By Jim Johnson

“Trouble Man” was one of Marvin Gaye‘s classic songs, and in real life, he was truly a troubled man.

In her new book After the Dance, his widow Janis Gaye explores the emotional and substance issues that plagued the soul music icon. Despite world-class talent and decades of success, he never escaped the damage of an abusive childhood.


Janis Gaye says Marvin was a troubled man:

“As I look back on it now and the more that I know about psychiatric issues and drug addiction, and abuse and how it affects you as adult, I believe he may have been bi-polar.”

The attitudes about substance rehab were different decades ago. Janis says Marvin sought help only once — though he was apparently ready to try again the week he was killed.

Janis Gaye says Marvin just briefly tried rehab:

“He spent three days in a hospital in Chattanooga, then he went AWOL. The other time that I know about for sure, was that the day he was killed, April 1st… the day before that, had talked to his father about having his birthday party… this will be the last party and clear the house out. And he had planned at going into rehab the day after… So he was two days shy of maybe making it to 2015.”

In her book, Janis refers to Marvin’s abusive father, who shot him dead a day before his birthday in 1984. as “a beast” — and she feels the evidence backs it up.

Janis Gaye on the Reverend Marvin Gaye Sr.:

“But I hate deeply what he did and what he took and what he stole. Not just from Marvin which was his life, but what he took from his grandchildren, what he took from his fans, what he took from the world with two shots. Point blank, he ended 44 years of a man’s life — who happened to his first-born child.”


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