She’s six kids, three from her union to Marley. After his passing in 1981, Rita created a charitable organization, the Bob Marley Foundation, to fight poverty and hunger in developing countries.
Left by her mom when she was only 5 years old, Rita and her brother, Wesley, were raised by their father and an aunt in the area of Trench Town, among Kingston, Jamaica’s roughest slums. Their mom raised their other brother, Donovan.
When she was only 13, Rita was left in her aunt’s care when her dad moved to England to try to find work (he allegedly told her that she’d join him after, but that move never occurred). After high school, Rita attended the Bethesda School of Practical Nursing, however an unanticipated pregnancy derailed her schooling. She’d her first child, a daughter named Sharon, in 1964.
Starting out by singing along to the radio, Rita Marley finally started performing together with her cousin, Constantine “Dream” Walker, and buddy, Marlene “Valuable” Gifford. The trio after sang for the Wailing Wailers, an area group composed of Bob Marley, Peter McIntosh (after Peter Tosh) and Bunny Livingston (after Bunny Wailer). The Soulettes had a hit with all the tune “I Love You, Baby,” and occasionally sang backup for the Wailers.
They welcomed their very first child together, daughter Cedella, in 1967. The next year, the couple had their first son, David, who’s now best known as Ziggy Marley. Rita and Bob couple fought both financially and professionally. They spent some time in America, working for vocalist Johnny Nash’s JAD Records in the late 1960s and residing with Bob’s mom in Wilmington, Delaware, to get a period.
In the early 1970s, Rita returned to her mother in law’s house to reside and work, expecting to boost her family’s finances.
Returning to Jamaica, Rita found that Bob have been involved with two girls while she was away, which these two girls were pregnant; their children, Robert and Rohan Marley, were born not long after Stephen. In her 2004 autobiography, No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley, Rita Marley wrote: “I was really upset in the beginning to learn about all of this, though it is common in Jamaica. But since then, I Have come to adore these two boys also to think of these as my sons.” She’d keep this generous approach toward the a number of other kids Bob would dad with other girls over time.
Following the Wailers signed with Island Records in 1972, things started to turn around for the group members, although not always for the Marleys. The group had their first record together with the label, Catch a Fire, released worldwide the following year, and they started to bring critical attention. Using their popularity increasing, the Wailers toured the Us and Europe.
Not all was good, yet. Rita’s union was under lots of tension: as well as Bob frequently being away and seeing other girls, Rita herself had embarked upon an extramarital relationship. While she were involved with both guys before giving birth to her fourth child, daughter Stephanie, in 1974, she said in her autobiography that Bob was the dad.
In 1976, the Marleys faced another adversity. Several armed men assaulted their house while the group was rehearsing there. Music supervisor Don Taylor, who’d been hit several times, needed operation to repair his wounds. While no motivation for the strike was formally discovered, several have theorized that it might have been politically inspired. Bob Marley was seen as a supporter of the People’s National Party, as well as the assault occurred in the weeks leading up to an important national election.
The couple continued to face many pros and cons in the remaining years of Bob Marley’s life, nevertheless they bonded together as he fought against cancer—a disorder that he’d succumb to in 1981. Rita and a lot of Bob’s kids were with him when he died, on May 11, 1981, at a Miami, Florida, hospital. Following his passing, Rita become participated in a drawn-out legal fight over Bob’s estate since he’d never written a will.
In honor of her late husband, Rita as well as other members of the Marley family created the Bob Marley Foundation, a charitable organization focused on helping individuals and organizations in the developing world. Rita also works to maintain Bob’s music and memory through numerous occasions, for instance, annual Bob Marley Birthday Celebration in Jamaica.
Recently, she joined Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt of the I Threes to perform in the Africa Unite concert in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.