Gladys Knight is an iconic American singer who has spent over 50 years entertaining audiences worldwide with her amazing vocal talents. As the lead singer of Gladys Knight & The Pips, she produced a string of number-one hits from the 1960s through the 1980s. Knight has also flourished as a solo act and is considered one of the greatest singers ever.

Gladys Knight Net Worth

Gladys Knight’s net worth is estimated at $28 million. Now age 78, she is still touring and recording new music even after seven decades in the industry. Let’s look at how the “Empress of Soul” built her wealth over an incredible career.

Gladys Knight’s Early Life

Gladys Maria Knight was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 28th, 1944. Her mother was a singer and pianist who exposed Gladys early on to music legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. By age 7, Gladys won local talent shows with her siblings and cousins, who would later form The Pips singing group. 

The family moved to Detroit when Gladys was 10. She grew up fast, dealing with a troubled home life and absent parents. But music became her solace, and by age 16, she had inherited her mother’s duties, leading the newly named “Gladys Knight & The Pips” group when they scored a record deal.

Credits – Google

Gladys Knight’s Success with The Pips

The Pips proved the perfect backing band for Gladys’ magnificent voice. From 1961 to 1962, they scored two top 40 R&B hits, “Every Beat of My Heart” and “Letter Full of Tears,” showcasing Knight’s emotional range as a vocalist. 

Over the next decade, The Pips churned out multiple #1 R&B hits like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “If I Were Your Woman” while touring extensively through the 1960s. Knight’s fame skyrocketed further after several Grammy wins, establishing her distinctive raspy voice and smooth blend of R&B, pop, and soul. 

Gladys decided to part ways with The Pips in 1989 to focus on her solo career. But over 25 years together, they cemented themselves as R&B royalty and one of the best-selling groups in history – setting the foundation for Knight’s massive net worth.

Gladys Knight Solo Success  

While The Pips disbanded, Knight continued finding solo success throughout the 1990s, releasing multiple gold and platinum albums. Her 1991 LP “Good Woman” hit #1 on the R&B charts, proving she could shine without The Pips behind her. 

Knight also tried her hand at acting, appearing in popular TV shows like “The Jeffersons” and “New York Undercover” as well as movies like “Pipe Dreams” and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”.  

In 1995, Gladys delivered her biggest hit in a decade with the chart-topping James Bond theme song “Licence to Kill,” earning her a Grammy. Continued songwriting royalties and album sales allowed her net worth to keep rising substantially.

Gladys expanded her resume in the 2000s by writing an autobiography book, establishing her record label, and overseeing various businesses and philanthropic initiatives, multiplying incoming revenue sources beyond performing that funded her lavish lifestyle over the years.

Credits – Google

Gladys Knight’s Recent Work

While in her late 70s, Knight’s participation in 2018’s season 14 of The Masked Singer introduced her music to a new generation. The exposure sparked renewed interest, allowing Knight to tour the world singing her classics to adoring crowds. 

She also released a new album in 2020 titled “Peace & Love,” showing her vocal talents have not diminished one bit with age. Between constant touring schedules, album proceeds, business ventures, and 60 years of music royalties, Gladys Knight still sits comfortably with an estimated eight-figure net worth. 

With numerous accolades, including seven Grammy awards and going down as the greatest female R&B artist ever, Gladys Knight has enjoyed a fuller career than most musicians could dream of.

Gladys Knight’s Personal Life 

Gladys married her first husband, Jimmy Newman, in the early 1960s. After suffering several miscarriages sadly, Gladys gave birth to son Jimmy III and daughter Kenya in the 70s. However, her drug use put a strain on the marriage, causing Newman to file for divorce in 1973.

Knight married Barry Hankerson in 1974, who became her manager, and had her third child, Shanga Hankerson. Constant arguing led to another divorce years later. 

Gladys then met motivational speaker Les Brown, whom she dated for over a decade but never married. Throughout the years, Knight has credited Brown for saving her from financial ruin and helping turn her life around during her roughest years.

Gladys is a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While often performing in Las Vegas, she chooses instead to live away from the constant spotlight in North Carolina.

