Robert Ellis Silberstein – well-known as Bob Ellis – is famous for being a music executive and American businessman, and a former husband of singer Diana Ross, who gave birth to two of her children in her marriage with Robert.

Early life and family

Robert Ellis Silberstein was born on 5 January 1946, in Elberon, New Jersey USA, into a family of Jewish descent – he holds American nationality and his zodiac sign is Capricorn. He hasn’t shared much about his parents or any sibling, except that his father was a wealthy businessman, who owned a garment factory in New Jersey.

Educational background

After matriculating from his local high school in Elberon in 1964, Robert enrolled at West Virginia University, from which he graduated with a BA in teaching in 1968. He tried to work as a teacher for some period of time, but eventually had a dispute with the principal of the school he worked in, and quit teaching.

Career

Robert moved to California after quitting teaching to find himself in Los Angeles, being friends with Diana Ross (he met her in a clothes shop), and started his career of a businessman and executive producer in 1970. He started producing such musicians as Diana Ross, and Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones.

Robert is also famous for discovering such talents as Chaka Khan (Yvette Marie Stevens), who was a vocalist in the American funk music band Rufus, which Robert also managed; Chaka Khan got all-in-all 10 Grammy Awards, half of them for her work in Rufus under Robert’s management, who produced such hits as “Tell Me Something Good” (1975), “Ain’t Nobody” (1984) and “I’ll Be Good to You” (1991). Robert also discovered Billy Preston, the late famous gospel singer, instrumentalist and songwriter, who also had two Grammy Awards for his hits.

As of 2020, Robert returned to his Alma Mater to teach.

Personal life, ex-wife Diana Ross

Even though little is known about Robert’s personal life before his marriage with Diana Ross, it is fair enough to focus on his life with the popular singer.

Diana Ross

Robert was married to Diana from 1971, and they lived together for six years, divorcing in 1977. Robert was one year younger and 15 years younger than Diana’s previous partner, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown music label, who produced The Jacksons 5, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and many others. Before Diana married Robert, she became pregnant with Berry’s daughter, giving birth to Rhonda Ross Kendrick right at the beginning of their marriage. In a year, Diana gave birth to their daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross. Their second daughter, Chudney Lane Ross Silberstein, was born in 1975. Robert adopted Rhonda, and she found out about that fact only when she turned 13, as she saw that she didn’t look like her sisters, and asked a lot of questions.

Berry Gordy was a close friend of the family, and even shared his thoughts on Robert and Diana’s marriage in his interview to People in 1976: ‘They discuss each other’s business problems some. But the way for that to continue as one of Hollywood’s finer marriages is for them not to get involved in each other’s careers’, Berry reflects on Diana and Robert’s relationship. Whether his words were prophetic, or the couple had other reasons for separating, nevertheless, Robert divorced from Diana in 1977. They continued a supporting friendly relationship for the sake of their kids.

Robert’s ex-wife, Diana Ross

Robert’s ex-wife, the popular American actress and singer Diana Ross, was born on 26 March 1944, in Detroit, Michigan USA. Her mother, Ernestine Moten Ross, wanted to call her Diane, but the clerk who wrote the name in the documents, made a mistake, so her name was officially recorded as “Diana”, however, her family and close friends still call her Diane.

Diana studied at Cass Technical High School, at the same time taking classes in tailoring, millinery, clothing design and pattern making, as she pursued her dream to become a fashion designer. However, she found another passion too – singing. When Diana was 15 years old, she joined a music band entitled “The Primettes”; they auditioned for Motown Records, but were sent back home to at least matriculate from their high school – Diana later returned to the studio to sign the contract. Diana was made the lead singer in 1961, when the band was renamed into “The Supremes”. They recorded such hits as “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes” and “Where Did Our Love Go”, conquering the Billboard Hot 100 music chart.

In 1968 Diana started performing solo.

Diana Ross’ further successful career

In 1969 Diana was named “the discoverer” of the “Jackson 5”, while in fact it was Bobby Taylor who found out about the family music band. However, the cover of their first studio album said: ‘Diana Ross Presents Jackson 5”, and after that Diana played the role of the second mother for Michael Jackson, as she helped him a lot and inspired his career. Diana herself recorded 24 studio albums, including such hits as “Diana & Marvin (featuring Marvin Gaye) (1973), “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (1981) and “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues” (1987). Among her latest albums there are “Every Day Is a New Day” (1999), “Blue” (2006) and “I Love You” (2006).

She got 13 Grammy nominations during her solo career, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and Academy Awards nominated her as the best actress for her role in “Lady Sings the Blues” (1973). In 2016 Diana was rewarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Diana appeared in numerous TV shows, talk shows, series and guest-starred in dozens of movies, proving herself truly multitalented. She’s known to have inspired such singers as Madonna, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and many others.

Robert’s daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Joy Silberstein, Robert’s elder biological daughter who is professionally known as Tracee Ellis Ross, was born on 29 October 1972, in Los Angeles, California. Graduating from Brown University, Tracee had a vast experience of modelling, and dreamt of becoming a fashion designer.

However, she then started a career as an actress, appearing in such films as “Far Harbor”, “Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth Movie” and “Daddy’s Little Girls”. She later starred in such series as “Girlfriends” (2000 – 2008), “Reed Between the Lines” (2011 – present) and “Mixed-ish” (2019), however, her recognition was raised after starring in the series “Black-ish” (2014 – 2020), the sitcom about an African-American family living in a predominantly white neighborhood of upper-middle-class families. For her role in “Black-ish”, Tracee was named an Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series by NAACP Image Award in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018; Tracee also won a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 2017, and has been nominated for dozens of similar awards.

Appearance, clothing style

Robert has silver hair and brown eyes; his height, weight and vital statistics are not available at the moment. As to his clothing style, he likes wearing casual clothes when at home, including plaid shirts and jeans. However, he likes to dress up when he appears on the red carpet, choosing fancy Armani and Vivian Westwood suits.

Net worth and salary

As of 2020, Robert’s net worth is estimated to be around $50 million. His ex-wife, Diana Ross, who Robert is still friends with, reputedly owns a significant fortune of $250 million. It is also worth mentioning that Robert’s children don’t depend on their father’s fortune, earning a ton of money on their own. Tracee Ellis Ross, has a net worth estimated at $16 million, getting $200,000 per episode in the series she stars in.

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