Willie Nelson’s Wife Discovered His Affair Via A Hospital Bill

By: ScreenGawk Staff | Published: Jan 10, 2024

Willie Nelson is one of the most famous musicians of all time. He is best known for his fantastic songs and fun-loving personality, but many people don’t know about his complicated personal life.

But in a docuseries recently released by Paramount+, Willie tells his story exactly how it was and admits that his second of four wives found out about his lover and new child by opening a hospital bill. 

The Docuseries: Willie Nelson & Family

Paramount+ created and aired a four-episode miniseries entitled “Willie Nelson & Family,” all about the beloved country singer and his large and complicated family. 

Promotional poster for the Paramount+ docu-series Willie Nelson & Family

Source: IMDb

Willie, who is now 90 years old, was extremely candid and honest throughout the series, explaining to his fans exactly what his life was like behind the scenes. 

Willie Nelson’s Wives

It’s important to understand that Willie Nelson has been married four times. First to Martha Matthews from 1952 to 1962, then to Shirley Collie Nelson from 1963 to 1971, next to Connie Koepke from 1971 to 1988, and finally, he is still married to Annie D’Angelo, whom he wed in 1991. 

Willie Nelson and second wife Shirley Collie singing together

Source: YouTube

Willie told the camera crew that his second wife, Shirley Collie, whom he met through music while he was married to his first wife, found out about his lover via a hospital bill. 

What Really Happened

Connie had written her name at the hospital as Connie Nelson, so when the hospital bill arrived, Shirley, of course, wanted to know who she was. 

Screen in a hospital with vital information while nurse stands in the background

Source: Freepik

Willie’s eldest daughter Laura from his first marriage said that her stepmother Shirley “had no idea there was a Connie” or a baby “until she got the hospital bill” (via US Weekly).

Connie and Willie Had Been Together for Years

Willie had to come clean that Connie was not only the mother of his newborn child but also Willie said, “Connie had been my girlfriend for several years before becoming pregnant.”

Willie Nelson, Connie Koepke, and daughters, Amy and Paula in Los Angeles, CA. in 1981

Source: Walter McBride/Corbis/Getty Images

While there may have been other factors involved, the marriage between Shirley Collie and Willie ended shortly after she opened that hospital bill. 

Willie Married the Mysterious Connie Koepke

Within months of his divorce, Willie then married his longtime girlfriend and mother of his new daughter, Paula, Connie Koepke. 

Willie Nelson with his daughters Paula Carlene and Amy Lee, 1980

Source: Paul Harris/Getty Images

The two had another daughter together, Amy Nelson, and were married for 17 years. However, Willie explained that while he was married to Connie, he met someone else who would eventually become his fourth wife. 


Meeting Annie D’Angelo

In 1986, Willie met Annie D’Angelo on the set of the film “Stagecoach”; the two had a secret relationship for two years until Willie decided to once again, opt for divorce so that he would be with his new girlfriend. 

Willie Nelson and Annie D’Angelo on the red carpet

Source: Mike Pont/Getty Images

Just three years after his third divorce, in 1991, Willi, then 67, married Annie D’Angelo. And to many people’s surprise, the two are still married today, almost 33 years later. 


How Wille Feels About His Four Marriages

In the docuseries, Willie explained his take on his many marriages. He said, “I’ve always said there’s no such thing as a former wife. Once in your life, a wife never leaves.”

Annie D'Angelo, Willie Nelson, and Amy Nelson perform on stage at the Hard Rock

Source: Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

He continued: “I regret the pain I caused Connie, and Martha and Shirley before her. I have no excuses. I’d be hard-pressed to define love. I know God’s love is pure, but worldly love is flawed love, and lots of times confused love.”


Eight Children Came Out of Willie’s Complicated Love Life

Throughout his many marriages and one friendship, Willie became the father of eight children. 

Willie Nelson w. his son Lukas Autry, 2, chatting as they sit on the front steps of his barren cabin

Source: Mark Perlstein/Getty Images

From his first marriage to Martha, Lana, 70, Susie, 67, and Billy Jr., who died at 33; Paula, 54, and Amy, 50, from his marriage to Connie; and sons Lukas, 34, and Jacob, 33, with Annie. In addition, Willie also had a daughter, Renee, with his friend Mary Haney, whom he didn’t know about for years.


Willie Has a Close Relationship with His Children

While Willie was certainly not always a fantastic husband, he is known by his children to be a wonderful father. 

Willie Nelson and daughter Paula Nelson perform at ME TV studios during South By SouthWest

Source: Jay West/WireImage/Getty Images

Many of them have inherited his love of music and not only have their own careers but also sing alongside their dad at many of his shows. 


Marrying Annie Was the 'Smartest Thing' Willie Ever Did

Willie told the film crew that he “had a gift for complicating things” and certainly had some regrets when it came to his romantic relationships. 

Willie Nelson and his wife Annie D’Angelo, watch a performance

Source: Gary Miller/Getty Images

However, he said that he has none when it comes to Annie. In fact, he said, “Marrying Annie wasn’t complicated at all. It’s about the smartest thing I ever did.”


Willie Nelson and His Big Family

Although many would say that Willie Nelson didn’t create a traditional family, there’s no doubt that he now has a big and beautiful one. 

Willie Nelson and Annie D’Angelo with Willie’s children, nieces, and nephews on the red carpet

Source: Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

His final marriage to Annie D’Angelo has passed the test of time, and his love for his many children is one of the greatest joys in the musician’s long life.