George Foreman has many titles — Olympic gold medalist, two-time heavyweight boxing champion, and grill entrepreneur, among them.
But the title he holds closest to his heart is father.
The athlete, 70, has been married a total of five times, to Adrienne Calhoun (from 1971 to 1974); Cynthia Lewis (from 1977 to 1979); Sharon Goodson (from 1981 to 1982); Andrea Skeete (from 1982 to 1985) and to Mary Joan Martelly, his wife since 1985.
Through his relationships he has five sons and five daughters.
“I named all my sons George Edward Foreman so they would always have something in common,” Foreman wrote on his website. “I say to them, ‘If one of us goes up, then we all go up together. And if one goes down, we all go down together!’ “
He also joked to CBN.com, “I tell people, ‘If you’re going to get hit as many times as I’ve been hit by Mohammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Evander Holyfield, you’re not going to remember many names.’ “
Of course, calling everyone “George” can be a little confusing, so Foreman’s sons have all earned nicknames for themselves. There’s George Jr., George III (“Monk”), George IV (“Big Wheel”), George V (“Red”), and George VI (“Little Joey”).
George “Monk” Foreman III, George Foreman and George Foreman IV
Most have stayed away from the spotlight, though George III followed in his father’s footsteps with a professional boxing career. Competing between 2009 and 2012, George III earned a 16-0 record with 15 knockout victories (and one win being ending in a unanimous decision).
After leaving the competitive sport behind, George III, 33, pivoted to being a trainer — co-founding the EverybodyFights boxing and fitness luxury gym in January 2014. As of March 2019, the business has six locations in five U.S. cities, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, in addition to his boys, Foreman has five daughters: Natalia, Leola, Michi, Georgetta, and Freeda — who died on Friday via an apparent suicide at the age of 42.
Like their brothers, most have stayed out of the public eye, save for Natalia and Georgetta. Natalia attempted a career as a singer, while Georgetta has worked as a television producer (putting out shows like 1999’s Divorce Court and 2001’s Beyond the Glory).
“He has 10 kids, but growing up he made sure that we all had our special time,” Georgetta told CBN of her dad. “There was even a time when we all had our own days. There was a Georgetta day, or George the second day, or whatever. And he took that time out to make sure that that day you had whatever you wanted to eat, whatever you wanted to do and he took out time to get to know who we were and who we are now.”
Before her death, Freeda also tried her hand at boxing professionally, taking on the sport in 2000 before retiring the next year with a record of 5-1. She was also mother to two kids with her husband and grandmother to three grandchildren.
Back in 2008, Foreman pulled back the curtain on life at home with his 10 kids in Family Foreman, a six-episode TV Land reality series.
That same year, Foreman published a book about fatherhood, fittingly titled, Fatherhood by George: Hard-Won Advice on Being a Dad. In it, he doled out parenting advice, often relating his wisdom back to scripture from his Christian faith.
Foreman told CBN that he wanted to write the book to make sure his kids didn’t make “the same mistakes” he made early on with fatherhood.
“In raising children life brings forth those things where you do what you should never have done and what I taught you never to do. And when my kids have done those things, I just kind of look at them and say, ‘Now you know life,’ ” Freeman said, with a laugh.
“You’ve got to look for all the things, the qualities in one kid. The worst thing in the world is to think, ‘I’ve got another daughter, I have another son.’ Each are different people,” Foreman said. “You can’t use the same remedies. You can’t use the same harshness or the same slackness. You’ve got to understand that each child is different and you’ve got to treat them differently.”
Ultimately, he said being a dad is something he treasures. “One thing I’m most proud of, in my heart, are my children,” he told CBN. “They’ve gone on, some of them, to stand the test, to get college education, and that’s the hardest thing in the world to achieve; but most of all they’re good parents, and that’s what I’m proud of.”