Who Is Charley Pride’s Wife?

We all have those who came before us to thank for where we are today, but in the music world, those lineages are a little easier to trace. It’s easy to see how older musicians have inspired younger ones by tracking the way that music in each genre has developed over time, and those influences also spill over creating mixes between genres that bring us new sounds with an old heart.

One place that many fans see as taking a sharp turn from its roots in recent years is the country music genre. As country stars have modernized with sexier personas, there’s still plenty of appreciation and admiration to be had for the classic artists who helped create the foundation. 

Charley Pride is one of those original country music artists, and his life alongside his longtime wife is like a real-life happy ending to a classic country music song. 

Charley Pride singing on stage
Charley Pride | Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Charley Pride dreamed of playing baseball

Pride was born in 1934 in the Mississippi Delta region. According to PBS, he was the fourth of eleven children, and his sharecropper father and mother raised their large family in a tiny shotgun shack. Pride had big dreams even as a little boy: “I used to sit on the porch and I’d look up at the clouds. And I said, ‘Boy how’d it be to float on them clouds?'” When he saw Jackie Robinson go to the major leagues in baseball, he thought he had found his way out. 

Indeed, Pride was a talented athlete, and his pitching abilities landed him a spot on the Memphis Red Sox team at the young age of 16. He hopped around from team to team for a while with some promising leads that never quite panned out. He was playing with a semi-pro team in Montana when he started singing in local bars, and that’s where his true talents started to shine the brightest. 

Charley Pride was a celebrated musician 

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There was no denying that Pride had all the makings of an excellent country music star, but his race made him stand out in Nashville, and he had trouble getting signed to a label. Finally, RCA signed him in 1966, but they intentionally withheld publicity photos to hide the fact that Pride was Black from listeners. Often, stunned audiences would fall silent when he finally appeared on stage at live performances. For his part, Pride made light of the tension: “Ladies and gentlemen, I realize it’s kind of unique, me coming out here on a country music show wearing this permanent tan.”

Accolades would follow. Pride became the first Black member of the Grand Ole Opry in decades as well as the first Black artist to have a number one album on the country charts. In 2000, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. This year saw Pride getting yet another honor when he received the 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented at the CMAs

Charley Pride has been married to Rozene Pride since 1956

Many country songs tout the principles of strong family values and sticking by your partner’s side, and Pride has lived his life in a way that illustrates those beliefs. He married his wife Rozene back in 1956, and the pair have worked together to build a strong family and real estate business in the Dallas area, where they have been longtime residents. 

According to Wide Open Country, age isn’t keeping Pride from his passions, either. He may be 86 years old, but he is still making music and released an album in 2017. Pride has left an indelible mark on the country music world and racked up the praise to prove it, and he’s done it all with his wife Rozene by his side.