Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$8 Million
May 28, 1944 (79 years old)
5 ft 3 in (1.613 m)
Singer-songwriter, Actor, Author, Businessperson, Humanitarian
United States of America
💰 Compare Gladys Knight's Net Worth

What is Gladys Knight's Net Worth?

Gladys Knight is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman who has a net worth of $8 million. Gladys Knight became known as the "Empress of Soul" due to the success of hit songs like "Midnight Train to Georgia" and numerous other number one R&B singles.She  began singing with her siblings, at the age of 8, in a group they called 'The Pips'. The group went on to open for such R&B greats as Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke, enjoyed a stint at Motown records then headed to Buddah Records in 1973, where they successfully crossed over to pop music. Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded what was to become their signature song, "Midnight Train to Georgia," in 1973. By the mid-seventies, the group was riding high. In the summer of 1975, they hosted their own TV special and in 1976 Knight made an appearance in the film "Pipe Dreams," for which she and The Pips also recorded the soundtrack.

Gladys Knight and the Pips moved to MCA Records in 1988 and released their final album together, "All Our Love," which included the Grammy-winning single Love Overboard. Knight launched a solo career that next year and recorded the title track for the James Bond movie "License to Kill" (1989), along with guest stars Dionne Warwick and Patti Labelle.

Knight married her first husband, Atlanta, Georgia musician Jimmy Newman, at the age of 16. The marriage produced two children before Newman, a drug addict, abandoned the family and died only a few years later. Her second marriage to producer Barry Hankerson ended in 1979 after a five-year custody battle over their son, Shanga. Knight went on to marry author and motivational speaker Les Brown in 1995 and their marriage ended in 1997. In 2001, she married William McDowell, a corporate consultant.

Early Life

Gladys Knight was born on May 29, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Merald Woodlow Knight Sr. and Sarah Elizabeth. Her father worked as a postal worker. Knight grew up with her other sister and two brothers, one of whom later died. The family was involved with church and Knight grew up singing in the church choir throughout the 1940s and 1950s. In 1952, she formed a group with one of her brothers, her sister, and their cousins which they decided to call the Pips. The group began entering talent shows in Atlanta and won each show they entered.

The Pips

The success of the Pips was noticed by Brunswick Records, who signed the group in 1957. However, after failing to produce a charting record, the label dropped them in 1959. The group renamed themselves Gladys Knight & the Pips and released a new song, "Every Beat of My Heart," in 1961 on Fury Records, which made the "Billboard" charts. Knight left the group for a few years in the early 1960s to start a family but returned in 1964. The group joined Motown Records roster in 1966. They released a string of hits throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s.

The group then left Motown for a better deal with Buddah Records in 1973. They achieved mainstream success with their hit "Midnight Train to Georgia," which climbed to the number one spot on the R&B charts. The track also won a Grammy award. The group continued to experience success and release hit songs until the late 1970s when they were forced to separate due to legal issues.

Solo Career

Knight released her first solo LP, "Miss Gladys Knight," with Buddah Records in 1978. She then released "Gladys Knight" on Columbia Records in 1979. She then reformed the Pips for a few years throughout the beginning of the 1980s. In 1987, the group recorded their final LP together before she launched her solo career officially. She already had significant momentum thanks to the success of the Pips, as well as the success of the 1985 track she had released with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John called "That's What Friends Are For." In 1989, she recorded the theme song for the James Bond film "License to Kill."

In 1991, Knight released her most successful solo LP, "Good Woman." It hit the number one spot on the R&B chart. Her next album, "Just for You," was nominated for the 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. She continued steadily producing music over the next years. By 2014, when she released "Where My Heart Belongs," she had released 30 top-40 R&B albums, including work released with the Pips.

Gladys Knight net worth

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While music has dominated her career, Knight has also appeared in some films and television shows. She has had guest roles in "Benson," "The Jeffersons," "A Different World," "Living Single," and "New York Undercover." She also performed on "The Masked Singer" in 2019.

Knight's career has been honored with numerous awards and accolades. In 1995, Knight received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1996, Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2007, she was the recipient of the Society of Singers ELLA Award, at which time she was also declared the "Empress of Soul," a title that has stuck with her throughout the rest of her career. She is also listed on the "Rolling Stone" list of the Greatest Singers of All Time. In 2022, Knight received Kennedy Center Honors.

As of this writing she has won seven Grammy Awards, including four as a solo artist and three with the Pips.

Personal Life

Knight has been married four times throughout her life and has three children. When she was 16 years old, she got pregnant by and then married to Atlanta musician and classmate James Newman in 1960. However, she had a miscarriage. The couple went on to have two children. When Knight was 20, Newman became a drug addict and abandoned the family. However, they remained married until 1973. In 1974, Knight married Barry Hankerson, who created Blackground Records. The couple had one son together in 1976. In 1979, their marriage ended. The divorce was dramatic and involved a prolonged custody battle for their son. In 1995, Knight married motivational speaker Lee Brown but the couple later divorced in 1997. In 2001, Knight married William McDowell. Together, they have seventeen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. They live in Fairview, North Carolina.

Knight had a gambling addiction for over a decade. She did not seek help for the addiction until losing $60,000 in one night at a baccarat table, after which she joined Gambler's Anonymous. The group helped her quit the habit. Knight grew up Baptist and then began practicing Catholicism. She later was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in 1997. She got acquainted with LDS president, Gordon B. Hinckley, and teased him that the church needed to inject more pep into their music. Hinckley agreed and the Saints Unified Voices gospel music choir was formed. The group went on to win Grammy Awards for their music.

Real Estate

In 1997 Gladys paid $695,000 for a home in Las Vegas, Nevada. She sold this home in 2018 for $720,000. The home was reportedly hard to sell because it had quite a few customizations, such as a recording studio in the basement. They continue to own a home on a golf course in nearby Henderson, Nevada.

In 2007 Gladys bought a 20-acre farm in Fairview, North Carolina.

Reynolds High School Renovation

In 2015 Gladys and her husband William McDowell bought a former high school in the town of Canton, North Carolina. In addition to being the former high school attended by McDowell, it was also at one time one of only a handful of African American schools in North Carolina. Gladys and William are hoping to transform the property into a community center after raising $5 million through a foundation they established. As of this writing, the project is not yet complete.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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