Kirk Franklin first met his wife Tammy Franklin at a water park when they were 18
Kirk Franklin and Tammy Franklin have been married since 1996, when the gospel icon was in the early stages of his career.
But through it all, his wife, Tammy, has been by his side. The couple first met almost a decade before they wed, when they were both 18. They then crossed paths again four years later and began dating, though it didn’t work out, as Tammy had to move out of Texas with the girl group she was singing in.
Three years later in 1995, they began dating again, and then married a year later. They both have a child from previous relationships and would go on to welcome two children together.
Faith is important to both Kirk and Tammy, and it plays a major part in their marriage. Kirk told Today’s Christian Woman about their marriage, “God wants us to be, in our married lives, blueprints for people, especially young people … You can't take a blueprint and just throw it on the ground. You have to make sure you keep it in a place that's clean and covered because that's the only thing you have to build the house upon."
So who is Kirk Franklin’s wife? Here's everything to know about Tammy Franklin and her relationship with the gospel singer.
She first met Kirk when she was 18
Kirk and Tammy first met at a water park in their home state of Texas. Of her first meeting with Kirk, Tammy said on the Tamron Hall Show, “He was cute, he had on Cross Colours, he was 18 years old. He had a vision, he had a plan and he was honest."
Four years later, they met again when Tammy’s cousin invited her to a taping of one of Kirk’s demos. When Tammy went along, she recognized Kirk from the water park, and they dated for several weeks.
“From that day on we talked on the phone ...” Tammy told Today’s Christian Woman, before Kirk interrupted, "You're leaving out the good stuff. You're leaving out the fact that you came in the back and gave me your number. I called her because, of course, I noticed her. I thought, 'She's bad.' ”
She began dating Kirk again in 1995
Tammy moved to Minneapolis for her singing career, and though she tried to make a long-distance relationship work with Kirk, they decided to stay friends.
Things changed when Kirk stopped returning Tammy’s calls, which she views as a way God could let them mature spiritually during their time apart.
In March 1995, Tammy called Kirk and left him a message, saying: “You haven't been returning my phone calls. I just wanted to say hi and see how you were doing. But I'm not going to call anymore."
From then on, they began dating again.
She married Kirk in 1996
Kirk and Tammy married on Jan. 20, 1996. She told Equipped by Faith in 2020, “Kirk proposed to both me and my daughter with rings — I knew he was the one I wanted to be with. I knew God would continue to equip me for the ministry and our calling together.”
In 2021, Tammy celebrated their 25th anniversary with an Instagram post featuring throwback wedding photos. She wrote in the caption, “Half of my life I’ve loved this man… we have come this far by God’s grace. I’m simply humbled that I love you more than I did.”
She has four children
When Tammy married Kirk, she had a 9-year-old daughter, Carrington, while Kirk had a 10-year-old son, Kerrion. They then had two children together: daughter Kennedy was born in 1997, while son Caziah was born in 2000.
Through Carrington, Tammy is also a grandmother. Carrington has two children, a son, Shiloh, and a daughter, Levi, with her husband Maxx Nakwaasah.
She co-hosts a TV show with Kirk and a radio show with her daughter
Along with her husband, Tammy hosts the TV One show The One, a dating show that helps people find love. The show’s debut season began airing in 2023, and featured the couple helping a man and a woman from Atlanta find love, The Christian Post reported.
Speaking to Essence, Tammy said about being asked to work on the show, “When people have come to us about reality TV, I’ve always thought if I ever did anything, it would be to help somebody. It wouldn’t be as we see it standardly today. And so that’s what piqued my curiosity, the fact that we would be coaches and coming alongside and helping someone.”
With her daughter Carrington, Tammy co-hosts the SiriusXM radio show In Real Life on her husband’s gospel channel, Kirk Franklin’s Praise.
She is active on social media
Tammy frequently posts on social media, where she has thousands of followers. She has nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram and has shared over 1,500 posts on the platform — including many with her husband and children.
She also shows off her passions for fashion and fitness on Instagram, with both having their own highlights section on her profile.
She follows Christianity alongside Kirk
Her husband is well-known for making Christian music and for his faith, and Tammy is religious too.
Tammy told Equipped by Faith, “I grew up in a very, very driven household in a denomination that was very religious. My grandmother was very strict but sprinkled Jesus on everything — and that began a journey for me where God’s presence was very scary for me. I was only taught about God’s wrath — not his love. As I began my own journey of just coming into relationship with God I began to understand who he really was.”
She supports and defends her husband
Tammy has often supported and defended her husband, both in public and in private. In 2023, she defended Kirk after he was criticized for partying at a lounge in Atlanta, telling the radio station Praise 102.5, “This was for our daughter. She just graduated with her master's and so we were there celebrating. You know, when your child wants you to come with them, that’s a good thing, they’re not embarrassed of you.”
And 11 months after the couple married, Kirk fell off stage and had a brain contusion, spending time in a coma as a result. While doctors weren’t sure if Kirk would be able to walk and talk again, he recovered faster than expected and was back on stage after six weeks.
He told Today’s Christian Woman, “When I fell, it really showed me the other side of Tammy. When you say your vows, 'Till death do us part,' and you're really faced with it ... you know somebody's there for better or for worse. It's not just a saying.”
She credits therapy and being “good friends” with Kirk as the key to their long marriage
Tammy and Kirk discussed the longevity of their marriage with Essence in 2023. When they were asked what the key to their success was, Tammy said, “Therapy. Being proactive as best you can as opposed to being reactive ... But also too, Kirk and I are really, really good friends, and because we’re really good friends, we have the others’ best interest at heart and it makes you really care and sensitive, as best you can be, for the other.”
Tammy also told Equipped by Faith, “There was a 4-year off and on period of marriage counseling for us. He would be on tour, but he would fly home on his off day so we could go to counseling.”
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