Pat Boone married his high school sweetheart, Shirley, and they stayed together for 65 years until they were separated by death. Boone still lives in the home where he and Shirley raised their daughters. Even though he’s alone, he’s certain he will soon be reunited with his better half. For now, he enjoys life as a grandfather and great-grandfather.
Pat Boone is a successful musician who gained fame in the late 1950s. He was married to his high school sweetheart Shirley Boone for 65 years.
A friend on Pat’s basketball team introduced them to each other. Shirley was sitting on a bench, and the friend made Pat aware she was the daughter of country musician Red Foley. Pat admitted to not being the biggest fan of country music then, but since he already liked Shirley, that changed quickly.
The singer said their shared connection was rare, especially for 16-year-old high school students. “We were very much in love,” he confirmed. They dated nine months before their first kiss, and Pat was very nervous.
He confessed he only gave Shirley a shaky peck on the lip and left, but his girlfriend was not impressed. When she got home, she asked, “Is that what I waited nine months for?”
But Pat was nervous and feared ruining what he had with Shirley, ending up like his other high school relationships. However, the 16 year olds attraction only got stronger. When they turned 19, Pat’s asked Shirley’s father for his hand in marriage.
Pat teared up, telling the story. He explained how emotional Shirley’s father was to see how much they loved each other. “Will you take care of my girl?” asked Shirley’s father.
Foley was emotional because he had planned to move away with his daughter, but he realized he had to leave her with Pat. The singer promised to take care of Shirley, and he did love his wife for the next 65 years they were together. Without knowing what the future held for them, Shirley and Pat eloped and took a chance at one another.
What Life Did Pat and Shirley Have, and How Did They Say their Last Goodbye?
Pat and Shirley eloped in 1953 then settled in Teaneck, New Jersey, where they also welcomed four daughters by the time they were 23 years old.
The couple supported each other; Shirley stayed home and cared for the children while Pat worked hard to graduate from Columbia University and win crowds over with his music.
However, things were looking bright for the singer; by the time he was 22, he already had his network music variety show and was one the youngest artists to achieve that.
He also had a fourth child on the way, so having his family grow while his career was booming felt like a miracle. Boone also hit another milestone when he graduated cum laude from Columbia University.
As a woman married to a music star, Shirley knew there would be a lot of parties involving alcohol, and as Boone’s music was a magnet for many young girls, she knew the music videos would have him touching and kissing other women.
Therefore, Pat was also aware of the position his music career put his wife in, so he recalled asking Shirley for permission to kiss Shirley Jones in his “April’s Love” music video.
Pat was honest about the kissing and drinking that would occur, so after the whole ordeal, they recommitted themselves to their marriage because their union and family were always a priority.
Shirley and her husband were religious; therefore, they credited the strength of their marriage to their faith. “We made our commitment in marriage to God and each other,” Pat said.
His music became so big that he was second to the legendary Elvis Presley in the early 1960s. One of his biggest hits, “You Light up My Life,” which topped the charts in the ’70s, was sung by his daughter Debby.
The singer brought his family on tour with him, and sometimes, the Boone family would perform together and sing several gospel and pop songs across the country.
After spending over six decades with his wife, Pat had only good things to say about her. He revealed that Shirley was most fulfilled when she was a good wife, mother, and grandmother. She loved to bring people together and fill up a space with happiness.
Shirley was also a woman of many talents. She was a successful author, recording artist, television host, and humanitarian. Pat admitted that keeping a marriage strong for 65 years was not the easiest journey, but he had the perfect wife beside him. The singer reflected on his long union and said,
“We didn’t have the perfect marriage, but it helps to marry a magnificent woman. You commit to God and each other, and in troubled times, you hang on to the commitment to God and your kids. You see the problems through and find you’re stronger because of it.”
Pat said goodbye to the love of his life when she died in 2019 at 84 years old. Shirley reportedly passed due to complications with vasculitis, which she was diagnosed with a year before her death.
The multifaceted Shirley died peacefully, surrounded by her family. Her husband was beside him, along with their four daughters, Debby, Cherry, Lindy, and Laury, who sang her hymns as she took her last breath.
On the first Mother’s Day the Boone family spent without Shirley, daughter Debby praised her mother for embodying a mother’s love.
Shirley left this world as a mother of four, grandmother of 15, and great-grandmother of 11. She loved her maternal role and extended that love to many more in her family.
Pat Boone’s Family
Since having four children at 23 years old, Pat’s family has grown bigger throughout the decades. He and Shirley welcomed their daughter, Debbby, in 1956. She married her husband, Gabriel Ferrer, in 1979, and they have four children together.
Debby is also musically talented, like her father. Some of her biggest hits include “You Light Up My Life” and “Keep the Flame Burning.” She’s also a three-time Grammy Award winner with ten nominations.
