Karen Carpenter, the famous singer from the pop duo The Carpenters, was married to Thomas James Burris from 1980 until their divorce in 1983. Though their marriage was short-lived, Thomas Burris played an important part in Karen’s life story. Here is some background on who Thomas James Burris was and his relationship with Karen Carpenter:
📜 Burris’ Early Life and Career
Thomas James Burris was born on April 2, 1948 in Ohio. He worked various jobs including as a property manager and a nightclub owner before meeting Karen. Burris was 9 years older than Karen Carpenter. Before they married in 1980 when Karen was 31, he had been married twice before and had a 9-year-old son from his second marriage.
Professionally, Burris owned various nightclubs and bars including a club called Tony Burris’ Roundtable in Los Angeles. He had ambitions of opening more nightclubs and hoped his marriage to famous singer Karen Carpenter would help grow his business ventures.
💍 Karen and Thomas’ Whirlwind Wedding
Karen and Thomas met through mutual friends in 1979. They fell in love quickly, though Karen’s friends and family were concerned about how fast the relationship was progressing. After just a few months of dating, Karen and Thomas wed in a small ceremony on August 31, 1980 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The tabloids had a field day covering their wedding and the apparent mismatch between superstar Karen Carpenter and unknown nightclub owner Thomas Burris. At the time, Karen was at a low point in her personal and professional life as she battled anorexia nervosa, so her family and friends worried she was not making a wise decision.
🏡 Their Marriage and Divorce
After their lavish honeymoon in Europe, Karen and Thomas settled into a new $475,000 home Karen had purchased in Newport Beach. However, their married life was not blissful. Burris was away often tending to his nightclub business while Karen stayed home alone. Her health continued to deteriorate as she struggled with anorexia.
In September 1981, just over a year into their marriage, Karen filed for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences.” The divorce was finalized in 1983 with Karen giving Burris a $250,000 settlement. She described the marriage as a “bad mistake” in interviews. Tabloids suggested that Burris had married Karen solely to advance his career and take advantage of her wealth.
💸 Burris’ Net Worth
It is difficult to pin down Thomas Burris’ exact net worth, but it is safe to say that his divorce settlement and career in nightclub/bar ownership made him a wealthy man. Some estimates put his career earnings in the millions.
The $250,000 divorce settlement from Karen allowed him to invest in more business opportunities. Also, during their marriage Karen had lavished him with expensive cars, jewelry and other luxuries. While nowhere near as wealthy as superstar Karen Carpenter, Burris did amass a small fortune especially after their divorce.
📏 Burris’ Personal Details
In addition to his career and finances, here are some other personal details on Karen Carpenter’s ex-husband Thomas James Burris:
- Age: Burris was born in 1948 making him 9 years older than Karen. He would be 75 years old if still alive today.
- Height: He was around 6 feet tall, much taller than petite Karen who was just 5’4″.
- Appearance: He had a mustache and shoulder-length dark brown hair which was the style in the 1970s. Handsome and well-dressed.
- Personality: Burris was described as charming and gregarious, which is likely how he wooed Karen. But friends called him a “player.”
- Current Status: Not much is known about Burris’ life after his divorce. There are some rumors he later remarried but nothing confirmed. His current whereabouts are unknown.
So in summary, Thomas James Burris was an ambitious businessman who led an exciting jetsetting life during his 3-year marriage to music superstar Karen Carpenter in the early 1980s. Their dramatic relationship garnered much media attention before ending in a bitter divorce.
🎶 The Legacy of Karen Carpenter
Despite her unsuccessful marriage, Karen Carpenter’s beautiful voice and iconic music with The Carpenters has endured for generations. She recorded hit songs like “Rainy Days and Mondays”, “Close to You”, and “Top of the World” that remain popular today.
Though she passed away tragically in 1983 at the young age of 32 from heart failure related to anorexia, Karen’s musical legacy lives on. Her creativity and vocal talent inspired many artists who came after her. She is admired for breaking down barriers for female singers and helping bring the mellow soft-rock style into mainstream music.
Karen’s marriage to Thomas Burris may have been a bump in the road, but her marriage to music was one that lasted forever and touched the lives of millions of fans. Despite her personal struggles, Karen Carpenter was one-of-a-kind both as a singer and trailblazer who paved the way for future artists.