Ray Charles was fighting a paternity suit, after he was accused of being the father of the unborn child of Sandra Jean Betts’ unborn child (September 5, 1963).
The Ohio woman was expecting and would eventually give birth to a baby-girl in October, so she sued to have Ray Charles declared the legal father of the child.
Betts also petitioned the court for medical, hospital and other bills for her and the child, based off of Charles’ soaring income, which at that point, had reached over $1 million per-year.
According to Ms. Betts’ attorney, she met the blind singer backstage during an Ohio concert, after she attended on her 21st birthday.
She went out to California to live with Ray Charles at his request, where the singer paid all of her bills, including her rent.
But when she told Ray Charles she was pregnant with his child, the singer “suddenly got very busy.”
Ray Charles eventually acknowledged Sheila Raye Charles as one of his 12 children with nine different women.
“And we didn’t know about each other until his funeral,” Sheila Raye said. “All my life I wanted someone who knew what it was like being the child of a superstar who didn’t have time for me, and then at his funeral I met 11 brothers and sisters who really did know. It turned out he really did love us all the same … the best he could.”