Thelma Houston’s Life Through the Years; Two Husbands and Kids

By RahulPublished on: March 28, 2024 Updated on: May 16, 2024
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In the world of The Masked Singer, where celebrities don masks and costumes to entertain audiences with anonymous performances, the identity behind the Clock has sparked a flurry of speculation. Among the sea of guesses and theories, one name rises to the forefront: Thelma Houston. Best known for her disco era-defining hit ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way,’ a plethora of clues have led many to believe she’s the talent behind the ticking.

But who is Thelma beyond the glitz of disco balls and the mystery of television’s most interesting singing competition? In this article, we delve deep into her life, tracing her journey from her early days to her rise as a disco queen, and uncovering details about her personal life including her husband and children, and what she’s up to in the present day.

She Is Still an Active Singer

Today, at 78, she is alive & well and showing that age really is just a number when you’re living a life filled with purpose and music.

Thelma is still lighting up stages with tours and making a difference with her music and charity work. She’s out there performing for good causes, like helping the David Foster Foundation supporting kids needing organ transplants, and singing for the North Shore Animal League of America to help save animals. Her passion for these causes shows how she uses her voice not just to entertain but to help others.

She’s also seen hanging out with music legends like Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers at events, proving she’s still very much part of the music scene.

Her Second Husband was a Football Player

After her first marriage ended, Thelma found love again with Cliff Frazier, whom she married on October 23, 1982. Frazier’s life story is as compelling as Thelma’s, filled with both triumphs and challenges. A former UCLA football player who played a crucial role in a historic victory at the 1976 Rose Bowl, Frazier also ventured into acting, appearing on the HBO sitcom “1st & Ten” in the 1980s.

Cliff frazier wearing a football jersey.
Thelma’s second husband Cliff, while he was playing football. Source: Pro Football Journal

Thelma and Cliff divorced a couple of years later. They don’t share any kids.

Meanwhile, her first husband, whose last name she adopted and kept professionally, was the father of her two children: a son, Rodney Houston, 61, and a daughter, Kimberlyn Houston-Broadnax, 62.

Her son is also a singer who has worked together with his mom. Her 2019 single I Still Love You features Rodney as well. The mom-son duo performed on the same stage in 2018 during the Miami Beach Parade.

Thelma and her son Rodney
Thelma and her son Rodney in an event. Source: Instagram

Her first marriage ended in the late ’60s, with Thelma taking on the role of a single parent to her kids. So before the age of 20, she had been divorced and became a mother of two.

She Is a Great Grandma

Her children, Rodney and Kimberlyn have both created their families, extending Thelma’s joy to grandchildren and even a great-granddaughter.

Rodney is married to Rosa, and they have two children, Stone and Tatyanna. Kimberlyn has a daughter, Keechar, making Thelma a grandmother of three and a great-grandmother to Payton.

Thelma with her granddaughter and great granddaughter.
From L-R (Tatyanna, Peyton, Thelma, and Keecher.) Source: Facebook

Thelma’s deep affection for her grandchildren and great-granddaughter shines brightly through her social media account. She takes pride in the grandparent role, never missing an opportunity to showcase her love and admiration for her family’s younger generations.

Her Mother Picked Cotton To Feed the Family

Thelma had a tough start in life. She was born Thelma Jackson in Leland, Mississippi, a place known for its poverty. Her mother, Gertrude, worked hard to support Thelma and her two sisters, Patricia and Belinda, by doing sharecrop work like picking cotton.

Later on, when Thelma’s grandmother moved in with them, her mom took on various jobs from housekeeping to cooking. The job she was proudest of was when she worked in a doctor’s office, helping make house calls and learning to run tests.

In 1953, seeking a better life, the family moved to Long Beach, California. There, Gertrude found work as a silk finisher at a dry cleaner before getting a job with the Long Beach Unified School District, where she worked until retiring in 1988. Gertrude passed away at 96 in 2017.

Growing up without a father, Thelma faced many challenges. But it was her mother’s strength and resilience, moving from the tough conditions in Mississippi to provide for her family in California, that shaped her early years and childhood.

Why She Might Be the Clock on The Masked Singer

One clue showed the Clock holding a baby doll, which seems to point to Houston’s famous song Don’t Leave Me This Way and her first single Baby Mine. Both songs talk about love, hinting at Houston’s own story of changing her career path after disco became less popular.

Another big hint is the Clock’s story about making a big comeback and performing for a president, which is just like Houston’s own experience singing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. This big moment in her career is too similar to the clue to just be a coincidence.

the Clock in the Masked Singer
Eagle-eyed fans are saying Thelma might be the Clock. Source: Parade

There’s also a clue about having a “date in my name,” which matches up perfectly with Thelma Houston Day on January 29 in West Hollywood. It’s a special honor that points right to her.

Lastly, there’s a clue with a disco ball, reminding everyone of the disco era when Houston’s music was everywhere. She won a Grammy for her disco hit, which shows how big of a deal she was in the music world, still is.


Net Worth: $2 Million

Height: 5ft 6inches

Ethnicity: African American

About Author: Rahul

Rahul has been diving into the world of entertainment in niches like celebrity, anime, and health articles since 2016. As a passionate writer, he combines personal experiences with thorough research to create content that's not only informative but also relatable and engaging.