Pat shared a family picture from Thanksgiving with all his daughters. Debby, in a pink turtleneck, beamed as she sat in between her sisters.
Linda, seated on the far left, has overcome some serious obstacles in her life. When her son Ryan was a little boy, he fell three stories from a skylight roof and crushed his skull.
Several doctors told Linda her son would be vegetative even if he survived the severe injuries. But she did not give up on her child. She prayed to God to get him better, and after much medical attention, Ryan was said to be doing much better than doctors had predicted.
Ryan’s accident resulted in extreme anxiety toward men he feels threatened by, but Linda revealed that she relies on medical marijuana to help calm him down.
Linda also said Ryan got along with her father and all the other men in her family, but his anxiety limited the type of places they could go to. However, when they have to go to church, she gives him a brownie with medical marijuana, which helps calm him down.
Sitting next to Linda is her oldest sister, Cherry, born in 1954. She struggled with anorexia nervosa in the 1970s, but luckily, she had her husband, Dan O’Neil, who ensured she got the necessary medical attention.
On top of dealing with a mentally ill wife, O’Neil confessed he also had to fight with Pat because he did not believe Cherry needed psychiatric care.
Even more intimidating was that O’Neil disagreed with one of the most prominent musicians at the time, who also happened to be his father-in-law.
However, Cherry also attested to feeling a lot of pressure because of who her father was in society. She considered her father perfect and wanted to live up to it. Therefore, she went too hard on her diet and exercise, which became unhealthy for her body.
But Cherry has a healthier relationship with herself and her parents after seeking treatment. She has become her true self, resulting in fewer clashes with the family.
At the far right of the Thanksgiving picture is Laury, who has chosen to lead a life outside the limelight. Not much has been reported about her, but she was part of a 1986 short film, “No Alibis.”
The Boone family have swiftly integrated the daughter’s spouses into the family. Debby shared a picture of her, her father, and Linda out for dinner. She said Linds’s husband had taken Pat out for his 88th birthday. The father of four had his hands wrapped around his daughters with a big smile.
But the family does not only meet up for special occasions; Debby also posted an adorable photo of her and her father after she gave him an impromptu visit.
Shirley left a legacy of her faith in God with her children. She once revealed that every day she and her daughter would sing and do devotionals before breakfast and go to church three times a week.
Shirley passed down the same teachings to her grandchildren. She said, “I always tell them three things. God loves you. Your parents and grandparents love you. And you are a good girl or boy.”
Debby and Cherry are also proud parents and grandparents. Debby shared a baby picture of her son Jordan Ferrer and praised him for being the perfect son and father.
On the other hand, Cherry cannot get enough of her grandchildren. She posted a cute picture of her grandaughter Hayley and shared that she could now construct complete sentences. She also shared a picture of Hayley bonding with her younger sibling.
Pat Boone Lives Alone at 88 and Is Sure He Will Reunite with His Beloved Wife
At 88 years old, Pat still loves to make good movies and hit records. But he admitted that his grandchildren love his attention and have taught him to slow down.
Pat admitted then when he’s working too much, his grandchildren put their hands on his face and demand he listens, so now he’s always excited and attentive to everything they want to tell him. And when he is not around, he keeps in touch with his grandkids on Skype.
Although it was heartbreaking for Pat to lose his Shirley, he’s kept his head up because he believes he will soon be reunited with his better half. He said, “We don’t die, we just move on to another place, and today was moving day.”
Pat further expressed that Shirley was not gone, but she had changed her address and was sure they would be together again and have a fresh start in heaven.
In fact, he revealed he and Shirley had always had the same vision. She wanted them to be the strong couple they were on earth in heaven.
Now Pat lives alone in the home he shared with Shirley and where they raised their four daughters. “I am living with a housekeeper and my dog, a little cocker spaniel,” he said.
The home is on Beverly Drive and Sunset Boulevard, sitting on 1.2 acres, and is right next to the Beverly Hills Hotel, explained Pat. “But I want to live right there. I feel Shirley’s presence in that home she decorated and where all my girls grew up,” he clarified.
Boone also has his housekeeper and dog living with him. He admitted that things get lonely because he misses his wife, but he was doing fine.
On Father’s Day, his daughter Debby shared photos of the amazing fathers in her life, and she included a special video of Pat dancing, trying to do the “Get Your Dad To Dab” challenge for the Ellen DeGeneres show.
The actor has also not stopped working; in 2022, he starred in the movie “The Mulligan Movie.” He also published a book, “If,” where he speaks about how his faith in God changed his life and made him a superstar.
Last year, Pat revealed several of his Christmas songs were not released and would be made available on streaming platforms for fans to enjoy. Apart from working on new music, in his free time, his guilty pleasure is driving luxury cars.
While Pat is enjoying his life alone, he confessed that should he be allowed to see Shirley he would drop dead immediately. The singer hopes that he and his wife will still share the same love in heaven.