Phil and Kay Robertson have been married for almost 50 years; while the first ten were difficult, the Lord saved both of them during that time and has now blessed them with a Christ-centered family - one that America has come to love.
Kay Robertson was sixteen years old when she married Phil, then eighteen. Phil later played football for Louisiana Tech on scholarship, and the two had their first son, Alan, his freshman year of college. Phil eventually decided to leave the football team with one year of eligibility remaining in his college career, and pursued his master's degree in education instead.
The first ten years of marriage were difficult for Phil and Miss Kay. Neither of them knew the Lord at the time, but God eventually saved Kay when she was in her mid-twenties. Phil was caught up in the "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll" of his day, and told The 700 Club that his "life was spiraling out of control in a hurry." Once Kay had received Christ as her Savior, Phil thought she had become too much of a "goodie-goodie" and told her and their three children to leave their home. The separation from her husband was very hard, but Kay's faith carried her through that time.
Kay said that she would have left Phil much earlier than that, but she remembered that her grandmother had taught her as a young girl that marriage is forever - "One man, one wife, for one life," she had said. Kay and many others were praying for Phil's salvation, and God graciously answered their prayers about four months later. Phil came to Kay with tears in his eyes and told her he could not eat or sleep - he wanted to get his family back. He said he would never drink again, but Miss Kay knew better - she told Phil that he couldn't do it on his own and would need to get some help.
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"It's literally what Jesus said - 'From darkness to light,'" said Phil, describing his heart-change after he received Jesus as his Savior and his Lord. Kay said that the Robertson children noticed the change in their father once he came to know Christ. "Nothing could make you feel any happier than that, to see our family all together and love each other," she said.
Phil decided to stay away from his old friends while he was growing in his faith - "I ran from them at first, but then when I got on my feet in faith, they hid from me," Phil joked in a video explaining how Christ had saved their marriage. He was baptized soon afterward, and later that year asked Miss Kay if she would be willing to move down to the river and live off of what they could hunt and fish while he pursued a duck call business. Duck Commander grew slowly at first, and it eventually became a very successful business - "It was either a tremendous stroke of luck," says Phil of the company's success, "or the Almighty said, 'I'll fill your barns up, tamp down, and running over'" (from Luke 6:38).
Phil and Kay have experienced both poverty and wealth together, and are thankful to have found contentment in Christ - even if they lost everything, "It wouldn't matter, we would just be fine," Kay says. When asked how they stay grounded in a television culture that puts worldly pressure on them, Phil highlighted the importance of having a solid foundation in Christ. "When you get right down to it, we're talking about the rarest of commodities when you come to Jesus - peace of mind, all of your sins removed, none of your future ones counted against you, if you just trust God and try - and at the end, the resurrection of the dead," he said. When you weigh the benefits of following after the world and following Christ, Phil attests that there is no comparison - "Listen, I ran without Jesus for the first 28 years, and I've run with Jesus for the last 38. Trust me, the last 38 have been far better."
Willie Robertson told "The Five" that he is thankful for his parents' example - "I don't think there will be a lesson taught on TV that is so powerful about love and forgiveness and marriage than my parents," he said. The Robertson family celebrated Phil and Kay's anniversary in the first episode of Season Four, when Phil and Miss Kay renewed their wedding vows. "From the time I was 14 years old, I loved you," Kay began - "We've been through some good times, and some hard times. I loved you when we were poor and you were not so nice. Now you're really nice, and kind. All I can say about that is, I'm not going anywhere. I will love you forever," she said.