Robin Thicke comes from a truly Hollywood family. His dad is Canadian actor Alan Thicke, most well-known for his role as psychiatrist and father Dr. Jason Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains. His mother Gloria Loring is a charting musician and starred on the soap-opera Days of Our Lives for several seasons in the 1980s. Together his parents also composed theme songs for two popular 80's sitcoms, Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. Thicke was raised in Beverly Hills, but his star parents split-up when he was only seven.
Well-known R&B artist Brian McKnight was the first to discover Robin Thicke's soulful voice when he popped in a demo tape that the young Thicke recorded when he was only 14 years old. According to Thicke, his peers during these early years teasingly branded him Brian McWhite. After hearing the demo McKnight mentored Thicke, and a friendship with Bad Boy Entertainment head Andre Harrell helped him score a record deal with Interscope Records by 16. He got his feet wet writing songs for artists like Brandy, Christina Aguilera and Jordan Knight.
In 2005 Robin received his first Grammy Award for his work on Usher's 2004 album Confessions. The album earned three awards: Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (for "My Boo") and Best Rap/Song Collaboration (for "Yeah!") and Robin is recognized for his production on the track "Can U Handle It?" He continues writing and producing, churning out tracks for megastars like Michael Jackson, Pink and Marc Antony. By age 21 he had penned songs on over 20 gold and platinum-selling albums.
On the merits of this success he released his debut album, A Beautiful World, under the singular name Thicke. The first single, a danc-y number called "When I Get You Alone," leans heavily on a sample from Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven." The album received some critical praise but was only moderately successful, barely breaking into the Billboard 200 and selling less than 100,000 copies. The record's cover features a naked photo of Thicke's girlfriend and future wife Paula Patton.
2006's The Evolution of Robin Thicke would be Robin Thicke's breakout record, solidifying him as a star in the world of R&B/soul music. He signed with a new label - The Neptunes Star Trak imprint - and gave his look a reboot, chopping off his signature long hair. The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200, at one point topping four other Billboard charts simultaneously. Tracks include the megahit "Lost Without U" and guest appearances from Lil' Wayne, Faith Evans and Pharrell Williams.
Robin Thicke is married to his high-school sweetheart, the African-American actress Paula Patton. The couple met at a teen nightclub when they were just 14 and have been together ever since. They married in 2005 and their first child, Julian Fuego, was born in 2010. Thicke credits his wife with helping him connect with black audiences, saying, "she taught me compassion and righteousness, and she taught me all these hidden things that were going on in America that most white people wouldn't be able to understand unless they had a relationship and conversations about it with a black person who's having the black experience in America."
The press often refers to Robin Thicke's music as blue-eyed soul, a term used to describe R&B and soul music performed by white artists. The controversial moniker was first coined in the era of segregation, when white artists like The Righteous Brothers first incorporated these elements into their music. Other well-known blue-eyed soul artists include Van Morrison, Hall & Oates, Adele and Amy Winehouse. In 2007, Thicke became the first white artist since George Michael to reach the top spot on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Song chart with the song "Lost Without U" from his sophomore release The Evolution of Robin Thicke. His concert audiences are also predominantly African-American.
During his early days as a jobbing songwriter, Thicke sported a rather uncool hair style. "I had the long hair! Well, the funny thing was, I had always written and produced for others but I didn't devote time to my own music and I told myself I wouldn't cut my hair until I hear my own song on the radio," he laughed to Australian radio hosts Kyle and Jackie O. "That took about two years, so I ended up with this Jesus perm! There was no style, just a big, flowing head of hair."
Asked by Heat magazine what his most humiliating experience had been, Thicke replied: "Falling off stage in Manchester. I literally walked right off a ten-foot stage and landed on my feet like a cat. My band couldn't see me, so they didn't know where I went. One second they're looking up and I'm there, and the next second I've just disappeared! I had to climb up a speaker box like Spider-Man, just to get back on the stage."
Robin Thicke and Paula Patton announced their separation on February 24, 2014 after almost nine years of marriage. Four months later Thicke released his Paula
album, which was dedicated to his wife. He told Hot 97 that most of the record is an outright ploy to "Get Her Back
Wayne Gretzky was babysitting Robin Thicke when he found out he was being traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the L.A. Kings. Alan Thicke recalled to Sportsnet
: "He got the call at about 9 p.m., and he was gone by 6 the next morning. So we had to find a substitute nanny instantly, which is not as bad as what Edmonton had to find to replace him."
The invitations for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton's wedding were penned by Meghan Markle. A decade ago, before she met Prince Harry, the Suits actress and royal family member had a side-gig doing freelance calligraphy.