We all know Diana Ross as the legendary Queen of Motown who sang hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I’m Coming Out.”
But did you know she’s also a mother of five and grandmother of eight, with one of the most expansive family trees in Hollywood?
Let’s take a deep dive into the extraordinary family life of this music icon.
Diana’s First Marriage and Daughter Rhonda Ross Kendrick
Before she became world-famous, Diana Ross was in a relationship with Motown CEO Berry Gordy. This was back in 1965 when she was still the lead singer of The Supremes.
Diana actually got pregnant with Gordy’s child in 1970, but two months into the pregnancy she married music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein, who raised the baby girl as his own. Diana didn’t even tell her daughter, Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein, that Gordy was her real father until she was a teenager!
Even though the truth came out eventually, Rhonda considered Robert her true dad. She was super close with him and her mom growing up. But she also had a warm relationship with Gordy, referring to him endearingly as “Uncle BB.” Talk about a complex family dynamic!
Rhonda followed in her mom’s musical footsteps and became a singer-songwriter and actress herself. She’s appeared in movies like Personals and Cracked Up and dropped albums including Rhonda Ross Live (paid link) in 2002.
And get this – Rhonda’s cousin is actress Bianca Lawson from Queen Sugar. Bianca’s father is Berry Gordy’s nephew Richard Lawson. So Diana’s daughter is actually related to the Lawson family!
In 2009, Rhonda gave birth to a son named Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick with her husband Rodney Kendrick. Little Raif made quite the splash when he busted out some dance moves on stage at the American Music Awards with Grandma Diana. Too cute!
Diana’s Daughters Tracee Ellis Ross and Chudney Lane Silberstein
In addition to Rhonda, Diana Ross gave birth to two daughters with Robert Ellis Silberstein – Tracee Joy in 1972 and Chudney Lane in 1975. Diana and Robert actually divorced when the girls were just kids, but they have always spoken so highly of their mom as a loving, hands-on parent.
Tracee really followed in Diana’s trailblazing footsteps. She became a well-known actress in her own right, with hit shows like Girlfriends and Black-ish under her belt.
She often shares funny family moments with her dad on Instagram too. “My mom was extremely present,” Tracee said in an interview. “Waking us up for school, sitting for dinner with us and giving us a genuine, anchored, real family life and home life.”
Meanwhile, Chudney chose to go behind the scenes in Hollywood as a TV producer. She worked on shows like Fame and Mesmerized. Chudney is also a proud mom herself, welcoming two daughters – Calloway Lane and Everlee – with her husband Joshua Faulkner.
“My mom taught us that anything was possible with hard work, determination and passion,” Chudney has said about the best parenting lessons she learned from Diana.
Diana’s Marriage to Arne Naess Jr. and Their Sons
In the mid-80s, Diana moved to Europe and married Norwegian businessman and mountaineer Arne Naess Jr. She became a stepmom to his three kids from a previous marriage – Katinka, Christoffer, and Leona. Leona Naess actually grew up to be a popular folk singer!
Diana and Arne went on to have two sons of their own, Ross Arne and Evan Olav Naess, before sadly divorcing in 2000. Arne tragically passed away four years later in a mountain climbing accident at just age 66. Diana has called him the love of her life.
Her son Evan followed the family tradition of showbiz, appearing in movies like ATL and The Hunger Games. In 2014, he married pop singer Ashlee Simpson, sister of Jessica Simpson. Evan and Ashlee have a big blended family of their own!
Ashlee had a son named Bronx from her previous marriage to Pete Wentz, then she and Evan welcomed a daughter, Jagger Snow, and son, Ziggy Blue. Quite the full household!
Evan’s brother Ross also pursued acting and producing work in Hollywood. He married Kimberly Ryan in 2017 after already having two sons together – Leif born in 2016, followed by Indigo in 2017. Diana must be one proud grandma to those little ones!
Diana’s Extended Family
With two marriages, five kids of her own, stepchildren, and a lifelong friendship with ex-Berry Gordy, Diana Ross has built up quite the extended family over the years. She’s still very close with her ex-husband Robert Ellis Silberstein, and friendly with Gordy as well.
Her kids and stepkids supported her together at major events like the American Music Awards and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Diana now has eight grandchildren, ranging from teens to toddlers. We can only imagine the huge family gatherings they must have, especially around the holidays!
Even though Diana’s marriage didn’t last forever, it’s clear family is still so important to her. She seems to have a special bond with each of her kids and grandkids.
Diana Ross – Iconic Singer, Loving Mother
When you take a step back and look at Diana Ross’s extraordinary life, her unmatched career is only half the story.
She has also raised five successful children and nurtured a large extended family. Her kids Tracee, Rhonda, Evan, Chudney and Ross all speak so highly of her devotion as a mom. Even as her fame skyrocketed, family always came first.
Now in her late 70s, Diana Ross can feel proud of her iconic music catalog, her trailblazing career, and her sprawling family tree. As her kids have kids of their own, there are so many new family milestones to look forward to.
We can’t wait to see Diana cheering on generations of her family as they surely continue the Ross legacy of creativity, passion and soul.
About the Author
Team Guitar Top Review Talk about Guitars! We are a group of friends that bonded over their shared love of playing guitar. We all have different backgrounds and experiences with music, but we share a passion for writing about the things that we love.