Ernestine Campbell- Ex-wife of Rock and Roll legend Little Richard

Who is Ernestine Campbell?

Some of us probably know Ernestine Campbell as the ex-wife of legendary rock and roll musician Little Richard; however, did you know she is also the former secretary of Washington DC.

Interestingly she was married to Richard for a short time, yet she gained national attention and popularity from it. In fact, she is still referred to as his former wife in the media and by the general public.

Let’s have a look into Ernestine Campbell’s life in this article.

Ernestine Campbell biography
Ernestine Campbell biography

Quick facts

Full nameErnestine Campbell
Maiden name Ernestine Harvin
NicknamesTina, Erne, Nessa, Erni, Earnest, and Ernest
BirthdayOctober 12, 1905
Age118 years old
DeathJuly 29, 2000 
Sun sign Libra
TraitsPositive: Idealistic, social, and clever.
: Shallow, indecisive, and emotionally detached 
BirthplaceDelaware County, PA, USA
Currently residingCalifornia, USA
ParentsNo information
GrandparentsNo information
SiblingsNo information
Marital statusDivorced
SpouseLittle Richard (1959-1964)
McDonald Campbell (1975-1976)
ChildrenDanny Jones Penniman
EducationNo information
Net worthUSD 40 million
Social mediaNone
Height5’6” (168 cm)
Shoe size5.5
Hair ColorBlack

Early life

Ernestine Campbell
Ernestine Campbell

Ernestine Campell was born on October 12, 1905, in Pennsylvania.

Based on her date of birth, she is a Libra. Libran woman is an idealistic woman who is a social and clever person. But, she is shallow, indecisive, and emotionally detached, too.

The name Ernestine originates from Germany, “Earnest.” It means determination or vigor.

Honestly, there is little to no information about Ernestine; however, based on what we have ascertained, she was an educated woman. She was working as a secretary for Washington, DC.


Ernestine Campbell with Little Richard

Little Richard and Ernestine Campbell met at an evangelical rally in October 1957. The two started dating, and later they tied the knot in July 1959.

The couple stayed in the marriage for four years, from 1959 to 1963.

After separating paths, neither of the two remarried. However, Little Richard reportedly had a romantic relationship with Audrey Robinson after the divorce.

Ernestine was apparently concerned with Little Richard’s ambiguous sexuality. The exact reason for their divorce hasn’t been made public yet, but it is believed that the reason was the negligence of Little Richard as a husband and his sexuality.

Richard was a very popular rock and roll musician during those times. Therefore, he was very engaged in his celebrity life. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make time for his marriage due to his busy schedule and celebrity status. Thus, his marriage with Ernestine ended up failing. However, the two remained in touch after the divorce.

Campbell doesn’t have any children of her own. So instead, she and Richard have adopted a boy. His name is Danny Jones Penniman. Even though they divorced, the couple continued caring for their son.

Their marriage might not have lasted too long, but it has still impacted the singer and his rock and roll history.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the couple’s property in the city’s Lafayette Square area sold for $1.9 million last year, in part because of the many parties they held there, which drew celebrities such as James Brown, and Jackie Williams, and Etta James and the Coasters.

Danny Jones Penniman (son)

A hip-hop artist and rapper, Danny Jones Penniman is the adopted son of Little Richard, the founding father of rock & roll, and his ex-wife Ernestine Campbell. In 1959, he was adopted, and his parents separated in 1963.

Danny is between the ages of 57 and 61, and the family adopted him in the 1960s. Unfortunately, his birth information isn’t available on the whole.

Little Richard (husband)

Richard Wayne Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1932. Because of his small stature, Little Richard earned the stage name. Also, he began singing in his local church choir and was invited to sing alongside a nun during her recital when he was 14 years old.

Little Richard began his professional career as a Buster Brown’s Orchestra member, among other groups. Late in the 1940s and early in the 1950s, he continued to play at small taverns and talent shows across Georgia.

He signed his own record deal in 1951, but it took several years to achieve widespread recognition. His single “Tutti-Frutti,” released in 1955, was a near-instant hit. In addition, he wrote hit songs, including “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Send Me Some Lovin’.”

He released his first solo album in 1957, “Here’s Little Richard,” which charted in the top 15 in the United States.

Little Richard launched the rock ‘n’ roll movement in the 1950s. He appeared in many films during the 1950s, including “Don’t Knock the Rock” (1956), “The Girl Can’t Help It” (1957), and “Mister Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1957).

In the decade’s second half, Little Richard threw up rock music to focus entirely on gospel music, releasing his first religious album, “God Is Real,” in 1959. Then he returned to rock ‘n’ roll five years later.

In the early 1970s, Little Richard became hooked to cocaine, then heroin and other substances; a series of traumatic events, including his brother’s death, prompted him to give up drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

In 1986, he was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the comedy film “Down and Out In Beverly Hills,” he played a fictionalized version of himself.

Furthermore, In 1990, he was recognized as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 1993 he was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, he played at the Super Bowl halftime performance in 2004.


Little is known about Ernestine’s early life and profile as she chose to keep matters private. However, it is reported that she went to a famous and well-established institution for her studies.

Regarding her career, Ernestine was a former secretary in Washington, DC. We do not know of any other careers she has been a part of yet.

The net worth of Ernestine Campbell

Ernestine Campbell’s net worth has not been publicly disclosed yet. However, she has maintained a simple and low-key lifestyle despite being associated with a legendary celebrity.

Little Richard was an American artist whose net worth was USD 40 million at the time of his death. He has a great fan following and has made many contributions to the rock and roll music industry.

Little Richard was a well-known pianist and songwriter who had many successes, including “Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly Miss Molly,” among others. His songs were notable for his shrieks and insane piano verses.

Social media

Ernestine is currently of senior age. Therefore, she doesn’t use any social media accounts. Also, looking at her past and history of keeping things private, we can assume that she wouldn’t be fond of posting and being active on social media either.


Where is Little Richard now?

Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard, died on Saturday in Tullahoma, Tenn., after combining the sacred screams of the black church with the profane sounds of the blues to create some of the world’s first and most influential rock ‘n’ roll songs. He died at the age of 87. He passed away in March 2020.

How Did Little Richard Die?

Little Richard’s family was initially hesitant to disclose the cause of his death, but later on, Richard’s brother came forward and disclosed the reason as bone cancer.

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