Bob Marley's Children: All About the Reggae Legend's Sons and Daughters

Bob Marley's Children: All About the Reggae Legend's Sons and Daughters Damian, Ziggy, Stephen, Kymani and Julian Marley, sons of Bob Marley, perform onstage at the "Roots, Rock, Reggae Tour 2004" at the Filene Center August 8, 2004 in Vienna, Virginia

Some of Bob Marley’s children have followed in his musical footsteps

Bob Marley was a reggae icon and a beloved father of 11 children.

The late singer welcomed three children with his wife Rita Marley — Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen — and adopted her daughters Sharon and Stephanie from other relationships. Bob also had other kids during his marriage to Rita — Robbie, Rohan, Karen, Julian, Ky-Mani and Damian — all of whom have different mothers.

Rita told PEOPLE in 1984 she was unfazed by Bob's dalliances outside of their marriage. “It gives me more love for Bob to have him hand these legacies down to me. I never mingled in the other women’s affairs. I was always his very special one," she said.

While Bob died in 1981 at 36 years old, many of his children have embarked on music careers of their own and continue to carry on his legacy. They also understand their late father's impact on fans worldwide.

"Bob means to them according to the impact he had on their lives," Ziggy told Rolling Stone in 2014. "For some of us, he will be a friend, a father, a brother. For others, he would be a legend, a king, a prophet. He was all of those things, but not all of those things all the time. Sometimes he was just a regular person just having fun."

Ahead of the February 2024 release of the biopic Bob Marley: One Love,which Bob's son Ziggy executive produced, he penned an emotional letter to his late father for PEOPLE.

"My smile is honoring you. I laugh, and it looks like your laugh. Pieces of you are a part of me," he wrote. "You would’ve loved being a grandpa [Ziggy is a dad to seven children]. I see a little bit of something of you [in them] every now and again ... The grandkids get a piece of you through us. Everything we do is connected to you."

Months earlier, Rohan shared a measured response to his father's legacy with PEOPLE. "We chose to listen to our father. He's not the end all be all, but he's the beginning," he said in October 2023. "Your father's not perfect, especially the man that left this earth at 36 years old. But he tapped us into a way of life."

Here's everything to know about Bob Marley's children and how they've helped his music and message live on for generations.

Sharon Marley, 59

Bob adopted Rita's daughter Sharon Marley, who was born on Nov. 23, 1964, after the couple married in 1966.

Sharon began making music when she was 12 years old and created the band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers in 1979 with three of her siblings. The band toured the world, released 10 albums and won several Grammys. Sharon also worked for her brothers' record label, Ghetto Youth United.

Her passions have also extended beyond music and into caregiving and education. Sharon founded the Total Care Learning Centre, and she has been an advocate for Montessori-style teaching. She also cares for her four children: Donisha, Inglemar, Matthew and Peter-Shane.

Cedella Marley, 56

Cedella Marley was born to Bob and Rita on Aug. 23, 1967, in Kingston, Jamaica. She was a member of the Melody Makers and eventually expanded her horizons into other art forms, appearing in movies including 1989's The Mighty Quinnalongside Denzel Washington and 1993's Joey Breaker.

After the Melody Makers' journey ended in 2002, Cedella became CEO of Bob's record label, Tuff Gong International, and began to focus on fashion design. In addition to her own clothing lines, Cedella teamed up with Puma to design Jamaica's track and field uniforms for the 2012 Olympics — including for decorated sprinter Usain Bolt — and Olympic-inspired looks for fans.

"I said this to Usain, 'It's the first time Dad is actually going to the Olympics,' " Cedella recalled in a video on the Bob Marley YouTube channel. "'And you're going to be wearing him on your shoulder.' "

That wasn't the last time Cedella would collaborate with athletes in a huge way. In 2014, Cedella donated to Jamaica's women's soccer team, the Reggae Girlz, through the Bob Marley Foundation, effectively saving the team from dissolving entirely.

