Who is Thomas James Burris, the ex-husband of Karen Carpenter?

Who is Thomas James Burris, the ex-husband of Karen Carpenter?

Thomas James Burris, an American real estate developer, gained prominence in the early 1980s following his marriage to singer-drummer Karen Carpenter. Their short marriage was affected by various issues, including Thomas' financial problems and Karen's health struggles. Where did he go after their divorce?

Karen Carpenter and Thomas James Burris on their wedding day
Karen Carpenter and Thomas Burris after their wedding in Beverly Hills, California (L). Photo: Frank Edwards/NBCU (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


Thomas Burris' wife, Karen Carpenter, was one half of the highly successful pop duo. The Carpenters, alongside her elder brother Richard Carpenter. The Grammy-winning band had significant commercial success in the 1970s, and Karen's vocal prowess continues to attract praise. Rolling Stone included her in their 2010 list of the greatest singers of all time.

Thomas James Burris' profile summary and bio

Full nameThomas James Burris
Date of birthNovember 30, 1940
Age83 years as of 2024
Birth signSagittarius
Place of birthUnited States
Sexual orientationStraight
Marital statusDivorced
WifeKaren Carpenter (1980 to 1983)
ChildrenOne son
ProfessionReal estate developer
Known forHis marriage to singer Karen Carpenter

Read also

Who is Marie-France Ward, Fred Ward's ex-wife? 7 Top facts

How old is Thomas James Burris?

Karen Carpenter's ex-husband, Tom James Burris, was born in the United States on November 30, 1940. He is 83 years old today.

Thomas Burris and Karen Carpenter's marriage

Tom Burris was a 39-year-old divorcee with an 18-year-old son when he met singer and drummer Karen Carpenter at Ma Maison restaurant in early 1980. The singer had earlier said she would not get married as long as she was touring, but she changed her mind during her relationship with Tom.

Burris proposed in June 1980, and they tied the knot two months later, on August 31, 1980, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California. They resided in Newport Beach, California, but their marriage lasted about 14 months. The two did not have any children together when they parted ways.

Thomas James Burris' facts
Thomas James Burris' top 5 facts. Photo: Michael Ochs
Source: Original

Why did Karen Carpenter's marriage end?

Thomas Burris and Karen Carpenter's relationship started having problems just before they tied the knot. Tom told her he had a vasectomy days before their wedding rehearsal and offered to reverse the procedure, but Karen's chances of becoming a mother were significantly reduced.

Read also

Michael Bolton's health, age, family, wife, profiles, net worth

In Randy Schmidt's revealing biography, Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter, the author reveals that the singer felt betrayed. She was looking forward to becoming a mother after the wedding.

Karen felt betrayed. Burris had lied to her; he had withheld this information for the duration of their courtship and engagement, knowing full well that starting a family was at the top of Karen's list of priorities. This was a deal breaker.

Carpenter wanted to cancel the wedding and called her mother, Agnes, to inform her. Agnes refused to let her back out because she had spent a fortune planning for the big day and had already sent out invitations.

After marriage, Karen expressed her desire to have children, but Burris refused. The singer's friends later revealed that he had been abusive towards her and would occasionally lose his temper.

Read also

Who was Barry Comden, American actress Doris Day's fourth husband?

The Roade Ode hitmaker filed for divorce on October 28, 1982, while admitted at Lenox Hill Hospital. The couple had broken up in November 1981 before she initiated the divorce proceedings. She unfortunately died before the court could annul the marriage.

Tom Burris and Karen Carpenter's wedding
Thomas James Burris and singer Karen Carpenter on their wedding day. Photo: Michael Ochs
Source: Getty Images

Thomas James Burris' net worth

Information about Tom Burris' net worth today is unknown. Karen Carpenter used to take care of all the expenses when the two were married, and her family and friends were concerned that her husband was living beyond his means.

Tom could not afford the expensive cars he drove, their house, and even the wedding ring. According to the Carpenter's family friend, Evelyn Wallace, as detailed in Randy Schmidt's Karen biography, Burris made the singer go broke.

It wasn't long after they got married that he started asking her for money... He'd give her some excuse, and she'd give him the money. He'd ask for $35,000 and $50,000 at a time. Finally, it got down to the point where all she had left was stocks and bonds.

Read also

Personal life of Fred Durst's ex-wife, Esther Nazarov, after the divorce

Where is Thomas James Burris now?

There is no public information about Thomas James Burris' whereabouts today. He deliberately stayed out of the spotlight. He was last publicly spotted at Carpenter's funeral in 1983.

The Carpenter siblings
Karen and her brother Richard during The Carpenters at Christmas special. Photo: ABC
Source: Getty Images


Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Karen Carpenter's husband and other aspects of her tragic life.

Did Tom Burris attend Karen Carpenter's funeral?

Tom Burris attended Karen's funeral despite their marital struggles. Their divorce had not been finalized when the singer died. Burris placed his wedding ring into Karen's casket during the funeral service.

Is Thomas James Burris still alive?

According to various reports, the real estate developer is still alive. He, however, chose to keep a low profile after the death of his second wife, Karen Carpenter.

What was Karen Carpenter's cause of death?

The singer's cause of death was ruled to be heart failure related to her lengthy struggle with anorexia nervosa. She was found unconscious in a closet at her parent's home and was taken to the hospital, where she died. Karen was the first celebrity casualty of an eating disorder, and her public struggle with the ailment helped raise awareness.

Read also

Get to know Martin Sheen's wife, actress Janet Sheen

Karen Carpenter at Heathrow Airport
Karen Carpenter arriving at Heathrow Airport for a concert tour of Britain. Photo: PA Images
Source: Getty Images

What happened during Karen Carpenter's last days?

The singer lost a lot of weight, reaching a mere 90 lbs, and her last days were marked by her struggle to overcome anorexia nervosa. According to Time, she was called chubby as a teenager, prompting her to diet.

As a celebrity living in the limelight, she tried to maintain her weight by taking the vomit-inducing drug Ipecac. Unfortunately, her obsession with weight loss led to a severe eating disorder. Karen Carpenter's last photo at a promotional photoshoot for the 25th annual Grammy Awards showed her dramatic weight change, raising questions about her health.

How old would Karen Carpenter be today?

The singer was born on March 2, 1950, in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. She would have been 73 years old today. She was 32 when she passed away on February 4, 1983.

Who got Karen Carpenter's money when she died?

Read also

Christopher Harvest's music career ended before it took off

The singer's net worth was estimated to be $6 million ($14 million today) at the time of her death, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Most of her fortune was in long-term assets; she only had $2,000 in her bank account.

Her estate went to her parents, Agness and Harold Carpenter, and her brother Richard. Her ex-husband, Tom, did not inherit anything.

The Carpenter siblings
Karen and her brother Richard Carpenter during a previous photoshoot. Photo: Chris Walter
Source: Getty Images

Thomas James Burris' biography highlights a part of Karen Carpenter's life that was supposed to be good but instead caused her further betrayal. Nothing has been heard from him since the singer's death.

READ ALSO: Richard Carpenter's age, children, wife, career, profiles, net worth

Briefly.co.za shared lesser-known facts about Richard Carpenter. He is an American singer-songwriter who gained fame as one half of the pop music duo The Carpenters, alongside his sister Karen.

At the height of their careers, Richard was fighting drug abuse as his sister struggled with a severe eating disorder. He managed to bounce back, but his sister lost the battle. Check the article for more on what he has been doing since the end of The Carpenters following Karen's death.

Source: Briefly News

Online view pixel