Neil Young's 3 Children: All About Zeke, Ben and Amber

Neil Young has two sons and a daughter

<p>Warren Toda/EPA/Shutterstock</p> Neil Young and his daughter Amber at the 40th Annual Juno Awards for Canadian Music in Toronto, Canada on March 27, 2011.

Warren Toda/EPA/Shutterstock

Neil Young and his daughter Amber at the 40th Annual Juno Awards for Canadian Music in Toronto, Canada on March 27, 2011.

Neil Young’s three children Zeke, Ben and Amber Young, are the light of his life.

The rock star first became a dad in 1972 when he welcomed his son Zeke with actress Carrie Snodgress. The couple discovered early on that Zeke has cerebral palsy, a disorder caused by abnormal brain development or injury to the brain that affects a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Neil and Snodgress split in 1975, and the musician started a relationship with singer Pegi Young, whom he married in 1978. When their first child, Ben, was born that same year, he was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy. As Neil told Rolling Stone in 1988, “The doctors said, 'There’s no connection between [Zeke and Ben’s conditions] at all. It’s a fluke that both have cerebral palsy. ”

Related: Who Is Neil Young's Wife? All About Actress Daryl Hannah

Becoming a father to two children with special needs changed Neil’s priorities. “I became much more involved in family, taking care of the family, making sure the family was secure,” he told Rolling Stone.

Zeke and Ben also changed his outlook on hardship. As he told Nick News in 1994, “There are so many kids with challenges that are so great, and yet they just keep trying. If I come up against something that's hard to deal with, I can handle it.”

Neil and Pegi welcomed another child, Amber Jean Young, in 1984, before splitting in 2014. The rocker has since married actress Daryl Hannah.

Keep reading to learn more about Neil Young’s three kids, Zeke, Ben and Amber.

Zeke Young, 51

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty</p> Zeke Young, Ben Young and Neil Young attend the 'Paradox' premiere during the SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 15, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Zeke Young, Ben Young and Neil Young attend the 'Paradox' premiere during the SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 15, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Neil and Snodgress welcomed Zeke on Sept. 8, 1972.

The performer opened up about his son’s birth in his 2012 book, Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream. “He was a beautiful baby boy,” Neil wrote.

According to the “Heart of Gold” singer, he and Snodgress noticed early on that Zeke’s right foot “seemed extended and he could not straighten out his ankle.”

“His right hand was also held in a different position from his left, and he did not have the same control of it,” Neil wrote in the book.

Though Neil and Snodgress got Zeke a brace, Neil said it made things difficult for his son socially. “He started to get picked on by the other kids,” he wrote. “This was the beginning of a rough time for him, and he began to lash out ... and had a lot of anger that he was expressing.”

Zeke was eventually diagnosed with what Neil told Rolling Stone was “very mild cerebral palsy” after experiencing a grand mal seizure. Neil and Snodgress broke up around the same period in 1975, and Zeke split his time between his mother's and father’s households.

Later on, according to Neil, Zeke began to thrive at the Morning Sky School in Mountain Center, Calif. “Zeke came out of there a changed man,” he wrote.

Neil's elder son also began to work: In addition to sound department credits on films such as Sometimes They Come Back … Again and Terminal Justice, Zeke worked at Home Depot as of 2012, according to The New York Times.

In April 2004, Snodgress died of heart failure at the age of 57 while waiting for a liver transplant. According to Today, Zeke was by his mother’s side at the time of her death.

By 2012, Neil and Zeke had grown “very close.” He wrote: “When I look at him, I admire him for the wonderful man he has grown up to be, handling himself so beautifully, and I feel very proud."

Ben Young

<p>Steve Jennings/WireImage</p> Pegi Young, Neil Young and Ben Young attend the 30th Annual Bridge School Benefit concert on October 22, 2016, in Mountain View, California.

Steve Jennings/WireImage

Pegi Young, Neil Young and Ben Young attend the 30th Annual Bridge School Benefit concert on October 22, 2016, in Mountain View, California.

Neil and his then-wife Pegi welcomed son Ben in 1978.

Unlike his big brother, who has a milder form of cerebral palsy, Ben was born with what Neil told Rolling Stone is “severe cerebral palsy.”

The rocker emphasized that Ben was a “wonderful little human being” from early on. “His soul is there, and I’m sure that he has an outlook on the world that we don’t have because of the disabilities,” he said.

In 1986, Ben’s struggles in his learning program inspired Neil and Pegi to open The Bridge School, which teaches students with severe disabilities to communicate better.

