The Truth About Colonel Sanders' Marriage

Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is nothing if not a controversial figure. According to The Verge, Sanders really did have a fairly bizarre life. He experimented with an incredible number of jobs, including being a farmer, lawyer, insurance salesman, secretary, lighting manufacturer, soldier, railroad fireman, and more. And his seeming aptitude for getting bored easily clearly meant he didn't mind shuffling between different positions.

Sanders first started working on the KFC franchise when he was 65 years old, after managing to sell his first restaurant. He worked hard and would devote a lot of time to perfecting his chicken recipe, making food for customers and even spending nights in his car, exhausted but full of enthusiasm. Another thing that is worth taking a sneak peek into is Sanders' marriage. His personal life wasn't straightforward. As reported by Entrepreneur, Sanders first got married to his first wife, Josephine, when he was just 19. 

Sanders' relationship with his first wife was a bit messy

To put it frankly, Colonel Sanders was unhappy in his first marriage. According to Entrepreneur, Josephine didn't want to get physical with him after their three kids were born. This didn't go down too well with Sanders who started trying to look for other avenues to fulfill his needs. This is how he ended up in an affair with a former waitress named Claudia Ledington from his first eatery, Sanders Cafe. Ledington and Colonel Sanders were together for a few years and got married in 1949, after Sanders and Josephine finalized their divorce.

Ledington was said to have been very supportive as Sanders perfected KFC and its brand identity, building restaurants across the country and working on his dream. As the couple worked on earning nationwide recognition for KFC, Ledington traveled with her husband in a bid to help promote it (via The New York Times.) She once said, ”I went into restaurants all over the country and played the part of the hostess with this antebellum dress on." So, while Sanders relationships may have had their ups and downs, he at least had a strong support system down the road.