Knight faced her toughest battle yet when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2021. After lifesaving surgery and treatment, the music icon has bounced back, returning to touring by the summer, proving she remains undefeatable.

Birth DateMay 28, 1944
NameGladys Maria Knight 
ProfessionAmerican singer
FatherMerald Woodlow Knight, Sr.
MotherSarah Elizabeth Woods
BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Credits – Google

Gladys Knight Unknown Facts

Gladys Knight’s exceptional talent and eventful career have earned her wide name recognition. But here are some lesser-known tidbits about the multi-millionaire music legend:

  • Gladys received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 for her vast musical achievements over 30 years into her career.
  • Her son Jimmy is an accomplished musician who played in her touring band in the 80s. He also appeared on Star Search before becoming a renowned saxophonist.
  • Gladys is constantly active in humanitarian efforts, from writing songs for various causes to donating concert proceeds to her charity organizations supporting youth and education.
  • She reportedly owned several successful restaurants in the past on the side, including the ‘Gladys Knight Chicken & Waffles chain in Atlanta, which boosted her net worth.
  • Gladys has acted as a spokesperson for several national brands like Armor Hammer Baking Soda and Hula Hoops Snacks, which supplemented her income through the years.
  • Knight still lives and records music at her $2 million mansion in North Carolina, which features a professional home studio where she often collaborates with her family.
  • There have long been rumors of Knight facing serious gambling issues that cost her millions in Las Vegas over the past decades. But she never confirmed.


Credits – Google

Very few musicians reach the success benchmarks of Gladys Knight. Her perseverance through personal and health troubles is inspiring. With continued touring providing income alongside business ventures and real estate like her Mansfield, Massachusetts restaurant, Knight should maintain her multi-millionaire status for years as fans pass her timeless music onto future generations.


What is Gladys Knight’s age?

Gladys Knight was born on May 28, 1944. As of 2023, the iconic “Empress of Soul” is 78 years old and still actively touring and creating new music after over 60 years in the entertainment industry.

Who is Gladys Knight? 

Gladys Knight is a legendary American R&B singer regarded as one of the greatest vocalists ever. She first found fame as lead singer of the group “Gladys Knight & The Pips” in the 1960s. With her soulful voice and poignant emotional expressions, Knight set herself apart from her peers, earning the nickname “Empress of Soul.”

Did Gladys Knight pass away?

No, Gladys Knight is still alive and well. 2022 media reports about her death were false. At 78 years old, Knight continues to tour globally and make public appearances. After recovering from a serious health scare, the music icon proves she remains undefeatable despite her age.

What are some of Gladys Knight’s biggest hits? 

Gladys Knight’s decades of chart success with The Pips and solo include iconic hits like “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “That’s What Friends Are For,” “License to Kill,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and “Baby Don’t Change Your Mind.” She has recorded dozens of Top 40 singles that attest to her artistic longevity.

Who were Gladys Knight & The Pips?

The Pips began as a backing band for Gladys Knight in the 1950s,, comprising her siblings and cousins. Together, they forged a distinctive sound melding R&B, soul and pop that resulted in multiple #1 hits through the 60s and 70s, establishing them among music royalty. As Gladys’ fame grew substantially, The Pips disbanded in 1989.

What was the song “Midnight Train to Georgia” about?  

Released in 1973, “Midnight Train to Georgia” became Knight’s signature song about a failed musician giving up on Los Angeles dreams to follow his lady back to her Georgia hometown. Her emotional delivery resonated widely as one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

What is Gladys Knight’s real full name?

Gladys Maria Knight was born in May 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. She hails from a musically gifted family and inherited her mother’s duties fronting the sibling group at age 16 when they took on the name “Gladys Knight & The Pips.”

What is Gladys Knight’s bakeware line?

Leveraging her celebrity appeal, Knight launched her oven-to-table collection in the late 90s called Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles, featuring cast iron cookware and stoneware dishes paying homage to Southern cuisine. Though now discontinued, it joined her restaurants and Desert Springs water brand as side entrepreneurial ventures.