer has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame – twice.
In addition to his extensive and rich musical legacy, Robinson is also known for his turbulent marriages, countless affairs, and unconventional views on love and sexuality. His past remarks have even prompted fans to question his true gender identity. So, is Smokey Robinson gay? Read on below to find out.
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Smokey Robinson’s Relationships
At the height of his fame, Robinson was considered a true ladies’ man. Even in his golden years, the soul singer still manages to make hearts swoon with his charisma and voice. Although Robinson has only been married twice, he has admitted to numerous affairs spanning over decades. Here’s a brief summary of the frontman’s romances and his shocking relationship with a childhood friend.
Smokey Robinson and Claudette Rogers (1958-1987)
Robinson met his first wife Claudette Rogers when she joined the group in 1958. Before she was associated with the singer, Rogers had already made a name for herself as a talented singer and songwriter. When they signed up with their record label, she was known as “The First Lady of Motown.” The couple dated for a year before finally tying the knot in 1959.
Robinson and Rogers had two children, Berry Robinson and Tamla Robinson, in 1968 and 1969 respectively. The couple were together for almost three decades and experienced countless ups and downs in their marriage. In 1974, Rogers caught her husband cheating and they temporarily separated. While they were able to reconcile, Robinson cheated again in 1984 which resulted in the birth of his son, Trey Robinson.
It was the last straw for Rogers and they finally divorced in 1987.
Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross
In April 2023, Robinson dropped a bombshell interview when he confessed to having a year-long affair with his childhood friend and superstar, Diana Ross. Although it’s unclear when the affair exactly happened, the singer admitted that the relationship started while he was still married to his first wife. During that time, Ross was still early on in her career and working with Robinson when sparks flew. According to Robinson, it “just happened” and was “beautiful.”
Apparently, the affair ended because the duo felt guilty, especially considering that Ross and Rogers were friends. Despite the circumstances, Robinson also shared that he still loved his wife. Ultimately, they both decided to end the relationship. Since the revelation, Ross has yet to issue an official statement regarding the matter.
Smokey Robinson and Frances Glandney (2000-Present)
After his unfortunate divorce, Robinson stayed single until he met his second wife, Frances Glandney. Although she wasn’t in the music industry, Glandney was a superstar in her own right and already made her name in interior design. She’s often described as a private person who likes to keep out of the limelight.
It’s unclear when the couple met but they dated for a long time before tying the knot in 2002. Robinson seemed to have found the perfect life partner in Glandney. They have been together for decades and have even launched businesses together. The couple is still going strong and is residing happily in their Pittsburgh home.
The Singer’s View On Love And Sexuality
Robinson has admitted that his scandalous affair with Ross has changed his views on love. In a 2023 interview, while promoting his latest album “Gasms”, the singer shared that “love can be very complex.”
In the same interview, Robinson also stated that he still “feels sexual.” When asked if his attitude towards sex has changed with his age, this was what he had to say:
Robinson expressed his sentiments about different kinds of love as well. He reminisced about loved ones who had passed away, his father, brother-in-law, his long-time friends, and family in the music industry. The singer became emotional when he talked about Berry Gordy, his boss, friend, and founder of Motown Records. Despite the speculations, Gordy and Robinson’s relationship was purely platonic.
Is Smokey Robinson Gay?
No, Smokey Robinson is not gay. He was married twice to two different women and has at least three children. The singer has also had numerous affairs including a year-long relationship with Diana Ross. Although Robinson had close relationships with the men in his life, they were purely friendships, so it’s safe to say that the singer is straight.