Legendary country singer Hank Williams Jr. had a successful career in the music industry, following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Hank Williams, to country royalty. But did you know that Hank Jr. has multiple talented kids who have also given country music a go?
Here’s a look into what his five kids have been up to.
Shelton Hank Williams
In 1971, Hank Williams Jr. married former model Gwen Yeargain. He became a first-time dad when he and his then-wife welcomed Shelton Hank Williams on December 12, 1972, who is more known today as Hank Williams III and Hank 3.
Hank Williams III is famous for dabbling multiple music genres between country, punk rock, and heavy metal. He began playing guitar in punk rock bands before he got a record deal in Nashville, but he never gave up loving the punk sound.
In 1996, he released a collaborative studio album with his father and grandfather called Three Hanks: Men with Broken Hearts. It combines Hank Williams’ songs with accompanying vocals of Hank Williams Jr. and Hank Williams III.
He finally released his first solo album in 1999, Risin’ Outlaw. He’s also been a member of the punk-metal band, Assjack, and the band released one self-titled album in 2009. Throughout his career, Hank Williams III has released eleven studio albums, five of which are under his personal label, Hank3 Records.
No one can also deny the striking resemblance of Hank Williams III to his grandfather that even Minnie Pearl, a friend of the late Hank Williams Sr., reportedly said, “Lord, honey, you’re a ghost,” when they first met in the late 1980s.
Hilary Williams is the first daughter of Hank Williams Jr. with his second wife, Becky White. According to his father, “she’s the one with the pipes. Like, that’s the one. Oh, she can bust the glass in here. Unbelievable.”
In 2006, she and her sister Holly got involved in a horrific car crash that gravely injured the sisters. Over a decade later and thirty surgeries after, Hillary used the devastating experience as the inspiration behind her album, “My Lucky Scars.”
“The scars on my body are God’s saving grace,” Hillary explained. “It was just very therapeutic for me to write the record and get the songs out. Actually, when I got in my car accident… my attorney was [in Los Angeles] shopping for me a record deal. So my music career got halted, and it took five years for me to recover,” she said.
Several tracks on the album take the listeners through her near-death experience, “Angel Take My Hand,” as well as “Sign of Life.” It will give you an emotional glimpse into what Hilary had to endure during and after the accident.
Holly Audrey Williams
Holly Audrey Williams, named after her grandmother Audrey Mae, was born on March 12, 1981. Her parents, Hank Williams Jr. and Becky White, called it quits when she was only about a year old.
Holly was only eight years when she started scribbling words into a notebook she called Holly’s Song Folder. But these weren’t childhood songs; she invented storylines far beyond her years.
“They were songs about issues, like death, people having affairs — things I knew nothing about,” she remembered. “This one song, ‘Who Am I,’ was about a 20-year-old girl going through a broken marriage — and I was writing that at eight years old! I wasn’t even really listening to music at that time, but even then, I found it easy to put myself in someone else’s shoes and write about what they’re going through.”
Growing up in Nashville, Holly went back to songwriting when she was 17. She picked up a guitar and taught herself to play too. Though she had not experienced much heartbreak at that point, her music was mostly dark. She became fascinated by the music of her grandfather, Hank Williams, and deeply researched his life and career.
She began booking gigs around town and later on got her own record deal with Universal South Records. Her debut album, The Ones We Never Knew, was released in 2004. She released two more albums, Here with Me in 2009 and The Highway in 2013.
She has also toured with some of the big stars in the industry, including Keith Urban, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jewel. Sadly, Holly took a break from making music after she got into a terrible car accident in 2006 with her sister Hillary.
Holly has also married on September 27, 2009, to fellow musician Chris Coleman and they settled in Nashville with their three children.
Katherine Diane Williams
Katherine, the youngest daughter of Hank Jr. with third wife Mary Jane Thomas, tragically passed away in a car accident in Tennessee on June 13, 2020, at the age of 27. According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson, Katherine was driving a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, with a boat in tow, when the car crossed the highway median and crashed. Her husband, Tyler Dunning, was on the passenger seat. He was flown by air to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Unlike her siblings, Katherine did not pursue a career in music. She led a quiet life with her husband and their two children near Kentucky Lake, about 100 miles west of Nashville. She also ran the clothing company Weston Jane, which celebrates “[women] of purpose spreading peace and kindness.”
Sam Williams is Hank Williams Jr.’s youngest child. He had spent a couple of years attending Belmont University in Music City before he left to focus on his career.
In 2016, Sam released his first single, “Darkwater” followed by “The Lost Grandchild’s Plea,” which honors his grandparents he never had a chance to meet, Hank and Audrey Williams. His latest single, “Gemini,” was released in 2019. The song is a folk-driven Americana gem that Sam originally wrote as a poem before realizing its potential as a song.
When asked about what it was like growing up in his particular household with the ambitions of building a career as a musician, he said, “I was always extremely hesitant and didn’t discuss music growing up.” Well, we are glad he never passed up on the family tradition.
Hank Williams Jr.