The many loves of James ‘Jimmy’ Caan: Godfather actor married four times and had five kids

James Caan lived a colorful life full of love and heartbreak before dying at the age of 82 on Thursday. 

The actor, best known for his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, was married four times – including to the playboy model ex-girlfriend of Elvis Presley. 

His fourth marriage to Linda Stokes was his longest, lasting 20 years before he filed for divorce for a third time in 2015. 

Between his wives he had five children; two sons with Linda, a son with Ingrid Hajek, a daughter with Dee Jay Mathis and a son with Sheila Caan. 

First time down the aisle with actress Dee Jay Mathis

1961-1966 

Before landing his first major role in El Dorado and shooting to fame, Caan was married to fellow actor Dee Jay Mathis. 

The pair were together for five years before they separated, just as his star was starting to rise. 

They made a striking Hollywood couple and had a daughter together, Tara, who is now 57. It’s unclear what specifically led their divorce.  

It would be 10 years before Caan – by then a star thanks to his 1972 role in The Godfather – remarried, and this time to a far more famous wife. 

1966: Actor James Caan with wife Dee Jay Mathis attend the Golden Globes in Los Angeles

1966: Actor James Caan with wife Dee Jay Mathis attend the Golden Globes in Los Angeles 

They made a striking Hollywood couple and had a daughter together, Tara, who is now 57

1966: Actor James Caan with wife Dee Jay Mathis attend the Golden Globes in Los Angeles 

Hot on the heels of Godfather fame, Caan marries Elvis’s ex – Playboy model Sheila Ryan

1976-1977 

Caan’s second wife, Sheila Ryan, famously dated Elvis Presley before settling down with him in 1976.  She was the October 1973 cover girl for Playboy.

Caan with model and actress Sheila Ryan before their marriage. The pair are pictured in 1975, the year before they tied the knot

Caan with model and actress Sheila Ryan before their marriage. The pair are pictured in 1975, the year before they tied the knot

The couple's marriage didn't lost long - they were divorced within two years. They had a son together, Scott, in 1977

The couple's marriage didn't lost long - they were divorced within two years. They had a son together, Scott, in 1977

The couple’s marriage didn’t lost long – they were divorced within two years. They had a son together, Scott, in 1977

Sheila Ryan and James Caan in 1977, a year after they married. She had been a Playboy model and dated Elvis before the actor

Sheila Ryan and James Caan in 1977, a year after they married. She had been a Playboy model and dated Elvis before the actor

Sheila Ryan and James Caan in 1977, a year after they married. She had been a Playboy model and dated Elvis before the actor 

Sheila with her son, actor Scott Caan, before her death

Sheila with her son, actor Scott Caan, before her death

She dated Elvis after meeting him at one of his shows, before she met Caan – who by then was a darling of Hollywood after his standout performance in The Godfather. 

Caan and Ryan were divorced in 1977, a year after they married. During their brief marriage however, the pair welcomed a son – Scott. 

Scott Caan is also an actor and a star in his own right after appearing in a string of movies, including Oceans Eleven. He is also well-known for his role in Entourage. 

Sheila died at the age of 60 in 2012. 

Scott seemed to maintain a close relationship with his father, attending events with him throughout his career. 

He is a star in his own right now having appeared in movies including Oceans Eleven. 

Scott has not yet spoken publicly about his father’s death.  

Ingrid Hajek, 1990-1994 

After another long break between marriages, Caan tied the knot with Ingrid Hajek in 1990. 

The pair grew up in the same neighborhood – Sunnyside in Queens, New York – but in different decades. 

Indeed when they tied the knot, Caan was 20 years his bride’s senior at 49. 

After another long break between marriages, Caan tied the knot with Ingrid Hajek in 1990. She was 20 years his junior

After another long break between marriages, Caan tied the knot with Ingrid Hajek in 1990. She was 20 years his junior 

The pair grew up in the same neighborhood - Sunnyside in Queens, New York - but in different decades. Indeed when they tied the knot, Caan was twenty years his bride's senior at 49

The pair grew up in the same neighborhood – Sunnyside in Queens, New York – but in different decades. Indeed when they tied the knot, Caan was twenty years his bride’s senior at 49

Caan with his son Scott and his third wife, model Ingrid Hajek, in 1991 at the premiere of For The Boys

Caan with his son Scott and his third wife, model Ingrid Hajek, in 1991 at the premiere of For The Boys 

The pair were introduced through mutual friends and dated for two years before getting married in 1990. 

Their wedding was aboard the Regentsea yacht in Marina Del Rey. 

The pair had one son together before divorcing in 1994. Today, Ingrid lists herself as a life coach. Her LinkedIn page suggests she lives between Las Vegas and California. 

Linda Stokes, 1995-2015 

The marriage that cost Caan the most heartache – and alimony – was his last. He married Linda Stokes in 1995 and their 20 years together would leave him reportedly cash-strapped due to multiple rounds of court battles and backdated child support. 

Stokes is the mother of Caan’s two youngest sons, James and Jacob. 

Their rocky marriage saw him file for divorce twice – once in 2005 and another in 2009 – before finally calling time on the marriage in 2015. 

Afterwards, he wrote in court filings that he was forced to take embarrassing movie roles to keep up with Linda’s spending. 

James Caan with his fourth wife in 1997

Caan with his wife Linda in 1998 while she was pregnant

James Caan with his fourth wife in 1997 (left) and while she was pregnant with one of their two sons the following year 

He married Linda Stokes in 1995 and their 20 years together would leave him reportedly cash-strapped due to multiple rounds of court battles and backdated child support

He married Linda Stokes in 1995 and their 20 years together would leave him reportedly cash-strapped due to multiple rounds of court battles and backdated child support

Caan and Stokes with his son Scott at a film premiere at The Chinese Theater in 1996, a year after he married Linda

Caan and Stokes with his son Scott at a film premiere at The Chinese Theater in 1996, a year after he married Linda 

‘I am no longer willing to take parts in films and/or television shows which detract from the 50 years I have spent building my reputation,’ he wrote in a 2016 court filing.  

He also fought for joint custody of their then 17-year-old son Jacob. Their older son, James, was already 19.

When their divorce was finalized in 2016, he was ordered to give his ex-wife $400,000 in backdated payments plus $8,000-a-month. 

The sum included a payment to Linda of $5,000-a-month until she remarried or until one of them died. The other $3,000 was for child support. 

He never remarried, instead living out his days as a bachelor until his death this week. 

His family announced his death on Twitter on Thursday saying: ‘It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6. 

‘The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. End of tweet.’ 

James Caan with wife Linda Stokes, his fourth and most acrimonious divorce

James Caan with wife Linda Stokes, his fourth and most acrimonious divorce

 James Caan with wife Linda Stokes, his fourth and most acrimonious marriage which lasted 20 years 

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