What happened to Karen Carpenter’s husband Thomas James Burris?

There is no questioning Karen Carpenter’s credentials as a singer. One of the 100 best singers of all times, Karen received praised for her 3-octave contralto vocal range. Alongside her brother, Richard Carpenter, Karen formed the music duo, The Carpenters. An expert on the drums, Karen knew what she was doing when it came to music. But for all her sheer brilliance, Karen lost her life to problems of anorexia and body dysmorphia. While Karen left the stage at a young age, she has left much to remember her, including her only relationship with her ex-husband, Thomas James Burris. In this article, we will take a closer look at the wiki-bio of Thomas James Burris.

A man of few words:

The only reason why Thomas James Burris rose to fame is due to his marriage to Karen Carpenter. While it is assumed that Thomas works in real estate, there has been no proof to validate the claims.
Before his marriage to Karen, Thomas was already married and had a son who was 18-years of age around the time he met Karen. The pair met at a dinner in Ma Maison restaurant in 1980 and began dating soon after. Things moved quickly after that and the pair decided to tie the knot on the 31st August of 1980, in the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California.

Karen Carpenter husband Thomas James Burris

Problems in marriage:

The pair settled in Newport Beach, and Karen was looking to start her family. However, James had never told Karen that he had undergone a double vasectomy and could not give her the family she so desired. The pair’s marriage never rose from the initial shock and the pair separated after just 14 months. Even after the separation, Thomas lived on Karen’s fortune and borrowed up to $50,000 (the equivalent of $141,000 in 2019) at a time from his wife. It reached the point where all Karen was left with was stocks and bonds. Thomas was also blamed for hurling physical and verbal abuse towards Karen. According to one of Karen’s close friends, Karen Kamon, the marriage was the worst thing to have ever happened to Karen.
Having struggled with problems of weight all her life, Karen was in the hospital when she filed for divorce on October 28, 1982. She even revised her will, leaving her marital house to Thomas and the rest to her brother and family. However, the divorce was in the middle of being finalized when Karen passed away on the 4th of February of 1983. Following Karen’s death, John was never seen in the media and has maintained a secret life since.

Karen’s Legacy:

As the years rolled down, Karen’s contribution to the world of music became more clear and obvious. She draws huge praise from singers including Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Pat Metheny, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Shania Twain, Natalie Imbruglia, and k.d. lang. Elton John went so far as to call her “one of the greatest voices of our lifetime.”


Apart from her indispensable contribution to the world of music, Karen’s death also sparked conversations about conditions such as anorexia nervosa. Her family started the Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation, which raised money for research on anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

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