What You Didn't Know About Larry King's Wife, Shawn King

If, as Oscar Wilde said, "marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence" and "second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience," then Larry King could well be one of the most optimistic people on the planet. 

After a first marriage that took place when he was just 18 years old and lasted a year, Larry went on to marry seven more times, including twice to the same woman, Alene Akins, from 1961 to 1963 and 1968 to 1971. But, of all these, it was his last marriage, to Shawn Southwick King, that endured for 22 years (via Daily Mail). 

While the talk show legend said that he wanted to divorce Shawn in 2019, the news that Larry was being treated for COVID-19 at a Los Angeles hospital in 2021 revealed that the two were still very much married — albeit estranged (via Showbiz 411). Here's what you didn't know about Shawn.

Shawn King's parents are show business veterans

Shawn King is no stranger to show business. She's a former singer, television host, actor, and producer who appeared in a variety of television shows in the 1970s and 1980s, including "Knight Rider," "Remington Steele," and "Who's the Boss?" She also hosted USA Network's "Hollywood Insider" from 1990 to 1996 (via People).

Even if she hadn't become an actress, Shawn would have been exposed to the ins and outs of Hollywood anyway through her family. Her father, Karl Engemann, was the vice president of artist and repertoire at Capitol Records, and he was singer Marie Osmond's manager for 35 years. Engemann was also Larry King's manager.

Shawn's mother, Jerri, is a singer, having performed with the '60s group the Ray Conniff Singers as well as Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. Shawn's uncle Bob Engemann and sister Shannon are singers, too.

Shawn and Larry King were married in a hospital room in 1997

Shawn and Larry King's marriage began in a hospital room in 1997, just days before he was scheduled to undergo surgery to clear a blocked blood vessel. The couple welcomed their sons, Chance Armstrong King and Cannon Edward King, in 1999 and 2000, respectively. 

But they aren't Shawn's only children. She has another son from her previous marriage to Daniel Southwick, a professional football player whom she married in 1980. Their son, Danny, was born in 1981 and played in the AFL. Shawn and Daniel Southwick divorced several years after the birth of their son (via People).

Shawn's 22-year marriage to Larry was rocky. She entered rehab in 2008 for an addiction to painkillers, and, in 2010, she was found unconscious after an overdose (via HuffPost). Per People, the overdose came after Shawn reportedly cheated on the talk show host with their son's baseball coach, Hector Penate.

She reportedly cheated on her husband twice

Shawn King would reportedly go on to cheat on Larry King again, but, this time, the affair would take place over the course of a year. 

In 2016, Page Six quoted a source as saying that the Kings' marriage had been over since 2010 and that they were sleeping in separate bedrooms. "They just show up for appearances," said the source. "She loves being Mrs. Larry King and the travel. She stays with him for the kids' sake." 

While the couple denied the rumors, a source later confirmed them (via People). "It's true, and Larry is completely embarrassed and anguished by all of this," they said. "He doesn't know what to do."

Three years later, Larry announced that he wanted to divorce Shawn, who told the Daily Mail that it came as a shock to her. "I was crushed, I had no idea that this was coming, it hurt yeah," she said. "I was totally blindsided."

Larry King tried to divorce Shawn King twice

That wasn't the first time Larry King asked Shawn King for a divorce, however. According to CNN, Larry did file for divorce back in 2010 — something, according to TMZ, she also wanted. The couple worked out their differences but only for a short time.

When Larry asked Shawn for another divorce in 2019, TMZ says it was sparked by moves Shawn was allegedly making that would've put their sons' inheritance in jeopardy.

Shawn and Larry were still married when he died on Jan. 23, 2021, per ET Online. Rumors at the time were that Larry died from COVID-19, but Shawn denied it.

"It was an infection, it was sepsis," she told ET Online. "Well, he was ready to go, I will tell you that. You know, he never really wanted to go but his sweet little body was just, it had been hit so many times with so many things and once we heard the word COVID, all of our hearts just sunk."

Despite their troubles, Shawn claims she and Larry were "close until the very end," explaining that his failing health brought the whole family together. She believes that she and Larry would have reconciled again, telling ET Online that they were "partners in every sense of the way, in business, and in, well, first our family and then business. But we're a close family."

She was left out of her husband's will

Shawn King told ET Online that she and Larry King were able to FaceTime before his death. COVID-19 protocols at the time didn't allow visitors inside hospitals, leaving many families to say their goodbyes over video chat. Larry told her that he loved her, Shawn said, and wanted to make sure she took good care of their sons, Chance and Cannon.

Despite her claims that they were a happy family before his death, Shawn was completely left out of Larry's will, which named Larry King Jr., his oldest son, as executor. According to People, court documents reveal that she contested the will by filing for a petition for probate, which, if it had been successful, would have made her executor instead. Larry's last will was handwritten, making its validity suspect.

Shawn's argument about the will's validity, according to The Hollywood Reporter, also stems from the fact that she claims Larry, who had recently had a stroke, was easily influenced in the years prior to his death. In the days leading up to the new will being written, Larry was preparing for a medical procedure and was "under the influence of pre-operative medication," per Shawn. 

Whether or not she won her claim, however, will remain unknown. Bruce S. Ross, the lawyer of Larry Jr., told Radar Online that the case was settled and that the details would remain confidential.