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HomeRelationshipsBill Russell's Wife: Everything About the Woman He Died Beside

Bill Russell’s Wife: Everything About the Woman He Died Beside

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Bill Russell was a Celtics legend, known to have married four times. Here’s everything about Bill Russell’s wife, Jeannine.

Bill Russell’s life and career are nothing short of legendary, and it’s impossible to talk about the NBA without mentioning his name. The former Boston Celtics player was an 11-time NBA champion, and his contributions to the sport have earned him a spot as one of the greatest players of all time.

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Unfortunately, Bill passed away in August 2022 at 88, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations. A Netflix documentary, “Bill Russell: Legend,” was produced in his honor.

The documentary is a two-part series that covers his successes on the court and his activism off of it, giving fans a glimpse into the life of a true icon. Aside from his successful career, Bill married four times and was with his last wife at his death.

Let’s meet Bill Russell’s wife, Jeannine Russell.

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Bill Russell and his wife Jeannine (source: Instagram@realbillrussel)

Who Is Bill Russell’s Wife, Jeannine Russell?

Jeannine Russell, formerly known as Jeannine Fiorito and Jeannine Maddux, was Bill Russell’s wife at the time of his passing. The couple tied the knot in 2018 when Bill was already 84 years old. It’s unclear when they first met, but they celebrated their anniversary on December 8. Jeannine is a former professional golfer who often appeared on Bill’s social media handles.

Bill and Jeannine’s relationship seemed to be full of love and laughter. They frequently attended NBA games together, and Bill shared pictures of them in playful costumes on Halloween. Jeannine even baked a cake for Bill’s 85th birthday with so many candles that they had to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

The couple also used their platform to support important causes. They supported the LGBTQ community during Pride Month and attended the 2019 NBA Finals together. As a San Francisco legend who helped the Golden State Warriors, Bill’s passion for basketball and Jeannine’s support for his career seemed to be a strong foundation for their relationship.

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What Does Jeannine Russell Do for a Living?

Jeannine Russell may have become more well-known after marrying basketball legend Bill Russell, but she’s no stranger to success. Before tying the knot with Bill in 2018, Jeannine had a successful career as a professional golfer.

In 2010, she finished in 64th place at the Canadian Women’s Tour in British Columbia and 19th at the tournament in Ontario. She even earned the prestigious “Player of the Year” award that same year.

Jeannine Russell and Bill Russell having fun (source: Instagram@realbillrussel)

Bill and Jeannine shared a love of golf, often spending time on the greens together. In September 2021, the couple spent the day practicing their putting skills. Jeannine’s passion for golf may have taken a back seat in recent years, but it’s clear that she has achieved impressive feats in the sport.

It is no doubt that Bill died as a happily married man. However, as stated, Jeannine isn’t the only woman he tied the knot with.

Bill’s First Wife: Rose Swisher

Bill Russell’s first love was Rose Swisher. They met in college and were married on December 9, 1956. Throughout Bill’s NBA career, Rose was a constant support system. They had three children together: Karen, William Jr., and Jacob. Born in 1962, Karen is a legal and political analyst who attended Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. Tragically, Bill’s first son, William Jr., passed away from cancer in 2016.

Rose and Bill divorced in 1973 after almost two decades of marriage. Following the divorce, Rose led a private life and remained out of the public eye. She passed away in 2014 at the age of 78. Although she was not often in the spotlight, Rose played a crucial role in Bill’s life, and their love story was an essential part of his journey to becoming an NBA legend.

Bill’s Second Wife, Dorothy Anstett

Bill Russell’s second wife was Dorothy Anstett, whom he married in 1977 after separating from Rose Swisher. Dorothy was born on June 28, 1947, and was one of nine children of an aircraft plant worker. She attended the University of Washington and majored in English. However, she found fame as a beauty queen and pageant titleholder.

Bill Russell’s second wife, Dorothy Anstett (Source: Pinterest)

Dorothy competed in the Miss Washington pageant in 1967, finishing second. She then won the Miss Washington USA 1968 title and went on to win Miss USA 1968 later that year. She represented the USA at Miss Universe 1968 in July and finished fourth runner-up.

Dorothy and Bill Russell separated in 1980 after being married for three years. Dorothy is still alive today and has lived a relatively private life since her divorce from the Celtics legend.

Bill Russell’s Third Wife: Marilyn Nault

Marilyn Nault was a woman with a fascinating story. She was born in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas, and grew up in a religious household with four brothers. Her father was a jeweler, and after finishing high school, Marilyn started working to make a living instead of going to college.

Later, she met basketball legend Bill Russell while working at a jewelry store. They became friends and eventually started dating. After a few years, they got married in 1996.

Young Bill Russell (Source: Pinterest)

Bill and Marilyn had an excellent relationship, traveling the world together and enjoying each other’s company. They were the ultimate couple, and Karen Russell, Bill’s daughter, even remarked that her dad made it a point to make Marilyn laugh every day.

Unfortunately, after a little over a decade of marriage, Marilyn Nault passed away in 2009. Her death was a significant loss for Bill and everyone who knew her. They had no children together, but their love story will always be remembered.

Bill Russell lived a full life and experienced love. Like him, Kenny Rogers married five times and was with his last wife until he died in 2020.

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