Bill Russell Spouse: Bill Russell has been married four times. He married Rose Swisher in 1956 and was married to her until 1973. He was then married to Dorothy Anstett from 1977 to 1980, and later to Marilyn Nault from 1996 to 2009. Jeannine is his fourth wife.
Bill Russell is a retired professional basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NBA history. He is also known for his advocacy for social justice and civil rights. However, not much is known about his personal life, particularly his spouse. In this article, we will take a closer look at Bill Russell’s spouse and their life together.
Bill Russell Early Life and Career
Bill Russell was born on February 12, 1934, in West Monroe, Louisiana. He attended the University of San Francisco, where he played basketball and led the team to two consecutive NCAA championships. After college, he was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played for the team from 1956 to 1969, winning 11 NBA championships.
Bill Russell’s First Wife was Rose Swisher
Bill Russell married his first wife, Rose Swisher, on December 9, 1956. Rose and Bill were college sweethearts and were together for much of Bill’s NBA success. They had three children together: daughter Karen Russell and sons William Jr. and Jacob.
However, they ultimately divorced in 1973. After the divorce, Rose lived a relatively secluded life away from the public eye.
Bill’s daughter Karen, born in 1962, is reportedly a legal and political analyst who graduated from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. William Jr., his first son, was born in 1957 but passed away from cancer in 2016.
Rose Swisher passed away at the age of 78 on September 11, 2014.
Meeting and Marriage
Bill Russell met his future wife, Rose Swisher, in the 1950s. They were both attending the University of San Francisco, and Rose was a cheerleader for the basketball team. They started dating and got married in 1956, the same year that Bill was drafted by the Boston Celtics.
Bill Russell’s second wife was a former Miss USA
Bill Russell had four wives in his life and married former Miss USA Dorothy Anstett four years after separating from Rose Swisher. Dorothy Catherine Anstett was born on June 28, 1947, and was one of nine children of an aircraft plant worker. She attended the University of Washington and majored in English but later found fame as a beauty queen and pageant titleholder.
In 1967, Anstett competed in the Miss Washington pageant, finishing in second place. She went on to win the Miss Washington USA 1968 crown title. Later that year, she won Miss USA 1968 while studying at Washington. She represented the USA at Miss Universe 1968 in July and placed fourth runner-up.
She married Bill Russell in 1977 but separated three years later in 1980. Dorothy Anstett is still alive today.
His most recent wife was Jeannine
Bill Russell married Marilyn Nault as his third wife in 1996, and their marriage lasted until her death in 2009.
Jeannine Russell, formerly known as Jeannine Fiorito and Jeannine Maddux, was Bill’s wife at the time of his death. The couple got married in 2018, when Russell was 84 years old. Jeannine is a former professional golfer and was frequently featured on Bill’s social media accounts.
Bill Russell Anniversary with family
In January of 2021, Bill Russell took to Instagram to share a photo of himself and his wife renewing their vows. In the caption, he wished his “wonderful wife” a happy one-year vow renewal anniversary and revealed that they had gotten married on January 8, 2020, and renewed their vows on January 24. He also hinted at a special connection to the late basketball star Kobe Bryant, using the hashtag #Kobe connection.
Bill Russell Family Life
Bill and Rose Russell had three children together: a daughter named Karen and two sons, William and Jacob. Karen tragically died of a heart attack in 2020 at the age of 62. William is a former television producer, and Jacob is a doctor.
Challenges and Triumphs
Like any marriage, Bill and Rose’s relationship had its ups and downs. In his autobiography, Bill Russell revealed that he had a difficult time balancing his basketball career and family life, which put a strain on his marriage. However, he also credited Rose with helping him navigate the racial tensions he faced as a Black athlete in the 1950s and 1960s.
In the public eye, Rose was a supportive and loving spouse. She was often seen cheering on her husband from the stands during his games and accompanying him to public events. Bill and Rose were married for 42 years before getting divorced in 1997.
Despite the challenges they faced, Bill and Rose’s marriage lasted for over four decades and produced three children. Rose played an important role in Bill’s life, providing emotional support and helping him navigate the difficult racial climate of the time. While much of Bill Russell’s legacy has been focused on his basketball career and activism, his relationship with Rose should not be overlooked.