LIVE

The late CNN host was married eight times to seven different woman

By Maria Yagoda and Joelle Goldstein
Updated January 23, 2021 11:20 AM
Advertisement

Larry King — who died on Jan. 23, 2021, at the age of 87 — had a relationship history almost as interesting as his interviews.

He was married eight times, to seven women, beginning with a high school sweetheart in his late teen years, up until his most recent wife, from whom he was estranged at the time of his death.

Despite the marital ups and downs, he relished in fatherhood.

"I'm a good father — nothing beats parenthood," he told PEOPLE in early 2020. "There's an element of pinching myself every day. Look at what I've come through. All in all if you look at it, I've had a blessed life."

Here's a look at Larry's ups and downs over his eight marriages.

Larry King
Larry King
| Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

FREDA MILLER: 1952-53

Larry married his high-school sweetheart at age 18. The next year, the marriage was allegedly annulled by their parents, who didn't approve.

ANNETTE KAYE: 1961

For less than one year, Larry was married to Annette, who gave birth to his first son, Larry Jr., in 1961.

ALENE AKINS: 1961-63

Larry was married to Alene, a former Playboy bunny, twice and adopted her son Andy during their first marriage.

Alene Akins, former Playboy bunny, and Larry King
Larry King, right, with Alene Akins, center
| Credit: State Library and Archives of Florida

MICKEY SUTPHIN: 1964-67

Mickey, the mother of Larry's daughter Kelly, divorced him two years after they were married.

ALENE AKINS (AGAIN): 1968-71

During their second marriage, Alene gave birth to their daughter, Chaia. Tragically, both Andy and Chaia died within 23 days of each other over the summer of 2020, him suddenly and her of lung cancer. "Losing them feels so out of order. No parent should have to bury a child," King shared.

SHARON LEPORE: 1976-83

After he split with Alene, Larry met Sharon, a production assistant and former math teacher.

Larry King and Sharon Lepore
Larry King and Sharon Lepore
| Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage

JULIE ALEXANDER: 1989-92

Julie, a businesswoman, met Larry in 1989. She would become his sixth wife later that year when the two married in Washington. They separated in 1990, two years before they officially divorced.

Larry King And Wife
Larry King and Julie Alexander
| Credit: Darlene Hammond/Getty

SHAWN SOUTHWICK: 1997-2019

Larry and Shawn, 59, wed on Sept. 5, 1997. They share two grown sons: Chance and Cannon.

On Aug. 20, 2019, Larry filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court. He cited irreconcilable differences, and the date of separation is listed as June 6, 2019.

The Kings' marriage was a rocky one: In 2010, Larry filed for divorce after the National Enquirer reported that Shawn had an affair with one of their sons' baseball coaches, Hector Penate. Penate later admitted to the affair, but the couple decided to stay together.

Six years later, sources confirmed to PEOPLE in 2016 that the broadcast icon was distraught about another alleged yearlong affair his wife had been having.

"It's true, and Larry is completely embarrassed and anguished by all of this," one source close to the situation told PEOPLE of the alleged infidelity. "He doesn't know what to do."

RatPac Entertainment Hosts Special Event for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - Red Carpet
Larry King and Shawn Southwick King
| Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Another insider claimed to PEOPLE that Shawn, a former singer and TV host, told her alleged lover that her marriage to Larry was over.

Despite those reports, Larry and Shawn denied any reports of cheating in an interview with Home & Family in August 2016.

"You said an interesting word, 'rumor.' I've been in the business — next May, it'll be 60 years — and I've dealt with rumors a long time," he said. "Interviewed people involved with rumors. Rumors are what they are — they're rumors. And I tell you the truth, I don't pay any attention to them."

Larry King
King with Shawn, their sons Cannon and Chance, and son Larry King Jr., in 2009
| Credit: Michael Schwartz/WireImage

Added Shawn: "Last week, there was a rumor going around about Larry and a speech he made in Kiev. This week, I'm the latest pinup girl. You just have to develop a shell around yourself and not get hard on the inside, and stick together."

The couple appeared to have moved forward until Larry filed for divorce for the second time on Aug. 20, 2019.

In February 2020, King opened up about the split, telling PEOPLE he would "always care" for his wife, but that "it just hit a point where we didn't get along."

"We had a big age difference and that eventually takes its toll," he said. "It became an issue. Also, [Shawn] is a very religious Mormon and I'm an agnostic atheist, so that eventually causes little problems. We overcame a lot, but eventually it became a ships-passing-in-the-night situation."

As of August 2020, the pair were estranged and in the midst of divorce proceedings.