The first ex-wife of boxing icon Muhammad Ali was Sonji Roi. When the two first got together in July 1964, Ali was still going by Cassius Clay.
About her early years, her family, or practically anything prior to her marriage to Ali, very little is known. She reportedly lost her parents when she was a little child, though.
Sonji Roi Profile Summary
|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 engagement and marriage to Muhammad Ali
The couple first crossed paths in 1964, the same year Ali secured his inaugural heavyweight championship. At the time, she was 23 years old, while Ali was 22. Their introduction reportedly occurred through the boxer’s manager, Herbet Muhammad.
In an unusual turn of events, Roi later disclosed that Ali proposed to her on the very night they met. The nature of this proposal remains unclear—whether it was love at first sight or something else.
Their engagement was remarkably brief, lasting about a month. On August 14th of the same year, the couple exchanged vows in Gary, Indiana, in a Christian wedding, as Ali had not yet converted to Islam at that time.
The hastily arranged engagement and marriage would soon present challenges. Less than two years into their union, they separated, finalizing their divorce by January 1966. It is believed that Ali’s conversion to Islam created a rift between them, with Roi uncomfortable embracing the same faith as her husband.
Although Ali and Roi did not share any children together, they both went on to have their own families. Ali had nine children through three marriages, while Roi went on to have two sons.
Sonji Roi after divorcing Muhammad Ali
Roi relocated to Chicago following his split from Muhammad Ali. It was here that she met Reynaldo Glover, a business lawyer, her second husband. Their marriage did not survive long either, but they did have a son, Brian Reynaldo Jr.
Although Roi did not remarry, she did have a son named Herman Griffin from a previous marriage.
Sonji Roi’s Career
Roi began working as a nightclub waitress to help with her financial obligations after losing her parents at a young age. In actuality, she was working as a cocktail waitress when she first met Ali. She started singing and modeling after her divorce.
On October 11, 2005, Sonji Roi passed away. A heart attack was the cause of death.