billie jean horton bio

Billie Jean Horton Bio: More Than Country Music’s Dazzling Widow

Latest posts by Tena Gasparac (see all)

Music is pure soul food; I don’t know about you, but when I listen to my favorite tracks, something resonates deeply within me. Some tracks make me feel bouncy, while some awaken an irresistible urge to think about memories associated with them. Either way, we love to calm our souls through soothing music that makes everything seem better. Yet have you ever wondered what emotions music invokes in composers and singers? It is for this reason that I find learning about the lives of music icons, like Billie Jean Horton, so inspiring and an essential part of understanding their art.

I love to explore different music genres, and country music is one of the most popular ones to feel the emotions of the musician. 

Billie Jean Horton is one of the country music icons that require no introduction, as she has carved her name over the hearts of music lovers. Some people’s impact is larger-than-life, and so was Billie’s. If you love country music and have recently listened to a song by her, it’s time to know more about her personality, career, and life. So let’s get started with our Billie Jean Horton bio.

Billie Jean Horton Basic Information 

Full Name  Billie Jean Horton z
Hometown  Louisiana, U.S. 
Date of Birth  June 6, 1933 
Zodiac Sign  Leo 
Nationality  American 
Partner/Spouse  Harrison Eshleman (divorced) 


Hank Williams (died 1953)​ 

Johnny Horton (died 1960)​ 

Kent Berlin (divorced) 

Children  3 
Best-selling album/song  “Octopus, Ocean Of Tears, and Angel Hands” 
Net worth  $600,000  
Age  89 years 

Billie Jean Horton Early Life 

Let’s look back and talk about a time when she didn’t know what fate had in store for her. Originally named Billie Jean, she was born in 1933 in Bossier City, Louisiana, to a police chief father. Unfortunately, she never publicly talked about her childhood, family history, and anything else that can give us much insight into that period of her life.

Although she is considered the iconic legend of the industry, due to several accidents in her life, it seemed like her childhood was forgotten. What a shame! Therefore, the public has mostly focused on her unique voice, lyrics, and beats that won many hearts and made her an exceptional singer in America.  

Other than being a singer, in her early life, she also worked as a music promoter. Billie earned a handsome amount from that job, and her net worth kept increasing. That was a great stepping stone for transforming her lifestyle and giving her a future star status. 

More than her professional life, her personal life was a big deal for the media and her curious fans. She was known as the “dazzling widow”(I’ll explain later in this article how she got this title).

Billie Jean Horton Professional Achievements 

Country Singer

If you take a closer look at her professional life, it seems that most of their inspiration for producing great music comes from heartache. She was emotionally devastated and dealing with many personal things along with her career. 

Billie was involved with many well-known musicians, and when they ended, she would write a song about her relationship. Aren’t the most beautiful songs in the world born of broken hearts?

Her creativity in music was one of the things I liked most about her. Also, what I especially liked about digging through her past and finding snippets of her life was that she was not only a passionate person but kind-hearted and friendly with other country singers in the industry; but let’s return to her story.

Along with being a music promoter, she also worked as a recording artist before proving herself as the next big thing. When it came to her career, she was extremely passionate about it as it was her religion. She never backed off when recording or composing a song, as she always wanted to connect with her audience through music. It was Billie Jean’s way of talking to the audience about her life or telling them how she felt, and I strongly believe that this attitude gave her so many loyal fans. 

She managed to release 7-singles, and all of them were hits. Octopus, Ocean of Tears, and Angel Hands were her massive blockbusters, and let’s not forget Ain’t It Funny What A Fool Will Do, Don’t Take His Love, and Johnny Come Lately. Her sweet, soothing voice was a major draw for new fans. Why doesn’t this surprise me?

Billie Jean is one of those people who deserve a biography about their life because of her achievements and constant service to the industry. Along with her music albums, she made sure to keep her dead husband’s legacy alive in every possible way. Her song “Ocean of tears’ even remained on the top 40 blockbuster list throughout 1961. 

During her successful career, she went through painful moments, but every time, she came back stronger and made herself an example for all women struggling with the same problems. Through her songs and lyrics, she created this specific vibe that people could understand and find comfort in. 

Billie Jean Horton Love Life 

Throughout her life, she has been the focus of headlines due to her tragedies. I find it a shame that it even shadowed her career. The public was far more interested in her personal life and who she was dating or about to marry than her beautiful songs. Even now, if you still want to try to learn anything about her, the first thing you will hear about is her marriages to other legendary country musicians. 

Billie Jean’s love life is controversial in the industry because she went through several divorces and heartbreaks. As she was climbing ladders successfully in her career, she was experiencing great trauma in her love life from an early age. 

The first of the heartbreaks was the marriage to her first husband, Harrison Eshleman. It was a time when she was young, beautiful, and had a devoted fan base. Her newlywed husband and she both wanted this marriage to work but unfortunately got divorced after some time. The decision was shocking for her fans, too, because everyone speculated that they were madly in love.  

