Get to know Artis Mills, the late Etta James' husband

Get to know Artis Mills, the late Etta James' husband

Artis Mills is a manager and a celebrity husband from the United States. He is popularly known as the husband of the late singer and songwriter Etta James. His late wife is widely known for hits such as At Last, Something's Got a Hold On Me, and All I Could Do Is Cry.

Singer Etta James Band performing live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (L). Etta James & Husband posing for a photo sitting on red sits at Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States (R).
Etta James performing live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (L). James & Husband at Hollywood Boulevard (R). Photo: @Clayton CallEtta, @Ron Galella on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


Artis Mills came into the limelight following his marriage to Etta James. Artis and Etta James were married for over three decades before his wife died in 2012. He was involved in a legal battle with his stepsons over his late wife's estate.

Profile summary

Full nameArtis Mills
Place of birthUnited States
Current residenceUnited States
Hair colourBlack
Eye colourDark brown
Marital statusWidower
WifeEtta James (Deceased)
ProfessionTour manager

Artis Mills' bio

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The celebrity husband was born in the United States. He is an American citizen of African-American descent. Artis Mills' date of birth remains a mystery.

Why is Artis famous?

Artis Mills, Etta James' husband, is widely known for his relationship with the late singer Etta James. He worked as a tour manager for his wife. What he currently does for a living remains a mystery as he tends to keep a low profile.

How long did Artis Mills and Etta James live together?

The couple kept their love life private; therefore, it is unknown when they started dating or how they met. However, it is believed the two met in the late 60s and married in 1969. Their marriage lasted for 33 years before his wife died on 20 January 2012.

5 quick facts about Artis Mills, the late Etta James' husband
Top five facts about Artis Mills, the late Etta James' husband. Photo: Lee Celano/Getty (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Etta James died of leukaemia and dementia. She had been rushed to Parkview Community Hospital in Los Angeles, California, USA, a day before she passed on. She died five days before celebrating her 74th birthday. Etta was laid to rest at Inglewood Park Cemetery on 20 January 2012 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

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Etta's manager, Lupe De Leon, said,

This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world. She was a true original—her music defied category. I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always.

Her oldest son, Donto, told the People that his mother passed on in his arms. He stated:

It's been quite a day, but I'm very grateful. She basically passed in my arms, and I was able to share everything I needed to say to her, from praying to listing her accomplishments as a mother.

He added;

I told her that I loved her. I said, 'You were a wonderful mother, you did a wonderful job, your seven grandchildren love you, and they will be okay'.

Earlier, her son Donto James had disclosed that his mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008. In 2010, she was hospitalized due to a bacterial infection, and it was in 2011 she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

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James Etta Hawkins, known by her stage name, Etta James, was an American singer and songwriter. She performed in several genres, including blues, R&B, rock, soul and Jazz gospel. She began her music career in 1954.

Etta released several hit songs such as At Last, Tell Mama and Stormy Weather. Her singing prowess has made her earn awards like Best Traditional Blues Album, Best Jazz Vocal Performance and Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Artis Mills' children

Artis Mills and his late wife did not have children together. However, he has two stepsons, Etta's biological sons, Donto James and Sametto James. The kids are from different fathers.

Singer Etta James performing at Aptos Village Park
Etta James performs during the Santa Cruz Blues Festival at Aptos Village Park in Aptos, California. Photo: Tim Mosenfelder (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

His stepsons are also in the entertainment industry. Donto is a recording engineer, music producer and drummer. In 1993, he played drums at Montreux during his mum's performance. Sametto James played the bass guitar at CIRCA in 2003. Both performed on stage with their mother in some tours and concerts.

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What happened between Artis Mills and his stepsons?

The elder son, Donto, had a legal battle with Artis over his mother's estate. His mother was in her sick bed. Artis requested the court to make him the conservator of Etta James' estate to access her bank accounts and use the money to pay the medical bills that he alleged to be $30,000 monthly.

Donto requested the court to appoint an independent administrator to manage his mother's fortune rather than his stepdad. A California judge ruled in favour of Artis becoming— he became the conservator and took $350,000 to care for Etta's bills and other expenses.

Donto claimed to have been given a power of attorney for his mother's estate in 2008. His stepdad objected, saying that the singer was incapacitated at the time. His other son, Sametto James, said that their mother was sober at the time.

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They settled the dispute before Etta's death. While speaking to the National Enquirer, Donto said,

We actually worked things out the day before Momma died. I think she would have been very happy.


  1. Who is Artis Mills? He is a celebrity spouse famous as the late Etta James' husband.
  2. What is Artis Mills' ethnicity? He is of African-American descent.
  3. What is Artis Mills' age? His exact age is unknown.
  4. How long was Etta James married to Artis Mills? James was married to the American songwriter for 33 years.
  5. What is Artis Mills' nationality? He is an American citizen.
  6. Does Artis Mills have children with the singer? No, the two do not share kids, but he is a stepdad to Etta's sons, Donto and Sametto James.
  7. Is Artis Mills still alive? Etta's husband is alive.

Artis Mills is a celebrity husband from the United States. Mills came into the limelight following his marriage to the late American singer and songwriter Etta James. He married the singer from 1969 until 2012 when she died.

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