Marvin Gay, Sr., and the 10 Worst Rock-Star Parents of All Time

Categories: Dad Decision

Twenty-eight years ago this week, Marvin Gay, Sr., received a six-year suspended sentence and five years of probation for the voluntary manslaughter of his son, the R&B legend Marvin Gaye. Gay pled guilty after shooting his namesake dead in the L.A. home given to him and his wife by Gaye, who was 44 when he died.

It was a terribly ugly end to a disastrous relationship between father and son. The elder Gay was a profoundly fucked-up man who had grown up in a violent abusive household as a child, and he readily passed that violence down to his own son. A minister in the House of God sect, he was a strict taskmaster to his children, and Marvin Jr. regularly took brutal whippings from his dear old dad as a boy.

According to Gaye's mother, Alberta, the elder Gay "never wanted Marvin, and he never liked him," making him quite possibly the only person in history who hated Marvin Gaye. He also had a penchant for cross-dressing in his wife's clothing around the house, which deeply confused the young Marvin and further estranged him from his father.

By the time he found fame as an adult, Marvin Gaye had added an 'e' to his last name, not only to deflect possible suspicions about his own sexuality, but to distance himself from the paternal side of his family. As much as possible, he avoided his father. But in 1984, Gaye moved into his parents' home in Los Angeles to care for his ailing mother and battle his cocaine addiction after a long tour.

Paranoid from the drugs, Gaye gave his father an unlicensed .38 Special to defend himself from the people he imagined were trying to kill him. Bad move. Gay Sr. used that very gun to kill his son after he intervened in an argument between his parents.

While Marvin Gay, Sr., represents the unspeakable worst of rock-star parenting, Marvin Gaye was hardly alone in enduring a shitty childhood. The pain of familial strife has colored the music of many stars, but a few stories stand out from the pack. Hold your nose, if you must, and behold the top 10 worst rock-star parents of all time:


Patrick Lovato, the father of RodeoHouston star Demi Lovato, is something akin to teen pop's answer to Michael Lohan. After walking out on his family when Demi was very young, Patrick resurfaced with pleas in the tabloids to reconnect after she achieved fortune and fame. No such luck for his other, non-famous daughter, natch.

Especially galling was Patrick publically weighing in on the lawsuit filed against his daughter by the backup dancer whose altercation with Demi led to her stint in rehab a few years back. Don't expect a reconciliation anytime soon. Demi put her sentiments into song on "For the Love of a Daughter:" "I can be manipulated only so many times before even 'I love you' starts to sound like a lie."


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Any mother that could produce a self-destructive maniac like the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious is clearly not quite up to the task of parenting. Anne Beverley struggled with her own addictions for much of her life, and her son suffered for it. She booted Vicious out of the house when he was 16, but the two later reconciled. They were so close, in fact, that Sid's friend Jah Wobble would later recall the shocking sight of the pair injecting heroin together.

She didn't stop there. Before his death, Malcolm McLaren wrote that Beverley had smuggled heroin inside her snizz for Sid while he was awaiting trial at Riker's Island for the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Rumors persist that Beverley deliberately injected her son with the fatal dose of horse that killed him to prevent his return to prison, but as with all Sid Vicious tales, the truth lies buried beneath the legend. Anne Beverely committed suicide in 1996.


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Neo-soul superstar Adele famously chronicled her troubles with the opposite sex on her Grammy-winning smash 21, but the issues began much earlier with a single man -- her father. Mark Evans walked out his family when Adele was only three years old, and his battles with alcoholism further estranged him from his daughter. Child-support payments didn't exactly arrive in a timely fashion, if they did at all.

Now that Evans is cleaned up and Adele is a superstar, he's suddenly a lot more interested in his daughter. Predictably, he's taken his hopes of reconciliation to the media. Always a bad move, Mark. Adele adamantly claims that her father has "fucking blown" any chance of reunion, and that if she saw him on the street, she'd spit in his face.

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