Kenny Rogers Explained How He Got Caught up in a Phone Sex Scandal

Late country singer Kenny Rogers once said he was aware of the price of fame. He knew that paparazzi and fans would be watching his every move since he was a well-known entertainer. However, he wasn’t prepared for the phone sex scandal that made him a front-page tabloid topic in the early ‘90s. Here’s what Rogers said about the scandal that almost ruined his reputation.

Kenny Rogers was in the process of divorcing his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon

Kenny Rogers holds a microphone while singing.
Kenny Rogers | Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Rogers had been married five times. In his book, Luck or Something Like It, he describes what it was like divorcing his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon. Rogers and Gordon met while he was filming an episode of Hee Haw.

The “Lady” singer said he and Gordon got along and she was a nice person. However, that wasn’t enough to sustain their marriage. Rogers admits he doesn’t know why their marriage didn’t work out. “There are reasons marriages end, but I’m not sure what happened between Marianne and me,” wrote Rogers.

Kenny Rogers’s phone sex scandal

While going through his divorce, Rogers said he realized he could spend time with other women without feeling guilty. He wanted a little excitement in his life. Rogers said he had an “urge for adventure” that had been “pent up” for many years.

Although the country singer wanted excitement, he also wanted to be discreet about how he obtained that excitement. He felt the safest way to do this would be to have phone sex with women. Rogers got a restricted phone number so that two women could call him.

Rogers said one of his friends had contacts with all the “party girls” in the area. His friend introduced him to two women he met through the party scene. Rogers felt safe interacting with them on the phone because his restricted number required a code to gain access. He also said he met the women briefly in person.

Rogers said this was the “ultimate safe sex.” However, he admitted he felt guilty because he wasn’t divorced yet. He was still going through the process of obtaining a divorce.

Unfortunately, Rogers didn’t enjoy this arrangement for long. The women ended up suing him for harassment. Rogers said it was a mistake to think these people were his friends. “I must admit in retrospect, I think the problem was I saw these girls as my friends and they saw me as their opportunity,” he said in his autobiography.

Kenny Rogers battled it out with the tabloids

Rogers’ nightmare began after he said the women secretly recorded their private messages. According to him, the women sold the recordings to the National Enquirer. Rogers said he “came off as sleazy” after the news broke. He admitted the recordings were “sexually explicit and designed to arouse the listener.”

Rogers said the women hired lawyers who “went for the throat,” and they demanded a lot of money. He figured his only choice was to settle the lawsuit so he could move on with his life. (He managed to pay less than the exorbitant amount requested.) Once the matter was settled, Rogers was happy to be able to put the incident behind him.

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RELATED: Why Each of Kenny Rogers’ Marriages Ended in Divorce