Bob Dylan’s Artistic Family Dynasty

Bob Dylan is arguably one of the most prolific songwriters to ever live. In addition to being a timeless lyricist, Dylan is the father of six children, four of whom he had with his ex-wife, former actress and model Sara Lownds, whom he was married to from 1965 to 1977. He also shares a daughter with his second wife, Carolyn Dennis, and was stepfather to Lownds’ daughter Maria from a previous marriage.

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Dylan passed his brilliance onto his children, many of whom followed in his artistic footsteps. While little is known about eldest daughter Anna and youngest son Samuel, many of Dylan’s other children have had flourishing careers in the public eye. Get to know the Dylan family dynasty below.

Jesse Dylan

At the top of Dylan’s family tree is the eldest son Jesse Dylan. Born in January 1966, Jesse is the first child of Dylan and Lownds. The younger Dylan started his career in film, directing videos for an expansive range of artists including Lenny Kravitz and Elvis Costello. He expanded into feature films, having directed Kicking and Screaming starring Will Ferrell and How High, the latter of which marked his feature film directorial debut in 2001. The 57-year-old was also the director behind will.i.am’s Emmy Award-winning music video in 2008, “Yes We Can,” inspired by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Jakob Dylan

As the second son of Dylan and Lownds, Jakob was born in December 1969. Like his famous father, Jakob ran full force into music and was inspired to start playing after becoming a fan of the Clash during childhood. Jakob is famously the frontman of The Wallflowers and is also a respected songwriter, having penned two of the band’s most notable hits, “6th Avenue Heartache” and the Grammy Award-winning “One Headlight.” In 2006, Jakob embarked on a solo career, with both his solo debut Seeing Things in 2008 and his 2010 follow-up Women + Country both reaching the Top 10 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.

Maria Dylan Himmelman

Maria is the only child Lownds had in her previous marriage. Though not related to Maria by blood, the prolific singer/songwriter treated Maria as his own when he married her mother in 1965. An artist in her own right, Himmelman is an author and poet. She was most recently featured in the literary magazine Plume in August 2023 with her poem, “A Thin Membrane and For the New Parent.” She’s also an actress, having appeared in films and TV shows Skins, Theodore Rex and Cold Dog Soup. She is married to singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman.

[RELATED: Behind the Artist Name: Bob Dylan]

Desiree Dennis-Dylan

Desiree Dennis-Dylan is the youngest of Dylan’s six children. Dylan married his then-backup singer Carolyn Dennis in June 1986, six months after Desiree was born in January. Dylan and Dennis divorced in 1992. Their marriage and Desiree’s existence were largely kept a secret until the publication of British author Howard Sounes’ book, Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, in 2001. Desiree is also a singer and has shared covers of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” on Instagram. She’s also an actress who’s appeared in episodes of NCIS and Modern Family.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1

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