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Charley Pride's ‘Secret' Son Contests Late Country Star's Will

NBC Sports Regional: Boston logo NBC Sports Regional: Boston 7/14/2021 Allie Spillyards
Charley Pride's ‘Secret' Son Contests Late Country Star's Will originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Theres a battle brewing over the estate of Grammy-winning country star Charley Pride, fueled by a son few knew existed.

Charley Pride died from COVID-19 in Dallas in December.

Now Tyler Pride has come forward as the family secret.

Tyler Prides story started with an affair between his mother, a flight attendant, and his father, country musics first Black superstar.

At the time of their relationship, Charley Pride was already married to his wife of more than 60 years, Rozene, and the couple had three children.

Later, a paternity case would confirm Tyler was also Charleys son.

We made it through and had the best relationship that we could, per the circumstances, said Tyler. We still got to talk on the phone a lot and get to know each other that way, but it was difficult because of his situation and having to keep peace at home, as he put it over and over.

Tyler said his father visited when he could. And even after he turned 18 and Charleys obligation to financially support him ended, he said his father stayed involved in his life.

But when Charley died of COVID-19, Tyler said the family hadnt even told him his father was sick.

His name wasnt included in the obituary, and he said he wasnt allowed at the funeral.

He also wasnt named in Charleys will, which Tyler has filed a lawsuit to contest.

In the lawsuit, Tyler points to undue influence he believes Rozene had over her husband, whod publicly acknowledged mental health struggles.

I dont think he could imagine that this is going on right now and I dont think its what he wanted. Because he always said he wanted his kids taken care of equally. Up until his death, thats what I was told every time we talked, said Tyler.

Through her attorney Will Hartnett, Rozene issued a statement:

Over the years, Charley and I provided gifts and financial assistance to Tyler, but Charley never included Tyler as a beneficiary in his estate planning until 2020. Tyler does not have a valid claim so he has resorted to a hurtful smear campaign. His attack on Charley hurts me and his other children deeply, but we all know that Charley was doing great physically and mentally and making his own decisions until he was taken down by Covid. Much of what Tyler is saying about Charley and me is a lie that Tyler hopes reporters will spread to grab headlines. On July 24, 2020, two weeks before Charley signed the documents attacked by Tyler, Charley sang a beautiful a cappella version of the Star Spangled Banner at the Texas Rangers first game in their new stadium. It was a difficult situation because of Covid protocols and having to perform in an empty stadium, other than the players, but Charley handled it like the amazing performer he always was. Three months later, on November 11, 2020, Charley received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the nationally televised CMA Awards in Nashville and performed live. It was his last performance before his death.

But Tyler maintains this isnt a financial fight, saying its about honoring his late fathers wishes and finally being recognized as his son.

He is my dad and Im proud to be able to tell that part of the story because I am part of his story, said Tyler.

In Texas, the law allows parents to leave children out of their will if they choose to do so.

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