Brian Wilson's Wife Is in "Heaven," but His Family Is Grounded in Mourning

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jan. 31 2024, Published 1:10 p.m. ET

Brian Wilson with his wife and three of their children
Source: Getty Images

Everything isn’t so sunny in the life of the Wilson family after the passing of Melinda Wilson. Beach Boy Brian Wilson met his wife in 1986 at a Cadillac dealership. However, on Jan. 30, 2024, he shared in a heartfelt message on social media that Melinda had passed away at the age of 77 years old after 28 years of marriage.

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Now that Brian is back in the public eye, Beach Boy fans are wondering how many children he has and what they’re up to. He and Melinda actually adopted five children together in addition to Brian’s two children from his first marriage.

Brian Wilson on stage with his daughters Carnie and Wendy, who are part of Wilson Phillips
Source: Getty Images
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Brian Wilson has seven children over the course of two marriages.

Before he met Melinda, Brian was married to Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford (née Rovell) from 1964 to 1979. Like Brian, Marilyn was a singer who started in a family band. While the Beach Boys rose to fame, Marilyn’s family trio, initially called the Rovell Sisters, rebranded as the Honeys. Throughout their 15-year marriage, Brian and Marilyn had two children together, Carnie and Wendy, born in 1968 and 1969, respectively.

Carnie became a singer and television personality and even followed in her father’s footsteps. She and her younger sister, Wendy, formed the pop trio Wilson Phillips with their friend, Chynna Phillips. Chynna is also pop royalty, the daughter of the Mamas & the Papas members John and Michelle Phillips.

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Carnie has appeared on various television shows, from That '70s Show as a guest star to The Talk as a guest host. She married musician and producer Robert Bonfiglio in 2000, with whom she shares two daughters, Lola (born in 2005) and Luciana (born in 2009), making Brian a grandfather.

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Wendy had a similar trajectory to her older sister, appearing in shows such as Supernanny and the Tyra Banks show, Amazing Moms. She married record producer and sound engineer Daniel Knutson in May 2002 and they share four sons: Leo Evan (b. 2003), Beau Alexander (b. 2004), and twins Will Hunter and Jesse Miles (b. 2007).

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With Melinda, Brian adopted five more children. Their eldest two, Daria and Delanie, were in the picture before the turn of the century, and the younger three, Dylan, Dash, and Dakota were adopted after 2000. Although Daria and Delanie are in their 20s by now, they stay mostly out of the spotlight and don't have public social media profiles.

Brian Wilson and his children honored his late wife, Melinda Wilson, in a social media post.

Brian and Melinda’s love story is one for the ages — it’s so unique that it was even made into a film, Love and Mercy, which starred Elizabeth Banks and John Cusack. Brian was famously caught up in a controlling relationship with his psychotherapist, Eugene Landy, in which Eugene allegedly drugged Brian with uppers and downers to keep him in his pocket.

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However, Melinda helped him escape from the toxic and abusive relationship, which is why he credits her as his “savior.” After he got out of his situation with Eugene, Brian and Melinda reunited and married three years later in 1995. “I remember meeting her at her dealership, Cadillac, and I said, ‘God, she’s a pretty girl. That’s a pretty girl,’” he said on ABC (via Variety). “I just said to myself, ‘God, I think I’ll see her again sometime.’”

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