Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye

"He Wanted to Suffer"

Although he was 33 and Janice 16, the girl's mother "encouraged the relationship," Gaye said.

The lovers holed up in a mountaintop cabin in Topanga Canyon, California. She soon was pregnant, and Nona Gaye arrived in September 1974.

"My first feeling was one of joy and happiness," Gaye said. "Naturally, still being married to Anna, things were a little complicated. But I've learned over the years that sometimes complications are best handled when they're ignored."

Another child, Frankie, was born 14 months later.

Anna and Marvin divorced in 1977, and he married Janice months later. By then, Marvin was using Janice as his voyeurism fantasy dream lover.

Oddly, the singer shared details about his kinky sex life with his mother, Alberta. She said Marvin's sexuality had been informed by Anna Gordy Gaye.

"Anna taught Marvin certain tricks — tricks with her body, sex tricks — that Marvin taught Jan," Alberta told writer Ritz.

Marvin Gaye, Janice and his children
Marvin Gaye, Janice and
his children

As with Anna, Marvin's relationship with Janice included physical violence that some view as a sign of self-loathing. As writer Robert Christgau put it, Gaye "found himself despising women for doing the kinky things he forced them to do."

Before she was 21, Janice had been shooed into affairs with a number of singers, including Frankie Beverly, Rick James and Teddy Pendergrass.

Jeanne Gay said, "Marvin didn't just ask Jan to fool around, but he'd become angry at her when she refused to obey and wouldn't tell him the stories of the affairs he wanted her to have."

His mother added, "He wanted Janice to go with other men. Then he'd suffer with the consequences. He wanted to suffer."

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