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Kenny Rogers prepares to hang up his microphone

Kenny Rogers

Foreign Celebrities

It's funny the things you covet most when you are a child - for country music superstar Kenny Rogers it was water sprinklers.

Growing up in poverty on a federal housing estate in Houston, Texas, on his walks to and from school he'd go past wealthy houses, and be amazed by the big jets automatically watering the immaculate lawns.

So when he first made his millions back in the 1970s, he knew exactly how he would celebrate.

Building a massive house with its own 18-hole golf course, he fitted the grounds with hundreds of automated water sprinklers. Now 78, Rogers says: "I would drive a golf cart out, right into those sprinklers, and it was great fun.

"If I had to pick one word [to describe the feeling], I'd say it was... satisfaction."

Rogers and close friend Dolly Parton had a smash hit in 1983 with Islands in the Stream. Currently on a farewell tour in the US, Rogers has been in the music industry for 60 years.

Over that time he has released more than 70 albums, and sold more than 100 million records.

Thanks to hit songs such as The Gambler, Lady, Coward of the Country, and Islands in the Stream (a duet with Dolly Parton), and a parallel acting career, he was a household name in the late 1970s and 1980s.

A keen businessman, Rogers has also led several business ventures over the years, mainly in property and the restaurant sector.

The successes have brought Rogers wealth he could not have dreamed of as a child, and he is now worth an estimated $250m (£195m).

Married five times, Rogers' divorce settlement to fourth wife Marianne Gordon, pictured, was worth $60m. He says she deserved every cent

But in a story that could be told in a country and western song, he has had some financial rock bottoms along the way.

While some business bets failed, and he has had four expensive divorces, Rogers admits that living too extravagantly - even for someone earning a fortune - left him "broke" both when he was 30, and again when he was 50.

"You don't think it [wealth] will have that impact on you, but it really did," he says.

Releasing his first single in 1958, Rogers remembers that he was always focused on the business side of the music industry.

He recalls pop singer and mentor Kirby Stone warning him that "if you don't treat it like a business it'll eat you up".

Source: BBC

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