List of celebrities who were widowed young, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Several famous people have suffered the devastating blow of losing a spouse when they were young. Some celebrities lost their spouses to suicide, while others lost their significant others to cancer. Famous actors, musicians, authors, and politicians have all been widowed young.
Who is the most famous person who was widowed young? Courtney Love tops our list. The Hole front woman became a widow at age 30, after her husband Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression for most of his life and his death solidified him as a member of the forever 27 club. Conspiracy theorists believe that Love may have played a role in Cobain’s death.
Pierce Brosnan became a widower at 38 when his wife Cassandra Harris died from ovarian cancer in 1991. Brosnan described the difficult time when his wife was dying of cancer saying “When your partner gets cancer, then life changes. Your timetable and reference for your normal routines and the way you view life, all this changes. Because you’re dealing with death. You’re dealing with the possibility of death and dying.”
Other women who are wives with dead husbands include Amy Yasbeck and Terri Irwin.
Joe Biden became a widower at age 30. His wife of six years, Neilia Hunter, died in a car accident in 1972, along with the couple’s one year-old daughter, Naomi. Their two sons, Beau and Hunter, survived the accident.
Biden married his second wife, Jill Jacobs, in 1975. They have one daughter, Ashley.
Theodore Roosevelt became a widower at age 26. His wife of four years, Alice Hathaway Lee, died after complications with childbirth in 1884, when she was 22. The same day, his mother, Mittie, died of typhoid fever in the same house. Roosevelt left his baby with Lee, Alice, in the care of his sister while he grieved. He resumed custody of his daughter when she was three years old.
Roosevelt married Edith Kermit Carow in 1886. The couple had five children.
Pierce Brosnan became a widower at age 38. His wife of 17 years, Cassandra Harris, died from ovarian cancer in 1991. Brosnan and Harris had one son together, and he adopted her two children from a previous marriage, Charlotte and Christopher, after their father died in 1986. Tragically, Charlotte Harris also died of ovarian cancer in 2013, when she was 41.
Brosnan married Keely Shaye Smith in 2001, and the couple has two sons together.
Jackson Browne became a widower at age 28. His wife of just a few months, Phyllis Major, committed suicide in 1976. The couple had a son, Ethan, who was born in 1973.
Browne married his second wife, Lynne Sweeney, in 1982. Their son, Ryan, was born in 1982.
Lauren Bacall became a widow at age 33. Her husband of 12 years, Humphrey Bogart, died from cancer in 1957 at age 57. The couple had two children, Stephen and Leslie Bogart.
Bacall was married to Jason Robards from 1961-1969. They had a son, Sam.
Martha Washington was widowed at age 25. Her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, died in 1757 when he was 46. The couple had four children together.
Martha married President George Washington in 1759. They raised her two surviving children, Patsy and John. They also raised two of John’s children, Eleanor and George Washington Parke Custis.
Nigella Lawson became a widow at age 41. Her husband of 9 years, journalist John Diamond, died of throat cancer in 2001 at age 47. The couple had two children, Cosima and Bruno.
Lawson married second husband Charles Saatchi in 2003, but they divorced in 2013.
Roman Polanski became a widower at age 36 when his second wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered in 1969. She and four others were stabbed to death in the home she shared with Polanski by the notorious Manson family. They had been married for less than two years, and Tate, 26, was 8.5 months pregnant at the time of her murder.
Polanski has been married to Emmanuelle Seigner since 1989. The couple has two children.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jackie Kennedy became a widow at age 34. Her husband of 10 years, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in November 1963 at age 46. The murder followed the death of their son, Patrick, who died in August 1963 at just two days old. The couple had two other children, Caroline and John Jr.
Jackie married Aristotle Onassis in 1968, but was widowed for the second time in 1975.
Roy Rogers became a widower at age 35. His wife of 10 years, Grace Arline Wilkins, died after complications with childbirth in 1946. They had three children together.
Rogers married Dale Evans in 1947. The couple was together for more than 50 years and had five children together.
Jean Harlow became a widow at age 21. Her husband of just two months, MGM producer Paul Bern, committed suicide in 1932 at age 42.
Harlow was married to her third husband, Harold Rosson, for just eight months between 1933-1934. She died in 1937 at age 26.
Anna Nicole Smith
Roy Orbison was widowed at age 30. His wife of 8 years, Claudette Frady, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966 at age 24. The couple had three sons, but two of them, Roy Dewayne and Anthony, were tragically killed in a fire in 1968.
Orbison married second wife Barbara Orbison in 1969. They raised his son, Wesley, and had two more sons, Roy Kelton and Alex Orbison.
Coretta Scott King
Faith Evans became a widow at age 24. Her husband of three years, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” was shot and killed in April 1997 at age 24. The couple had one son, C.J.
In June 1998, Evans married Todd Russaw and had their first son. Their second son was born in 2007.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was widowed at age 28. His wife of two years, Ellen Louisa Tucker, died of tuberculosis in 1831 when she was 20.
Emerson married his second wife, Lydia Jackson, in 1835. He changed her named to Lidian and called her Queenie and Asia. The couple had four children.