Ernest Evans, famously known as Chubby Checker, was born in Spring Gully, South Carolina, on October 3, 1941. He gained prominence as a rock ‘n’ roll singer and dancer, renowned for popularizing iconic dance moves such as “The Twist.” This track has consistently topped the charts since the inception of the Hot 100 in 1960, solidifying Checker’s status as a music legend. Additionally, he introduced the dance craze “Pony Time” to audiences.

In 1964, Checker made headlines for his interracial marriage to Catharina Lodders, a Dutch supermodel who was 21 years old at the time, while Checker was 22.

Checker’s stage name, “Chubby Checker,” was coined during his childhood. He was nicknamed “Chubby” by Tony A, the manager of a produce market where he worked. Later, Checker was given the opportunity to record privately for Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” after being referred by a local songwriter. When asked for his name by Mrs. Clark after his performance, he replied, “My friends call me Chubby.” Mrs. Clark then suggested, “As in Checker,” and the name stuck ever since.

Before interracial marriage was legalized nationwide in 1967, Chubby Checker and Catharina Lodders faced numerous challenges as an interracial couple in the country. Together, they have three wonderful children: Bianca Johanna Evans, Ilka Evans, and musician Shan Egan, and they have remained a close-knit family throughout their journey. Additionally, Evans has a daughter from a previous relationship.

Interestingly, Chubby Checker’s second single, “The Twist,” wasn’t actually his first. His debut song was titled “The Class,” where he sang “Mary Had a Little Lamb” while imitating other famous singers. After gaining some popularity, he was signed by the record company Cameo-Parkway Records. Then, in 1960, “The Twist” became an instant classic.

“The Twist” has endured over the years and remains widely recognized today. Checker attributes its success to its simplicity, fun, and hint of sexiness. He believes that people are drawn to these elements and simply want to have a good time.

Following the success of “The Twist,” Checker released “Let’s Twist Again” a year later, which also became a commercial hit. Interestingly, this song has become his most well-known in recent years. Checker not only popularized the Twist dance but also other dances such as the Pony, the Limbo, and the Fly.

In addition to his successful music career, Checker has enjoyed a fulfilling personal life, particularly with his marriage to Dutch model Catharina Lodders. They met in the Philippines in 1964, where Checker claimed it was love at first sight. He knew he wanted to marry her the moment he laid eyes on her, despite initially not wanting to get married. Catharina Lodders, who was Miss World 1962, hails from the Netherlands, and they remain happily married to this day.

Despite facing challenges as an interracial couple, Chubby Checker and Catharina Lodders remained steadfast in their love for each other. Checker expressed that he didn’t care what others thought when they learned he was marrying a white woman, emphasizing that love knows no color. However, they encountered obstacles, such as difficulties in purchasing a home together due to their mixed-race status. Checker used this experience to criticize segregation, affirming that he and his wife refused to participate in discriminatory practices. Eventually, they settled in Philadelphia, where they still reside.

There were speculations early in their relationship that Checker’s mother disapproved of Lodders because of her race, but Checker refuted these claims. He stressed the happiness and unity of his family, highlighting their acceptance of Lodders.

Finding a church where they could exchange vows was another challenge for Checker and Lodders. They eventually married on April 12, 1964, at the Temple Lutheran Church in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Reflecting on their marriage shortly after the ceremony, Checker remarked that they were simply two people with the same outlook on life.

Checker’s enthusiasm for marriage was evident then, and it seems unchanged to this day. Evans and Lodders celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary in 2020 and will mark their 60th anniversary in 2022. Their enduring commitment to each other is a testament to the strength of their love and partnership over the years.

Evans has not only shown dedication to his wife but also to his children, including Mistie Bass. Despite never marrying Pam Bass, Mistie’s mother, Evans has made considerable efforts to maintain a close and meaningful relationship with his daughter.

When Mistie was a basketball player at Duke University in 2006, the Tampa Bay Times reported that she received a voicemail from her father during the week regarding Final Four preparations. Evans advised her to keep a calm head. Later, the singer attended William’s last home game and even performed the national anthem.

Evans expressed his admiration for Mistie, describing her as a blessed individual and an angel who has made excellent choices. He also praised her team’s fierce competition, stating that it was a unique experience for him.

“She’s good at maintaining focus,” he continued. “I get a heart attack while attending her games. I’m very worried about her.”

In 2006, Mistie graduated from Duke University. She was selected by the Phoenix Mercury in the same year but was later transferred to the Houston Comets of the WNBA. However, she is currently not playing professionally.

Evans and Mistie have always had a strong bond, and they have both put in effort to nurture their father-daughter relationship, according to Mistie. “My mother did a terrific job of making sure I knew there was always love there,” she said. “I’ve always had a relationship with my father, and as I’ve grown older, it has only become stronger.”