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A Deeper Dive into the Life Behind the Canvas: Bob Ross’ Wife and Family

Bob Ross left an unforgettable mark on the art world. Go beyond his paintings and explore the life of Bob Ross's wife, their family life, his untimely demise, and his impressive net worth. Unfold the story behind the calm and soothing voice of television painting tutorials.
by Rob Gillham | Jan 4 2024
A Deeper Dive into the Life Behind the Canvas: Bob Ross' Wife and Family
Credits: Tuko

When it comes to legendary figures in art, Bob Ross is a name that immediately springs to mind. With his calm demeanor, iconic perm, and soothing voice, Ross made a significant impact and left an enduring legacy.

This article primarily focuses on Bob Ross’s wife while also exploring his three wives, the cause of his death, and the value of his estate.

Bob Ross’s First Marriage: Vivian Ridge, Mother of his Son

Vivian Ridge met Bob Ross while studying for a degree in art history at Wake Forest University. In 1965, they tied the knot and remained together until 1977, when they divorced.

The couple had a son, Robert Stephen Ross, on August 1, 1966. Robert, also known as Steve Ross, became a skilled painter under his father’s tutelage, even featuring in the last episode of The Joy of Painting‘s first season. 

Jane Lee Zanardelli: Love and Business Partners

After parting ways with Vivian, Bob found love again with Jane Lee Zanardelli in 1977. Jane was a student, and her interest in oil painting drew her to his classes.

She soon became not just his wife but also his business partner, aiding in the running of his art empire. Tragically, Jane was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 1992. Bob Ross took a break from The Joy of Painting following her death, deeply affected by the loss.

Lynda Brown Ross: The Nurse Who Took Care of Him Until His Passing

The final chapter of Bob’s love life began during his own health struggles. He married his third wife, Lynda Brown, a nurse he met during his illness.

Even though their marriage was short-lived owing to Bob’s death in July 1995 due to lymphoma, they remained together till the very end.

Ross’s Family Life

Besides being remembered as an outstanding painter, Bob Ross was also a family man. He shared an exceptional bond with his son, Steven, who followed his father’s footsteps into the art world.

Even though Ross led a reserved life off the camera, he often mentioned his family during his painting sessions, reflecting his affection and pride.

Bob Ross’s Net Worth

Bob Ross had an estimated net worth of $1 million at his death. Although he made a modest income from his TV show, a significant part of his wealth came from his line of art supplies and instructional books.

His paintings also continue to fetch considerable amounts at auctions, further adding to his legacy’s value.

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