It is often said that behind every great man stands a great woman. However, in the case of the legendary Chuck Norris, he is fortunate enough to be supported by not just one, but two remarkable women in his life: his wife and his mother.
Chuck Norris, the acclaimed martial arts expert and actor who is now 81 years old, is happily married to former model Gena O’Kelley. He frequently expresses his admiration for her on social media. In November, the couple celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary, and Chuck took to Instagram to share his heartfelt sentiments about the woman by his side. He wrote, “22 years ago, I became the luckiest man in the world when Gena and I got married. Happy Anniversary, my beautiful wife! There are no words to describe my love and appreciation for you. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I praise God for every day we are together.”
Besides his loving wife, Chuck Norris is also blessed with the presence of another strong and supportive woman: his mother, Wilma Norris Knight. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday in May. Chuck often speaks about the challenging life his mother has endured, yet she has always maintained her faith and regularly offers prayers for her eldest son.
Wilma Norris Knight’s struggles began at a young age when she was diagnosed with a rare disease at just 8 years old. She spent two years confined to a children’s hospital, separated from her family. Living in severe poverty, she was unable to enjoy a normal childhood when she was finally discharged at the age of 10. Instead, she had to assume the responsibility of caring for her family during the Great Depression in rural Wilson, Oklahoma. Her duties included taking on multiple jobs, such as picking cotton, in order to support her loved ones.
Chuck shared, “When done picking one field, they’d often move to another town to pick another field. There was nothing easy about life in the Dust Bowl, especially during the decade of the Great Depression,” in an interview with WorldNetDaily.
Wilma eventually met Chuck’s father, and they married when she was just 16. Sadly, he abandoned her, leaving her alone to raise their three boys. Despite the hardships she faced, Chuck admires his mother for her unwavering perseverance and faith throughout her life. “She’s also endured the deaths of her two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren, and my younger brother Wieland in the Vietnam War. She’s had cancer repeatedly and has gone through roughly 30 different surgeries for a host of issues – and yet she’s still here to tell about it,” Chuck shared with the Christian Post.
Prayer has been an integral part of Wilma’s life, helping her overcome the numerous challenges she has encountered. Chuck attributes his own successes to his mother’s prayers. He said, “My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin. When I was born, I almost died from complications. When I nearly lost myself to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked.”
Chuck also expressed his deep appreciation for his wife, Gena, during Mother’s Day week. He acknowledged her role in managing his various enterprises and serving as the CEO of their new artesian bottled water company, CFORCE. However, he emphasized that she is more than just a business partner; she is the mother of their twins, the love of his life, and his closest confidante.
Chuck’s gratitude to God for the tremendous influence of these two incredible women in his life knows no bounds. At 81 years old, he feels incredibly fortunate to still have his mother by his side. He recognizes and honors the extraordinary life she has led. Indeed, she is a remarkable woman deserving of the utmost respect and admiration.
Join us in celebrating this wonderful woman as she enters her 100th year of life by sharing her inspiring story. Happy 100th birth year, Wilma Norris Knight!