Sonji Roi: Everything You Need To Know About Muhammad Ali’s First Ex-wife

September 21, 2021

Sonji Roi: Biography

Full Name: Sonji Roi Spouse: Muhammad Ali, Reynaldo Glover
Birth Place: USA Children: Brian Reynaldo Jr, Herman Griffin
Date of Birth: 1941 Occupation: Singer, Model
Date of Death: October 11, 2005 Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Sonji Roi was the first ex-wife of boxing legend Mohammad Ali. The two met in July 1964, when Ali was still known as Cassius Clay.

Very little is known about her early life or family, or really anything before she married Ali. However, it has been reported that she lost her parents early in life.

Sonji Roi engagement and marriage to Muhammad Ali

Sonji Roi biography 1The couple met in 1964, the same year Ali won his first heavyweight championship. At the time, she was 23 years old while Ali was 22. The two reportedly met through the boxer’s manager, Herbet Muhammad.

In a most bizarre arrangement, Roi later revealed that Ali proposed to her that same night they met. It is unclear whether this was love at first sight, or something else.

Their engagement was extremely short, lasting about a month. On August 14th the same year, the couple got married at Gary, Indiana. It was a Christian wedding since Ali had not converted to Islam by then.

The rushed engagement and marriage came to haunt them pretty soon. After less than 2 years together, they separated. Their divorce was finalized by January 1966. It is believed that Ali’s switch to Islam drew a wedge between them, and Roi was uncomfortable following suit as required by her husband’s new-found religion.

Ali and Roi never had children together, but they both went on to have kids of their own. Ali got 9 kids in 3 marriages, while Roi went on to have two sons.

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Sonji Roi after divorcing Muhammad Ali

After leaving Muhammad Ali, Roi moved to Chicago. Here, she met her second husband, corporate lawyer Reynaldo Glover. Together they had a son, Brian Reynaldo Jr, but their marriage did not last long either.

Roi did not marry again, but she did have another son, Herman Griffin, from another relationship.

Sonji Roi’s Career

After losing her parents early in life, Roi took up jobs as a waiter in nightclubs to pay the bills. In fact, when she met Ali, she was working as a cocktail waitress. After her divorce, she took up modeling and singing.

Sonji Roi died on October 11, 2005. The cause of death was a heart attack.

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