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Brian McKnight Net Worth | Wife & Kids

What is Brian McKnight’s net worth? Who is Brian McKnight’s wife?


Brian McKnight (birth name – Brian Kelly McKnight) is an American R&B singer-songwriter who has been nominated for 16 Grammy Awards.


McKnight was born on June 5, 1969, in Buffalo, New York, USA. He recently changed his name to Brian Kainoa Makoa McKnight Sr. 

His mother used to sing alto in the gospel choir of Buffalo’s Emanuel Temple.

His brother, Michael McKnight, signed a record deal with Warner Brothers for the group Take 6 in 1990.

Brian became a member of the church choir during his childhood.

He went to Maynard Evans High School in Orlando.

brian mcknight net worth

circa 1970 – @Getty

From 1987 to 1989, McKnight attended Oakwood College, a Seventh-day Adventist university in Alabama.

At age 19, McKnight signed a deal with Wing Records, a Mercury Records subsidiary.

In 1992, Brian released his self-titled debut album. The album reached number 58 on the Billboard 200 chart.

In 1995, he released another album, titled – ”I Remember You.” Two years later, McKnight released an album called – ”Anytime.” This album was nominated for a Grammy and sold more than 2 million copies.

In 1998, he signed with Motown, an American record label that is owned by Universal Music Group. In the same year, Brian released the Christmas album – “Bethlehem.”

what is brian mcknight net worth

Brian McKnight performs at WDAS iHeartRadio Performance Theater February 13, 2013 in Bala Cynwyd – @Getty

On September 21, 1999, he released his sixth studio album, entitled – “Back at One.” The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and it includes the US Billboard Hot 100 hit single “Back at One.” 

In 2002, McKnight was nominated for 5 Grammy awards for his album “Superhero.”

On December 5, 2006, Brian released the album, “Ten.” It features the only guest appearance from Rascal Flatts.

In October 2007, he made his Broadway debut in the show Chicago.

In 2009, McKnight appeared in the 2nd season of Celebrity Apprentice.

From September 2009 to May 2010, he hosted a late-night talk show named – ”The Brian McKnight Show.” 

In 2011, he sang the National Anthem on baseball’s opening day in Cincinnati.

brian mcknight worth

Brian McKnight performs the National Anthem before the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots game at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Foxboro – @Getty

Later that year, he released a YouTube preview of his new song, “If You’re Ready to Learn.” This song had explicit and sexually-charged lyrics.

In introducing the track, the musician said:

“Most people only want to hear me do one kind of song, but there’s been lots of conversations I’ve had with men, lots of conversations I’ve had with women, just about other ‘sexual type things’ that I’d like to tackle.”

In 2014, McKnight sang “Side Pieces” alongside Canadian rapper Drake at the ESPY Awards.

On February 26, 2016, he released the album “Better.” 

On August 25, 2017, Brian released the album “Genesis.” It was produced by Tim Kelley, part of the producing duo Tim & Bob.

On June 26, 2020, McKnight released his 16th album, titled – ”Exodus,” via The SoNo Recording Group.


In 1990, Brian McKnight married Julie McKnight, his college sweetheart. In 2003, the couple got divorced.

Brian McKnight with his first wife Julie

Brian McKnight & wife Julie – 2001 – @Getty

Second Marriage

In 2014, McKnight began dating Leilani Malia Mendoza, a pediatric neurophysiologist.

He said about his wife’s occupation:

“My wife is a Pediatric Neuro Physiologist and for as long as I’ve known her she and her team do everything they can to save children’s lives who suffer from all sorts of brain anomalies.” 

During a 2016 interview for Oprah, Brian talked about his previous marriage:

Brian McKnight and wife Leilani Malia Mendoza

Leilani Malia Mendoza and Brian McKnight attend Celebrity Fight Night XXV on March 23, 2019 in Phoenix – @Getty

“When you decide to make a commitment to someone, make sure that that person has everything you want.”

McKnight went on to say:

“Do not compromise on one thing because it’s those things that are going to get you through the tough times.”