After a difficult start, the team disbanded again, but Cedella resurrected them once more in 2016. Three years later, the Reggae Girlz became the first women's soccer team from the Caribbean to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup.

"It's a choice that the girls have made to play, and we should give them an even field to go out and kick the ball," Cedella told ESPN in 2019. " 'Football is freedom.' That's a quote from Bob Marley."

Cedella's business savvy, as well as her love for design, is something she has in common with her late father.

"He started his own record label. He was one of the handful of Jamaicans at the time who actually owned their own pressing plants. He wasn't just pressing his own records, but other Jamaican artists [too]," she told Rolling Stone in 2014. "He was the first one to design and wear a Bob Marley T-shirt. He was very savvy. He believed in owning everything that could make him succeed in whatever it was he was doing."

Cedella married David Minto in 1993 and the pair have two sons, Skip and Soul-Rebel.

David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley, 55

Perhaps the best-known Marley after Bob, David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley was born to Bob and Rita in Kingston on Oct. 17, 1968.

Ziggy began playing music at a young age and sat in on Bob Marley and the Wailers' recording sessions starting when he was just 10 years old. He formed Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers in 1979 with siblings Sharon, Cedella and Stephen, releasing the track "Children Playing in the Streets" the same year. Bob wrote the song for the group before his death, and they donated all the royalties from the tune to the United Nations during the International Year of the Child.

"My father was the one who got us into music. He's the one who wrote the first song that [the Melody Makers] ever sang. He was the one in the studio recording it, putting down guitars on the track, and the first concert we did as a group was a concert my father was on," Ziggy told Rolling Stone.

The budding reggae artist was just 12 years old when Bob died in 1981, but he shared with PEOPLE in 2024 that he never forgot his father's last words. “[He said] ‘On your way up, take me up. On your way down, don’t let me down,' " Ziggy said.

"A father-son relationship is very deep, and it’s a spiritual thing also. We share a certain spiritual foundation — my father, myself, my brothers and my sisters. So that word means exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m doing," he added.

With their father's inspiration, the Melody Makers took off in earnest in 1984, three years after Bob's death, and performed throughout Jamaica. They released their second album, Play the Game Right,in 1985, and the group continued releasing music, netting three Grammy Awards from eight nominations before breaking up in 2002.

Ziggy continued making music, releasing his debut solo album Dragonflyin 2003 and winning his fourth Grammy for his 2006 solo album Love Is My Religion. In 2010, Ziggy won a Grammy for best musical album for children for Family Time, which featured some of his siblings as well as his mom Rita, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson and Paul Simon. In total, Ziggy has won eight Grammys from 15 nominations.

Ziggy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Orly Agai, with whom he shares a daughter, Judah Victoria, and three sons: Gideon, Abraham Selassie and Isaiah Sion. Ziggy also has three children — Bambaata, Justice and Zuri — from previous relationships.

The musician draws his "strength" from his mom, whom his children affectionately call Nana Rita.

"My mom is the backbone of everything," Ziggy told PEOPLE in February 2024. "Without her, none of this would’ve been happening. My father's career wouldn’t be what it is."

Robert "Robbie" Marley, 52

Robert "Robbie" Marley was born on May 16, 1972, to Bob and Pat Williams. He has maintained a low profile, but he spoke to Collider in 2012 about his father, describing him as "quiet, patient, strict" and added that Bob was "a teacher and a father, not just to us but to all."

Robbie also said that being Bob's son was a blessing. "It benefits. There's no negative in that," he said.

The same year, Robbie revealed that his favorite song of his father's was "Redemption Song."

Rohan Anthony Marley, 52

Rohan Anthony Marley was born in Kingston on May 19, 1972, to Bob and Janet Hunt.

He played college football alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ray Lewis at the University of Miami and later played professionally in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders. In 2009, he founded the organic coffee farming business Marley Coffee, and two years later, he launched the House of Marley line of headphones and audio equipment.