The former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young member also built an intricate miniature train set for his son, who became a student of The Bridge School. "I built it so that my son and I could have something to do together, especially when we found out how disabled Ben was physically," he told Nick News.

The project became a great source of joy for the pair. “[It’s] a huge train set that he controls with buttons and stuff,” Neil explained to Rolling Stone. “He’s learning how to communicate and play games and solve problems using a computer.”

Ben’s communication style inspired several of Neil’s songs. “If you listen to Trans, if you listen to the words to ‘Transformer Man’ and ‘Computer Age’ and ‘We R in Control,’ you’ll hear a lot of references to my son and to people trying to live a life by pressing buttons ... and talking with people who can’t talk,” he told American Songwriter in April 2024.

Ben graduated from Half Moon Bay High School in 1998. One year later, he started a chicken farm on his family’s ranch, per SFGate.

The farm was certified organic in 2002. Ten years later, Ben was raising about 250 chickens and selling their eggs by the thousands. "I have a hand in every part of the business," he told SFGate, noting that his disability was the most challenging part. “It takes more time to do things, and some people think I don't understand them,” he said, adding, “The help of good friends ... gets me through any obstacles.”

Ben also faithfully accompanied his father on tour for many years as his confidant. “He’s our spiritual leader in that way,” Neil told The New York Times in 2012. “We take him everywhere.” Neil added: “I tell Ben everything, and he listens. He knows everything.”

In 2018, the father and son hit the red carpet together with Neil’s wife Hannah for the premiere of the couple’s film, Paradox.

According to Neil, Ben has taught him to “have faith and belief and inner strength and to never give up.”

“Just by himself,” he told Esquire. “By being a gift to us.”

Amber Jean Young

<p>Gregg DeGuire/WireImage</p> Neil Young, Pegi Young and their daughter Amber at the 22nd Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards.

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Neil Young, Pegi Young and their daughter Amber at the 22nd Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards.

Neil and Pegi waited six years before having their second child together, Amber Jean Young, in 1984.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, like her father, Amber has epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes unprovoked, recurring seizures.

Weeks after Amber’s birth, Neil began playing a tribute song to her in his concerts titled “Amber Jean” that included the lyrics, “Amber Jean, oh Amber Jean, prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen.” (The track was later included in 2011’s live album, A Treasure.)

Neil opened up about his only daughter to Rolling Stone in 1988, saying, “My third child, Amber, is just a little flower, growing like a little flower should.”

According to the California-based artist, her early days, which were spent on Broken Arrow Ranch near Kings Mountain, Calif., were filled with art. “I took art classes in preschool and that started me on a path that I never diverged from,” she told Palo Alto Online in 2022.

After attending high school in San Francisco, Amber attended Kenyon College in Ohio before earning her master’s degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting.

Neil and Pegi were extremely supportive of their daughter, featuring her work on both of their album covers and jackets, per Amber's website. “Not a lot of people get the level of encouragement I received,” she told Palo Alto Online.

At first, she worked with mixed media, including textiles and quilts. “My mother was an avid collector of textiles, including Navajo weaving, baskets, Persian rugs and lace,” Amber told Palo Alto Online. Her art underwent a transformation after Pegi died of ovarian cancer in January 2019.

In March 2022, Amber held a month-long solo painting exhibit at Bryant Street Gallery in Palo Alto, Calif., titled “Pegi’s Garden” in honor of her late mother.

The works attempted to capture the feelings her mother felt on her better days. “As everyone in the cancer community knows, those days are hard to come by, so I wanted to highlight that in the work ... by incorporating color, patterns, flowers and houseplants,” Amber told the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA).

It also gave her an outlet for her grief. After calling her mother every day throughout her illness, Amber told Palo Alto Online that painting with color “helped me move through the grief of her passing. It shored me up and tricked my brain into feeling good.”

The exhibit raised more than $14,000 for the OCRA after matched donations from Pegi’s siblings.

In addition to her art, Amber has a support system in her family: Pegi and Neil were present when she married investment banker Rajib Chowdhury in San Francisco in 2013, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Amber and Chowdhury later welcomed two children together, Ronan and Aliyah.

The couple celebrated their 10-year anniversary in June 2023. Amber shared a sweet Instagram tribute to her husband at the time, writing, “This man is a hero. The last decade has been chaotic in both wonderful and horrible ways, but through all the madness and two children my husband Capricorned it up and kept the family on track and moving forward. I’m forever grateful to be on this journey with Rajib. He’s exactly what I need."

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