Diana Ross’ Daughter Tells How She Discovered Berry Gordy Was Her Dad
Diana Ross’ first born, 46 year old Rhonda Ross, did an interview a while back, where she discussed how she eventually discovered that her Dad was not a tall, Jewish-American man, but rather an African American Motown Records head honcho. For those who don’t know, Rhonda had often been referred to as Diana’s and Berry Gordy’s “love child” throughout the years. She was the product of their undercover relationship that lasted for many years while ‘The boss’ Ms. Ross was with the Supremes and also during her solo career.
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The identity of Rhonda’s real father was kept a secret, although we’re not quite sure why. My guess is that it was because the public didn’t know about Berry’s and Diana’s relationship and maybe they thought it would have tainted Diana’s rep, although many people in the music industry knew. Diana and Berry didn’t completely hide their relationship, but they didn’t publicize it to the world either. Any person on the face of this earth can take one look at Rhonda and clearly see that she is Berry Gordy’s baby, but I guess it is much harder to notice that just by looking in the mirror when you have been lead to believe that someone else was all of your life. Anyways, here’s what Rhonda explained about how she learned Berry Gordy was not “Uncle Berry” but he was ‘Daddy’…
“The bottom line was, I looked just like [Gordy], and my sisters looked just like their father, a 6-foot-tall Jewish American man,” [Rhonda Ross] says. Even so, she’s still close to the man who raised her as his daughter, “though he knew I wasn’t his when my mother was pregnant.”
The oldest of the diva’s five children, Rhonda was nearly 13 when she was told the man she knew as Dad — her mother’s husband and manager, Robert Ellis Silberstein — wasn’t.
Discovering who she really was came as a relief, she says. Gordy was already so close to the family that she and her sisters called him “uncle.” And while it took her awhile to learn the truth, others had guessed it long ago. “I’d meet fans on the street who’d say, ‘Oh child, we knew you were Berry Gordy’s daughter — you look just like him!’ ”
Diana was preparing for “Lady Sings the Blues” while pregnant, and Rhonda thinks that experience led to her own lifelong love of Billie Holiday.
She’s amazed at how her mom juggled five kids and a career. “We were not raised by nannies,” she says. “She’d do a gig in Atlantic City and helicopter back and forth to be there in the mornings to get us off to school. My grandmother was around till I was 13, so we had that support, but my mother didn’t work on Christmas, New Year’s or any of our birthdays.” […]
She’s never lacked for advice, and it’s Gordy who gave her the impetus she needed to sing again. “Recently, he’s advised me that direction is more important than speed,” she says. “I’ve been at this for a while, and now I feel I’m finding my voice and my purpose, and the music I really want to share.”
So as you can see ILOSM family, Diana, Rhonda, Berry and the rest of the Ross clan are all one big happy family now…all’s well that ends well.