Rohan has been married twice: first to Geraldine Khawly, with whom he shares son Nicholas "Nico" Marley, a former NFL linebacker, and daughter Eden. He was also in a relationship with Lauryn Hill from 1996 to 2009, and they share five children: Zion David, Selah Louise, Joshua Omaru, John Nesta and Sara. In 2019, Rohan married model Barbara Fialho, with whom he shares a daughter.

In 2014, Rohan told Rolling Stonethat his father instilled in him a desire to make the world better for those who would come after him.

"You don't want to do things just for you ... My father did not do that. If it's positive, we can do it. When you have more, you can do more. That's sustainability," he said. "That's my father: There's no limitations. When I stop, it should be greater than I. The ones that come after I should be greater than I."

After launching the cannabis brand Lion Order in 2023, Rohan opened up to PEOPLE about the "nepo baby" label he said some had tried to put on him.

"It don't work like that," Rohan said. "You really have to take on to a teaching, take on to responsibility. It's not like just because my dad is Bob, that's why I am this way. No, no, no."

Stephen Robert Nesta Marley, 52

Stephen Robert Nesta Marley was born to Bob and Rita on April 20, 1972, in Wilmington, Delaware. He was raised in Kingston.

Joining his siblings in Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, 7-year-old Stephen served as the group's primary instrumentalist, providing vocals on a handful of tracks and infusing their sound with dancehall elements.

In 1999, Stephen produced Chant Down Babylon, a remix and cover album of his father's tracks that spawned the hit "Turn Your Lights Down Low" by Lauryn Hill. In 2022, he used those producing skills again for the tribute albumCelebrating Nina: A Reggae Tribute to Nina Simone, featuring his sister Cedella and several other artists.

Like his brother Ziggy, Stephen has won many awards, including eight Grammys from 11 nominations.

Stephen is also a father, having welcomed multiple children with different women throughout his life. In December 2022, Stephen's 31-year-old son, Joseph "Jo Mersa" Marley, who was also a musician, died.

That same year, Stephen opened up to PEOPLE about the lasting effects of Bob's legacy.

"My father's music was his greatest gift as an artist. It has always and will continue to bring many people together from around the globe and from all walks of life. The music and his words have remained relevant to the times in which we are living," Stephen said. "He made timeless music and represented a way of life that has inspired people to be better, be stronger and be more conscious."

Bob's son added, "My father was a superhero dad. He could be mild-mannered one minute, and the next minute, he's off saving the world. I try to honor him every day."

Karen Marley, 51

Karen Marley is the daughter of Bob and Janet Bowen. Born in London in 1973, she was raised first by her great-grandparents in Jamaica, then by Rita, whom she has called one of her "maternal figures."

Karen is a fashion designer who has kept a low profile. She explained to Rolling Stonein 2014, "Sometimes when I speak about my dad it is a little touchy for me. I wanted to just live without someone going, 'Oh, there's Karen Marley.' I have to put my name out there because I opened a business ... I'm not a musician. I like to be a little bit under the radar."

She launched her eco-friendly brand, By Karen Marley, on International Women's Day in March 2022 and she told that she felt inspired by her family and heritage.

“My father cared deeply for our planet — the people and everything else within it,” Karen said. “His sense of style was relaxed and laid-back, and in essence, the origin for my easy, conscious style.”

Stephanie Marley, 49

Stephanie Marley was born to Rita and a man named Ital on Aug. 17, 1974, and later adopted by Bob.

In the late 1990s, Stephanie attended the University of Western Ontario in Canada, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. About a decade later, she helped to open the Marley Resort & Spa in Nassau, Bahamas, designing the interiors of the hotel with sister Cedella, per Vanity Fair.

According to the Jamaica Observer, Stephanie launched a modeling and talent agency called B'uniqk (pronounced "be unique") in 2013. The company represented some of Stephanie's nieces and nephews, including Ky-Mani's children Khristian and Manna, Ziggy's daughter Zuri and Stephen's children Stephan and Summer.

