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Ziggy Marley Says Mom Rita Was 'Backbone of Everything': 'Without Her, None of This' Would've Happened (Exclusive)

Ziggy Marley opens up to PEOPLE about mom Rita's special bond with his late father Bob Marley

<p>Kevin Mazur/Wireimage</p> Ziggy Marley with his mom Rita in Jamaica around 1999

Kevin Mazur/Wireimage

Ziggy Marley with his mom Rita in Jamaica around 1999

Bob Marley’s legendary music helped catapult him to international fame — but it was the support of his wife, Rita, that helped craft his legacy.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Bob and Rita’s son Ziggy Marley opens up about his parents’ marriage, and explains just how Rita, 77, gave Bob a foundation to achieve stardom.

“My mom is the backbone of everything. Without her, none of this would’ve been happening. My father's career wouldn’t be what it is,” says Ziggy. “They really complement each other in that way. You need someone like that by your side. You can’t do it alone. You could never do it alone.”

Rita, a singer and songwriter herself, met Bob when she was 17 years old and he was 19, and they married in 1966. She performed with her husband as a backup singer, and they had three children together: Cedella, 56, Ziggy, 55, Stephen, 51.

Though Bob had dalliances with other women, which resulted in seven children, Rita was unfazed, telling PEOPLE in 1984, “It gives me more love for Bob to have him hand these legacies down to me. I was never mingled in the other women’s affairs. I was always his very special one. When God puts you together, you remain together no matter what happens.”

Related: Bob Marley's Son Ziggy Shares the Last Thing the Singer Ever Told Him and Why He Vows to Live by It (Exclusive)

<p>Allan Tannenbaum/Getty</p> Bob Marley

Allan Tannenbaum/Getty

Bob Marley

Ziggy tells PEOPLE that his parents came “up together from nothing,” and in doing so established something that transcended their physical bond.

“They had more than a physical connection,” he says. “They had a spiritual connection, and that’s the deepest kind of connection you can have.”

Rita is currently helping preserve her late husband’s legacy as a producer on the film Bob Marley: One Love (out Feb. 14), which stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as the musician. Ziggy also serves as a producer, as does Cedella, while his wife Orly is an executive producer.

<p>Ian West/PA Images via Getty</p> Ziggy Marley with Bob Marley: One Love actors Lashana Lynch (who plays Rita) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (who plays Bob) in London on Jan. 30, 2024

Ian West/PA Images via Getty

Ziggy Marley with Bob Marley: One Love actors Lashana Lynch (who plays Rita) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (who plays Bob) in London on Jan. 30, 2024

Related: Photographer Reveals the Stories Behind Iconic 1977 Bob Marley Photos: 'One Love' (Exclusive)

In the years since losing the “Redemption Song” singer to cancer in 1981, family has remained a cornerstone for the Marley clan. Ziggy is dad to daughter Judah, 18, and sons Gideon, 17, Abraham, 13, and Isaiah, 7, with Orly, and son Bambaata, 34, and daughters Justice, 32, and Zuri, 28, from previous relationships.

“He would’ve loved being a grandpa, he loved children. We grew up in a big family, so children were always around. He would be a very loving grandfather,” says Ziggy. “I see a little bit of something of him [in them] every now and again. It’s lovely to see. It’s joyful. One of my sons is like him. He’s a bit like my father, just like my father. He’s a boy just like Bob.”

He continues: “When we come together as family, there’s an energy there. The grandkids get a piece of him through us. They see how we are and can maybe imagine, ‘Alright, that’s maybe how Grandpa was.’ Anytime we get together is honoring our whole ancestry.”

For more on Ziggy Marley, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, available on newsstands everywhere now or subscribe here.

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Read the original article on People.