Bob Dylan likes to keep his personal life private, but people close to the musician say that he is close to his large family. Dylan has been married twice — although some speculate he’s had several more marriages by implication — and he has six children. Managing fame and family life is a challenge, but Dylan’s boyfriend says he handles it better than most. His children have also said they have a close relationship with their father.
In 1965, Dylan married his first wife, actress and model Sara Lownds. Dylan adopted her daughter Maria from a previous marriage. The couple shared four other children, Jesse, Anna, Sam and Jakob. Dylan and Lownds divorced in 1977.
Almost a decade later, Dylan married his backup singer, Carolyn Dennis, a few months after she gave birth to their daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan. The couple divorced in 1992, and their relationship and co-parenting remained a secret for years.
TIED TOGETHER: Paul McCartney said Bob Dylan never stopped touring because of his romantic relationships
In 1966, Dylan was involved in a motorcycle accident and retired from public life. He said part of the reason for his reclusiveness is his desire to spend time with his young children.
“Then I had this motorcycle accident that disabled me,” he told Rolling Stone in 1992. “Then when I woke up and came to my senses, I realized I was just working for all of this leech. And I didn’t want that. Also, I had a family and I just wanted to see mine children.”
Dylan has a large family, but he has kept his relationship with his children private. Longtime friend Louis Kemp said that while Dylan had a hard time maintaining friendships, he managed his family life well. According to Kemp, Dylan doesn’t often talk about his children, but they are one of the most important parts of his life.
“He doesn’t like bringing his family in [the public eye]’ Kemp said in the book Down the highway by Howard Sounes, adding: “He’s always kept it private, not least for her protection. He handled it better than anyone I’ve ever seen become famous.”
In general, Kemp believes Dylan has managed his fame effectively.
“He didn’t let his tail wag the dog,” Kemp said, noting, “He controlled it and never fell for it.”
Dylan’s son Jakob is also a musician but avoids talking too much about his father in interviews.
“If people want to talk about Bob Dylan, I can talk about it,” he told the New York Times in 2005. “But my father belongs exclusively to me and four other people. I’m very protective of that. And telling people if he was loving tells people a lot. It has so little to do with me. I’m running into a wall.”
Despite this, he said that Dylan was a good dad who never missed a little league game.
“Yes, he was loving,” he said. “When I was a kid, he was a god to me for all the right reasons. Other people have given him this label in an otherworldly sense. I say it like any kid who admires their father and had a great relationship with him.”