In May 2017, Brian announced his engagement to Mendoza.

On December 29, 2017, Brian McKnight and Mendoza got married at Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate in Huntington, New York.

His wife’s wedding dress was covered with 50,000 Swarovski crystals. He later said:

“Every song that I write now is about my wife and the love that we share and it’s a real, real thing.”

For their fifth anniversary, Brian wrote on Instagram:

“Baby five years ago today we began this journey not knowing where love would lead us but hindsight being 20/20 I’m so glad you let me into your life so u could show me what I should have been waiting for all my life.”

The Grammy Award-winning artist also wrote:

“There was no life before you and I’m more in love with you every day so happy 5th anniversary of our love and I promise you we’ve only just begun.” 

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With his first wife, Brian McKnight has two sons, Brian Jr. and Niko.

Brian McKnight kids

Brian McKnight, wife Julie McKnight, and sons Nikko McKnight and Brian McKnight, Jr. attend ‘The Grinch’ Universal City Premiere on November 8, 2000 – @Getty

He also has a daughter named Briana and another son named Clyde.

In 2019, Brian Jr said that his father “abandoned” him as a child. In his words:

“I can’t imagine abandoning my children man. It’s hard not to imagine the psyche of a man who can truly just turn his back on his actual sons, on his actual blood, and creations.”

Brian Jr continued:

“It’s mind-boggling to me. I don’t think there is any situation that merits the way my father has chosen to treat my brother, my sisters, and his grandchildren, one of which being his first born’s, firstborn son, who also bears our name.”

McKnight responded:

“I’ve never missed a day of child support. I’ve never done anything adverse to my children whatsoever. I’ve always been there with advice whether they took it or not.”

Brian went on to say:

“Tough love is a tough thing to try and institute to your children because you wanna help them as much as you can and I did as much as I possibly could.”

He added:

“When I stopped doing that for them, BJ was 25 and Brianna was 22. And it wasn’t like I completely cut them off. That happened much later.”

With Leilani Malia Mendoza, Brian has a son named Brian Kainoa Makoa Jr (b. January 2023). Brian and Leilani also had another son, Kekoa Matteo, but unfortunately, he died in infancy.

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how old is brian mcknight wife

Brian McKnight and Leilani Mendoza attend Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XXIII at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on March 18, 2017 – @Getty

Brian has worked with many famous musicians, including:

  • Vanessa Williams;
  • Nelly;
  • Mase;
  • Justin Timberlake;
  • Mary J. Blige;
  • Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.

He is a good friend with many Filipino music veterans, including:

  • Kyla;
  • Regine Velasquez;
  • Martin Nievera;
  • Gary Valenciano.

McKnight is a Seventh-day Adventist.

In his second year of college, he was expelled for having his girlfriend in his dorm room. This is a violation of Oakwood’s rules about dormitory visitors.

In February 2020, he wrote a new song for Kobe Bryant, titled – ”Can’t Say Goodbye.”

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how old is brian mcknight and his wife

Brian McKnight and Leilani Mendoza attend AARP’s 16th annual Movies For Grownups Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 6, 2017 – @Getty

Brian McKnight – Net Worth

So, how much is Brian McKnight worth?

McKnight earned most of his wealth from his music (selling albums and tickets to his concerts). So far, he has received 16 Grammy Awards nominations.

Some of McKnight’s albums are – More Than Words, I Remember You, and more.

McKnight was also a TV host. Furthermore, Brian made money from his YouTube channel (around $1.5 million before taxes).

In 1999, Brian bought a property in Chatsworth’s Summit Ridge Circle for $1.2 million. He sold the house in 2019 for $1.8 million.

Therefore, American singer Brian McKnight has an estimated net worth of $12 million.

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Wednesday 29th of June 2022

To Mr. MC Knight. I'd see you at muscle beach with your to son's there above 6feet tall. Playing basketball I would watch. I was aware of the father son relationship you had by the time you would spend with them. Having a nature for what"s your own trait that are past from one generation to the next tha"s culture. Being of color is'nt.