Roger Waters facts: Age, family and career of Pink Floyd singer explained

7 May 2024, 15:01 | Updated: 9 May 2024, 16:28

Roger Waters in 2017
Roger Waters in 2017. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Roger Waters, co-founder and creative force behind Pink Floyd, has had a profound impact on rock music and beyond.

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Roger Waters' lyrical depth and conceptual brilliance propelled Pink Floyd to international stardom. His personal experiences, marked by his father's death in World War II and his tumultuous relationships, deeply influenced his songwriting, culminating in monumental works like The Wall.

After departing Pink Floyd in 1985, Waters embarked on a successful solo career, continuing to explore political and existential themes.

But how did Roger Waters get his start in music? Here's a look back at his life:

  1. How old is Roger Waters and where was he born?

    Roger Waters in 1968
    Roger Waters in 1968. Picture: Getty

    Roger Waters was born on September 6, 1943, which makes him 80 years old as of 2024.

    He was born in Great Bookham, Surrey.

    Roger Waters' father was Eric Fletcher Waters, who was a schoolteacher and a member of the British Communist Party. His mother, Mary Waters (née Whyte), was also a teacher.

    His father was killed in World War II during the Battle of Anzio when Roger was only five months old.

    He also has one older sibling, a brother named John Waters, who died in 2022.

  2. How did he get his start in music and when were Pink Floyd formed?

    Pink Floyd in 1968
    Pink Floyd in 1968. Picture: Getty

    Roger Waters got his start in music during his school years. He attended the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with future Pink Floyd bandmates Syd Barrett and David Gilmour, though Gilmour joined the band later.

    Waters went on to study architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London, where he met Nick Mason and Richard Wright. Together, they initially formed a band called Sigma 6.

    Pink Floyd was officially formed in 1965, evolving from Sigma 6 and other iterations such as the T-Set and the Meggadeaths. The band was named after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

    Pink Floyd's distinctive sound began to develop as they played in London's underground music scene, with Syd Barrett initially leading the group before Waters eventually became the primary lyricist and conceptual leader after Barrett's departure from the band in 1968.

  3. When and why did he leave Pink Floyd, and is he still friends with the band?

    Roger Waters with David Gilmour in 2010
    Roger Waters with David Gilmour in 2010. Picture: Getty

    Roger Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985, marking a significant shift in the band's lineup and direction. His departure was primarily driven by creative differences and personal conflicts within the band. By the time of their 1983 album The Final Cut, Waters had become the primary creative force, contributing all of the album's material. The tension between Waters and the other members, especially David Gilmour, had grown considerably during the production of this album.

    Following his departure, Waters pursued a solo career, releasing several albums and staging elaborate live performances. The legal battle ensued over the name Pink Floyd, with Waters arguing that the band was a "spent force creatively" without him. However, the remaining members, led by Gilmour, continued to record and perform under the Pink Floyd name, which added to the strain.

    Relations between Waters and his former bandmates were strained for many years. However, they have shown signs of reconciliation over time. Waters reunited with Nick Mason, David Gilmour, and Richard Wright for a one-off performance at Live 8 in 2005, which was the first time the quartet had played together in over 24 years. While this event sparked hopes of a full reunion, it was short-lived.

    Despite occasional public gestures of goodwill, Waters' relationship with his former bandmates, particularly Gilmour, remains complex and somewhat distant. While not openly antagonistic, they are not close and collaborate rarely, if ever. Waters and Mason appear to have a more amicable relationship, with Mason having expressed more openness to reconciliation in various interviews.

  4. Is he married and does he have kids?

    Roger Waters and fourth wife Laurie Durning in 2009
    Roger Waters and fourth wife Laurie Durning in 2009. Picture: Getty

    Roger Waters has been married multiple times and has children from his marriages. Here’s a brief overview:

    Judith Trim: Waters married his childhood sweetheart, Judith Trim, in 1969. Trim, an accomplished potter, and Waters eventually divorced in 1975. They did not have any children together.

    Carolyne Christie: His second marriage was to Carolyne Christie in 1976. Christie is the niece of the third Marquess of Zetland. Together, they had two children: Harry Waters, a musician who has played keyboards in his father's touring band, and India Waters, who has worked as a model. Waters and Christie divorced in 1992.

    Roger Waters with sons Jack and Harry in 2014
    Roger Waters with sons Jack and Harry in 2014. Picture: Getty

    Priscilla Phillips: Waters married Priscilla Phillips in 1993. They have one son, Jack Fletcher. The couple later divorced.

    Laurie Durning: Waters married Laurie Durning in 2012, with whom he had been in a long-term relationship since around 2001. Durning and Waters divorced in 2015.

    Kamilah Chavis: In 2021, Waters married Kamilah Chavis, his fifth wife, whom he reportedly met while she was working as his driver.

    Roger Waters with wife Kamilah Chavis in 2019
    Roger Waters with wife Kamilah Chavis in 2019. Picture: Alamy
  5. What are his political beliefs?

    Roger Waters is known for his strong and vocal political beliefs, which are often reflected in both his music and public statements. His views are distinctly left-leaning, and he is an outspoken critic of war, authoritarianism, and social injustices. Here are some key aspects of his political stance:

    1. Anti-War Activism: Waters is a fervent anti-war activist, often criticizing military interventions and conflicts. His experiences and sentiments about war are deeply influenced by the loss of his father during World War II.

    2. Human Rights: He is an advocate for human rights and has been involved in various causes supporting civil liberties and freedom of expression.

    3. Criticism of Israel: Waters is notably critical of Israel's policies towards Palestinians. He is a prominent supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to pressure Israel to change its policies towards Palestinians.

    4. Environmental Issues: He also speaks out on environmental issues, advocating for actions to combat climate change and protect natural resources.

    5. Social Justice: Waters frequently addresses themes of economic inequality and corporate greed in his music and public appearances.

    Waters uses his platform to promote these beliefs, often incorporating them into his concert performances and public appearances.

    His political positions have sometimes stirred controversy, particularly his criticisms of Israel, which have drawn accusations of antisemitism, which he denies. His activism is a significant part of his public persona, influencing his artistic expression and engagements with global issues.