Who Was Bob Ross's Spouse at the Time of His Death? Facts about His Love Life
Who Was Bob Ross’s Spouse at the Time of His Death? Facts about His Love Life
Love, loss, and a brief marriage marked the late artist and television host Bob Ross’s life. However, one of Bob Ross’s spouses—although they are no longer together—once shared fond memories of her former husband.
Bob Ross became a household name through “The Joy of Painting,” a captivating PBS art series where he imparted his painting knowledge to his viewers. His warm, soothing tone, distinguished beard, and gentle personality were reasons for his fame.
Despite the ups and downs of his personal life, Bob’s love for nature and his artwork live on through his son, who holds only good memories of his late father.
Bob Ross holding up a paint palette & brushes as he stands in front of a wall covered with his landscape paintings in his studio in 1991. | Source: Getty Images
Throughout his life, Bob had been married to three different women before his passing: his first wife, Vicky Ross; his second wife, Jane Ross; and Lynda Lucille Freeman, his third and last spouse.
However, one of Bob’s previous wives had succumbed to cancer, casting a somber note on his marital history. That was also a time when he faced a crisis in his illustrious career.
Bob Ross’ Last Marriage Lasted a Couple of Months
Bob and his third wife, Lynda Lucille Freeman, whom he had known briefly, married on April 7, 1995. However, their marriage was short-lived, as Bob passed away on July 4, 1995, just a few months after their wedding.
The beloved art instructor died of cancer at 52 at his home in Orlando. Besides Freeman, Ross left behind his son, a brother, and a half-brother.
The families of both Bob and Lynda were shattered due to their brief marriage, as well as the painter’s passing. Bob had already weathered a similar storm in his second marriage, compounding his pain.
Despite Bob’s passing, his artistic legacy lives on through his son Steve, who has been continuing in his late father’s footsteps.
Bob Ross at easel painting one of his mountain landscapes as his business partner Annette Kowalski looks on in his studio at home in 1991. | Source: Getty Images
Jane Ross’ Death Left Bob Devastated
Bob married Jane Ross, his second wife, on April 22, 1977. Jane was born and raised in Monongahela, Washington County, Pennsylvania. Although Jane’s profession is unknown, it is known that she was married to another man.
She previously tied the knot with her ex-husband, Charles Herman Worstell, before meeting Bob. However, Jane and Charles had no children together, and their marriage lasted from 1941 until 1976.
Bob initially met Jane after he retired from the military in 1981. Their marriage lasted almost 15 years before Jane sadly died from cancer on August 1, 1992, in Fairfax County, Virginia. She was 51.
Jane’s death left Bob devastated, coinciding with his career crisis involving his business partners, Annette and Walt Kowalski. The Kowalskis played a large role in helping Bob achieve fame through his influential art TV show.
Bob Ross’ First Wife Gave Him a Son
Before Jane and Lynda, Bob was first married to Vicky Ross, who is featured in the 2021 Netflix documentary “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, & Greed,” a gripping documentary of Bob’s life and professional journey.
Bob first met Vicky when he was 18, just before enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1961. On May 28, 1965, the couple tied the knot and soon welcomed their only son, Steve Ross, during their marriage.
Despite their more than a decade-long relationship, the couple divorced in 1977. However, even after their split, Vicky remembered her time with her former husband dearly.
As revealed in the documentary, Vicky reminisced about Bob’s deep appreciation for nature, which was beautifully reflected in his artworks. She also paid tribute to Bob’s previous service to the U.S. government on social media.
In November 2018, Vicky shared a collection of photos on Facebook, showcasing Bob during his time in the U.S. Air Force. The images displayed the well-groomed and uniformed TV personality, highlighting his slick haircut. Her post read:
“I honor my former husband on this Veteran’s Day for his 20 years served in the U.S.A.F.. gone but never forgotten…”
Vicky included a newspaper clipping of Bob, showcasing his iconic bushy hair and a painting he had created. She used the occasion to pay tribute to all veterans who had selflessly served their country and defended their homeland.
Bob Ross’ Son Followed in His Footsteps
Despite Bob’s passing, his artistic legacy lives on through his son Steve, who has been continuing in his late father’s footsteps. According to his website, Steve holds only good memories of his late father. He said:
“He was an amazing man who taught me a lot about life and gave me many opportunities.”
Steve, born on August 1, 1966, took a different path than some celebrity children and learned from his father. Many of Bob’s fans believed he exuded more painting brilliance than his iconic father.
Every brushstroke reflects his love for his father, honoring Bob’s influence on art. In the 80s and 90s, Steve conducted painting workshops nationwide, visiting big cities and small towns, similar to his father’s TV program.
Steve had several appearances on his father’s show, “The Joy of Painting.” Following Bob’s death, Steve stopped painting and avoided public attention for many years. However, in 2019, he returned to organize a painting workshop.
At that time, Bob’s son had no idea how much people would miss him when he started painting again. Recently, Steve has featured painting shows for his artworks on the blogging website Tumblr.
In December 2022, Steve had a heart attack, but he survived the cardiac episode. According to his website, “he is resting and following medical orders and hopes to come out of this stronger than ever.”
Fans will remember the legacy of Steve’s dad in Hollywood, similar to other famous artists who have recently passed away and made a solid name for themselves in the industry, like musician Bobby Caldwell and actors Olivia Newton-John and Ray Liotta.
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