Additionally, the media reported that her divorce from Harrison Eshleman was caused by her affair with Faron Young. In order to prevent things from getting worse, Harrison filed for divorce as soon as he realized this. Later, Faron introduced Billie Jean to another legendary and handsome country singer, Hank Williams. After a few months, Billie Jean broke up with Faron Young as they were no longer compatible. However, a new love was on the horizon!

It was the very first time Billie Jean fell madly in love with a man and truly wanted to spend her life with him. Can you guess who that mysterious man was? It was Hank Williams!

They took their relationship status one step forward and married in a private ceremony on October 18, 1952, in Minden, Louisiana. Billie Jean was only 19 when she got married to Hank Williams. She was finally happy and was living with the love of her life without being involved in any controversy. A week after their marriage, she became pregnant for the first time.

Unfortunately, William suffered a massive heart attack on New Year’s Eve, 1953, a few days before the birth of their daughter. Hank Williams was buried in Oakwood Cemetery Annex, Montgomery, Alabama, United States. When life threw that curveball at Billie, it was one of the most painful times in her life. Despite her grief, she kept producing music and worked hard to advance in her career.

Jean Norton

In the same year, 1953, Billie Jean married Johnny Horton. He was known as one of the popular and handsome country music singers who won a Grammy award in 1960. This marriage also gifted Billie Jean more children. The couple was quite happy, and their union was essential in promoting her career to new heights. She was successfully producing country music, and Johnny Horton was popular with youngsters for his passionate music. 

Billie Jean and Johnny Horton had two daughters, Yanina and Melody. Thankfully, Horton was a kind-hearted and loving man who accepted Billie completely, and he adopted her daughter, Jerri Lyn, from her past relationship.

In several interviews, Billie Jean spoke of her love for Horton and how much she enjoyed being a mother and wife. Once again, Billie Jean got painful news when Horton died on November 5, 1960. He was driving when he collided with a truck and was declared dead immediately. This news devastated Billie Jean as she was a widow for the second time.

He was buried in Hill Crest Memorial Funeral Home & Park, Red Chute, Louisiana. In addition to her professional career, Billie described her love for Horton as “unconditional love.” Having shared a passion for music, they were inseparable from the moment they met.

After that sad event, she got the title “Country Legend’s Dazzling Widow.” From that moment on, she put every possible effort to keep her late husband’s music alive. 

Billie gained a great reputation from both of her marriages. Also, rumors circulated at that time that she was dating Johnny Cash while the famous singer was married to his first wife. 

The thing about Billie was that she was so attractive and elegant that she got all the attention wherever she went. I can imagine most of the musicians in the industry would try everything to get her attention!

So here comes another marriage for Billie. After Horton passed away, she married one more time to Kent Berlin, an insurance executive. But that marriage, unfortunately, didn’t work out, and once again, she ended up with a divorce. 

Despite being famous, she never stopped appreciating older artists in the industry for their efforts. She always acknowledged them by calling their names and thanking them for inspiring her. Billie Jean was the woman who recognized American music and always encouraged others to contribute to a better future for music. Billie’s life was like a classic movie filled with love, success, pain, and tears. 

Billie Jean’s Present Day 

City Limits

After being away from performing for a long time, people speculate that Billie Jean is dead; however, that is not true. She is 89 years old and living in a facility away from the music industry she served all her life. She is a grandmother now, and her daughters are living in Shreveport. Yanina is quite active on Facebook, where she often uploads pictures of her parents to revive their old days. She is not interested in pursuing music, unlike her parents.  

Melody, her other daughter, never appeared on screen and lived a peaceful life like an ordinary person. In one of Billie’s interviews, she said that her daughter dislikes being part of the limelight. According to reports, she works as a nurse in Shreveport and is not interested in entering the entertainment industry. 


Question: What is Billie Jean most famous for?

Answer: Her life was marked by controversy. Aside from her beautiful music, she is best known for her marriages to iconic country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams Sr and singer Johnny Horton.

Question: How many times did Billie Jean and Johnny Horton get married?

Answer: Originally, they were married privately in northern Louisiana, then in two huge public ceremonies at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans attended by 28,000 paying “guests.” 

Question: Did Johnny Cash fall in love with Billie Jean Horton?

Answer: Yes, if the rumors are true, Johnny Cash indeed fell in love with Billie. Also, there were some speculations that Johnny Cash asked Billie Jean to marry him. This was in 1961 before he met June Carter.

Final Thoughts 

Billie Jean’s life was no less than an exciting journey for music lovers. She was a true artist that built a strong connection with her audience and remained dedicated to her art until the last moment in the industry. People fond of Country music still listen to her album as her voice, lyrics, and passion were unforgettable for everyone. 

Billie Jean rooted her fame deeply in our hearts with her voice and lyrics that reflect freedom and love. From being a songwriter to provoking thoughts, she let us all, including me, contemplate our circumstances to improve the quality of our lives. She was not only a great singer but did her best to get along with her audience by improving the music industry one song at the time.  

She knew what her audience wanted to hear like the back of a hand but never provoked listeners with fierceness. Billie Jean’s kindness, love, and loyalty always keep her alive in the world, whether she is visible to our eyes or not. Billie Jean will always rule the world whenever we need the motivation to move forward with freedom despite tragedies all around. 

Research Citations

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