Exploring The Life Of Marilyn Nault: Bill Russell’s Wife

Marilyn Nault black and white photo

Marilyn Nault, born on January 15, 1950, and passed away on January 21, 2009, was the third wife of Bill Russell. He was a famous basketball player for the Boston Celtics.

When you’re married to someone famous, you become famous too. That’s what happened to Marilyn Nault because of her husband’s popularity. Even after she passed away, people still talked about her. Let’s learn more about Bill Russell’s third wife and the interesting life she had.

Early Life & Background

Marilyn Nault was born on January 15, 1950, in Concordia, Kansas, USA, to her parents Quentin and Helen Nault. While both of her parents were American citizens, detailed information about them, such as their occupations, remains elusive as Marilyn didn’t share much about her family background. She identified as White and held American nationality, with her zodiac sign being Aquarius.

Marilyn faced challenges in her early years due to financial difficulties in her family. Her parents struggled to provide for her and her siblings, creating a tough upbringing for the family. Marilyn was not an only child; she belonged to a large Catholic family of seven, including her parents, herself, and four brothers. The family adhered to a devout Christian faith, instilled by their parents while growing up in Kansas. Unfortunately, little is known about Marilyn’s brothers or any further details about her siblings.


Marilyn Nault was a woman of education, having received her primary schooling at a respected Catholic elementary school in Kansas. Those who knew her in those early years attested to her commitment to academics, emphasizing the importance she placed on education.

Continuing her educational journey, Marilyn went on to obtain a university degree. However, specific details such as the name of the university she attended or the course of study she pursued remain undisclosed to the public. Despite the lack of these details, it’s clear that Marilyn valued her education and carried her dedication to learning into her higher studies.

Worked as Sales Person

Following her high school graduation, Marilyn Nault made the move to Seattle, where she took on employment to support her parents. Initially working as a jewelry salesperson, she later explored various other job opportunities.

After completing her university education, Marilyn entered a profession that remains undisclosed to the public. In addition to her professional pursuits, she ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing her own business enterprises. However, details about the nature of her businesses are sparse due to Marilyn’s highly private nature, keeping much of her professional life away from public scrutiny.

Marilyn Nault and Bill Russell’s First Meeting

Marilyn Nault and Bill Russell first crossed paths in 1996 when Marilyn was employed as a jewelry salesperson in Seattle. Their connection was instant, and they soon started dating. Interestingly, Marilyn also took on the role of Bill’s secretary during this time.

Hailing from a religious background in Concordia, Kansas, Marilyn was the daughter of Quentin and Helen Nault. Following her high school graduation, she relocated to Seattle and found work as a jewelry salesperson. It was in this capacity that she eventually became Bill Russell’s secretary and, subsequently, his romantic partner.

Despite being a private couple, Marilyn often accompanied Bill to his public engagements, maintaining a low-key presence in the spotlight. Their relationship evolved from both personal and professional connections, creating a unique bond between the jewelry salesperson turned secretary and the legendary basketball player.

Privte Marriage Ceremony

After a four-year courtship, the couple exchanged vows on February 17th, 2000, a mere three days after Valentine’s Day. Bill Russell and Marilyn Nault embarked on a nine-year journey of love and joy until Marilyn’s untimely demise in 2009.

Despite maintaining a private relationship, details about their marriage are scant. However, one thing is evident—they shared a profound and enduring love that defined their union until Marilyn’s passing. The couple’s commitment to each other marked a chapter of happiness, with the depth of their connection evident in the years they spent together as husband and wife.

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Wives of Bill Russell

Marilyn Nault is not the sole leading lady in the narrative of Bill Russell’s life. Before Marilyn, there were significant chapters that unfolded with other remarkable women who played pivotal roles in the legendary basketball player’s journey.

Rose Swisher, the initial leading lady, entered Bill’s life at the University of San Francisco in the 1950s. Their immediate connection blossomed into marriage on December 9, 1956. Rose was there during the zenith of Bill’s basketball career, offering support and sharing the joys of raising three children. However, their paths diverged in 1973.

Dorothy Anstett, a Miss USA winner and English major from Kirkland, Washington, stepped into the story in 1977. Their union, though brief, marked another significant chapter in Bill’s life. Dorothy chose a quiet life in Seattle after their separation, leaving a distinct imprint on the narrative.

Then came Marilyn Nault, born in Concordia, Kansas, in 1950. A jewelry salesperson from Seattle, she brought a fresh energy to Bill’s life. Their union in 2000 led to nine years of shared happiness, characterized by extensive travels. Marilyn’s untimely passing in 2009 marked a poignant chapter, leaving behind memories that would endure.

Bill Russell and his wife Jeannie Russell.

Finally, in 2018, Jeannine Fiorito, a former professional golfer, became a part of Bill’s story. Their renewal of vows in 2020 signified a new chapter, a late-life love that brought comfort and companionship to Bill. However, the final chapter arrived in 2022 with Bill’s passing, leaving Jeannine to navigate the realm of grief.

Earning & Net Worth

Marilyn Nault’s net worth remains undisclosed due to her highly private lifestyle, making it challenging to pinpoint a specific figure. Nevertheless, there are speculations that her total assets exceeded $1 million at the time of her passing.

In contrast, her husband Bill Russell was estimated to have a net worth of around $10 million when he passed away. Marilyn, characterized as a loving and devoted daughter, chose a professional path aligned with her father’s career, working in the same industry.

Cause of Uncertain Death

Marilyn Nault passed away in the early morning of January 21, 2009, at the age of 59. Her unexpected death came as a shock to many, as she had not been reported sick or admitted to a hospital prior to that day.

The circumstances surrounding Marilyn’s death became a topic of speculation and rumors, given the lack of public information. Some reports suggested that she had been dealing with serious illnesses, while others mentioned cancer as a potential cause. However, the family chose to keep the details of her passing private, and none of the assumptions have been confirmed. As a result, the exact cause of Marilyn Nault’s death remains unspecified.

Her demise was undoubtedly a difficult moment for the entire Russell family, including her stepchildren, who were all deeply saddened by the loss of Marilyn. The family’s decision to maintain privacy reflects their desire to honor her memory in a more personal and reserved manner.

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