She also served as the director of the Rita Marley Foundation after years of working in her dad's organizations.

“It’s a way of life. That’s the way we were raised. I strongly believe the fame my parents earned, the success they have achieved, is because they’re gifted with kindness," Stephanie told a crowd at her alma mater in 2015. "I think Bob’s true purpose was — all the work, all his music — for him to achieve that level. With what his legacy has left behind, we are able to help so many people.”

Julian Ricardo Marley, 49

Julian Ricardo Marley was born in London to Bob and Lucy Pounder on June 4, 1975, and grew up dividing his time between Jamaica and the United Kingdom. A largely self-taught musician on instruments including the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums, Julian has credited his partly British upbringing for much of his success.

"I feel privileged to be part of the musical roots that my father laid in England," he told 247 Magazine ahead of his 2010 U.K. tour. "I look forward to relating the cultural gifts and musical creations that he has bestowed on me."

Julian has released several albums, starting with his debut in 1996. Despite also working in the music industry, Julian has said he doesn't feel pressured to live up to his father's fame.

"You can't do twice as much; you have to do what you can do," he told The Guardian Nigeria in 2020. "You have to do what you are supposed to do, [because] everyone has a mission. Everyone has something to do."

In 2024, Julian won his first Grammy for best reggae album. The musician also earned two earlier nominations.

Ky-Mani Marley, 48

Born Feb. 26, 1976, to Bob and table tennis champion Anita Belnavis, Ky-Mani Marley is a reggae artist who was born in Falmouth, Jamaica, but raised primarily in Miami.

Ky-Mani was only 5 years old when Bob died of cancer. “I have one memory of my father just being in the countryside, with him and my older brother Stephen," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2022. "I keep that memory very dear to my heart.”

This experience inspired a lot of Ky-Mani's music, including the song "Dear Dad," with lyrics like, “Dear Dad, I really didn’t get to know you / Sometimes I sit and wonder and it makes me blue / But there is one memory that stays on the back of my mind / And this memory got me thinking ’bout you all the time.”

Although he eventually got into music in high school, Ky-Mani focused more on sports growing up, playing soccer and football competitively. After getting the attention of a producer in Jamaica who had worked with his dad, Ky-Mani released his debut album, Like Father Like Son, in 1996 — he has since been nominated for a Grammy for his album Many More Roads.

Ky-Mani has also dabbled in acting, starring in One Loveand Shottas, as well as appearing in the 2016 Nick Cannon movie King of the Dancehall.

Damian Robert Nesta Marley, 45

Damian Robert Nesta "Jr. Gong" Marley was born on July 21, 1978, to Bob and the jazz singer Cindy Breakspeare. His nickname is an offshoot of Bob's nickname, "Tuff Gong."

Damian began pursuing music when he was just 13 years old with a band called the Shephards, but the group broke up within the next few years. In 1996, he released his debut album on his family's Tuff Gong label, Mr. Marley, which was co-produced by his brother Stephen.

The musician's sophomore release, which Stephen also co-produced, Halfway Tree, was released in 2001, and won the Grammy for best reggae album in 2002 — the same year Ky-Mani was nominated for Many More Roads.

Damian made history at the 2006 Grammys when he became the first reggae artist to win two Grammys in the same ceremony: He won best reggae album for Welcome to Jamrock and best urban/alternative performance for the album's title track. He was also the first reggae artist to win the latter award.

The singer has also worked on several high-profile musical projects for other artists, including "Cruise Control" by Mariah Carey, "Bam" by Jay-Z, "Liquor Store Blues" by Bruno Mars and "Now That You Got It" by Gwen Stefani. In 2010, he released the album Distant Relatives with Nas.

His fourth solo album, Stony Hill, was released in August 2016 and won best reggae album at the 2017 Grammys.

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