THE second wife of legendary Motown singer Marvin Gaye has died aged 66 – but what is known about her?
Janis Hunter Gaye served as the Motown icon‘s muse throughout their marriage from 1977 to 1981 – here’s everything we know about her.
GettyJanice and Marvin Gaye photographed in 1977, the pair met in 1973 at a recording session in Los Angeles[/caption]
Who was Janis Hunter Gaye?
Janis Hunter Gaye born on January 5, 1956, and later became Marvin Gaye’s second wife and muse throughout his career.
GettyShe was the muse behind much of Marvin Gaye’s work, including the song Jan, named after her[/caption]
She is said to be the inspiration behind the star’s song Jan and the 1976 album I Want You.
Music writer Michael Eric Dyson described the album as a “romantic and erotic tribute” to Janis.
She was on background vocals in Gaye’s 1977 hit track Got To Give It Up.
According to her family she was also instrumental in creating her husband’s iconic look for his 1974 performance at the Oakland Coliseum – red watch cap, beaded denim shirt and sliver red-laced platform boots.
Her father was talented singer-musician Slim Gaillard, known for hits including “Flat Foot Floogie (With a Floy Floy).”
Hunter also managed her daughter’s singing and acting career.
How old was she when she met Marvin Gaye?
She was just 17-years-old while her husband-to-be was 34 when they met.
Gaye was also married at the time to the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Anna Gordy.
How many children did Janis and Marvin have?
The couple shared two children together before their divorce in 1981 after four years of marriage.
GettyMarvin Gaye and children Frankie and Nona[/caption]
They welcomed their first born, a daughter, on September 4, 1974, who is named Nona.
The 48-year-old is a singer, former fashion model and actress with credits including Ali, Crash and two Matrix films.
Janis gave birth to her son Frankie Gaye the following year on November 16 1975, which made him 47 last month.
When did Janis and Marvin Gaye divorce?
Janis wrote a memoir published in 2015 in the New York Post titled, After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye, which included references to domestic abuse, sexual impropriety, drugs and trauma after her marriage to Marvin.
It has been reported by the New York Post that Janis claimed her ex-husband would encourage her to sleep with other men, but she never agreed.
However, allegedly she eventually gave in to her husband’s requests and participated in sex acts with another couple despite not wanting to.
The couple were also known to struggle with substance abuse and this all eventually led to Janice filing for legal separation in 1979.
There was a brief rekindling of their romance during Gaye’s final tour but it was short lived due to more arguments between them.
What happened to Janis Hunter Gaye after Marvin’s death?
Her daughter Nona has said that Janis did “her best to preserve his [Gaye’s] legacy” following his death in 1984.
AlamyNona Gaye photographed with her mother Janice[/caption]
As reported in The Hollywood Reporter she said: “She took every moment to speak about every word and every note of his music, and she wanted to make sure everyone knew the man she fell in love with.
“I will never get to see her again in this life but know she’s in heaven with my father and a spokesperson for us in spirit.”
Gaye’s life came to a tragic end when he was shot by his own father a day before he turned 45, during a heated argument.
Janis Hunter Gaye passed away aged 66 on Saturday December 3 at her home in Rhode Island.
A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Their daughter Nona Gaye said: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my mother, Janis Gaye.
“She was the most influential woman in my life and many others. I believe once you met my mother Jan, she wasn’t a woman you could ever forget.
“Every day she was here it was about the love she felt for her husband, children, grandson, and the friends she met all over the world.”