The Untold Truth Of David Foster

David Foster is one of the most successful music producers to ever tinkle with a tune. The New York Times calls him "the godfather of schmaltz," while Vanity Fair notes that he's "nothing less than a music-industry institution." As for Variety, they point out that Foster "is the kind of one-man blockbuster machine who gets a ton of respect from the corporate music establishment." Indeed, if you've ever listened to Céline Dion's "The Power of Love," Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart," or Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," then you've heard a song that Foster had a hand in, per the NYT.

"A lifelong passion began for me as a child sitting at the piano. Never could I have imagined that a kid's passion of playing melodies at the piano, would lead me to where I am today," Foster explained on his website. He added that when he "[creates] ... melodies," that's him in his "truest form."

However, there's more to Foster than just the music. He also happens to be a former reality TV star (yes, that was him on that Bravo hit) and is someone who has a complicated personal life (to put it mildly). Although Foster is among the most notable figures in the entertainment industry, we can guarantee that the following facts about the star will shock and intrigue you.

David Foster comes from real-life pioneers

Born on Nov. 1, 1949, in Victoria, British Columbia, David Foster came from humble yet impressive beginnings. Growing up alongside six sisters — Ruth, Jeanie, Maureen, Marylou, Barbara, and Colleen, according to Legacy.com — the family was led by their dad, Maurice, who was a maintenance yard superintendent, and their mom, Eleanor May, a homemaker. A woman who "loved life, and lived it to the fullest," when Eleanor wasn't "playing cards or bingo with her many friends, she was off traveling the world to some exciting social event with her family." She and Maurice also went on to have 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, meaning that this is one family tree that has plenty of branches. It's also one that has historically significant roots.

David's grandparents — his mother's parents, Jean and Sydney Vantreight — were Saanich pioneers. While you surely know what a pioneer is, you might be wondering what a Saanich pioneer was. Central Saanich explains that the "first European settlers arrived in what is now Central Saanich" in British Columbia in 1855. While some logging and fishing took place, the "early settlers were mostly farmers who appreciated the land's fertile soil and grew hops, fruit, hap, grains, and berries." Apparently, it used to take four days to travel by canoe from the area to David's birthplace in Victoria — however, we're sure his parents were using a different mode of transportation by the time he was born.

This producer has cringe-worthy stories about major music stars

David Foster has teamed up with plenty of impressive A-list stars over the years, such as Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Seal, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, 'N Sync, and many more. However, when he worked with Chuck Berry, Neil Young, and Céline Dion, things didn't go so smoothly.

Frankly, Foster bluntly said Berry was "just an a**hole" in the David Foster: Off the Record documentary, according to Rolling Stone. Foster noted that "there's no other way of putting it." When the younger musician was hired along with his band to back up Berry during a gig in the mid-'60s, the now-producer says that "it was just not a good fit."

The same could probably be said of Foster's working relationship with Neil Young. While American celebrities were inspiring music-lovers with "We are the World" in 1985, Foster was overseeing a similar project with popular Canadian musicians titled "Tears are Not Enough." Along with Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and Bryan Adams, the "Heart of Gold" singer was lending his signature sound to the song. However, Foster felt the need to tell Young that he was "a little flat." Young smirked and shot back by telling Foster, "That's my sound, man." 

While Young didn't seem to take the situation too seriously, Dion was apparently totally riled by Foster's less-than-pleasant producing style during their "All By Myself" collab years later that by the end, he claimed that she "really hated" him.

David Foster fought over Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You'

When legendary music man Clive Davis was working on the soundtrack for 1992's The Bodyguard, he originally wanted the film's star, Whitney Houston, to cover Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" — but it had just been used in Fried Green Tomatoes a year earlier. That's when David Foster came up with the idea to have Houston cover Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" instead. He told UM Today The Magazine that while she "didn't want to do it," he "convinced her to."

Granted, while he won that fight, he didn't completely get his way. Davis, along with the movie's other star, Kevin Costner, "felt the song should start a cappella," according to Rolling Stone's summary of Off the Record. Foster disagreed so strongly — believing that "radio would never play a song that opened with a solo voice" — that Davis claimed Foster "repeated more obscenities ... than [he] had ever heard" to him over the phone.

Despite Foster's reservations, they went with the version that Davis liked, and Rolling Stone notes that "Foster now admits it was the right decision." Houston's version of the song spent 29 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching No. 1. It also went on to nab the No. 6 spot on Billboard's "Top 50 Love Songs of All Time" list. As for the soundtrack, it sold "over 45 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling soundtrack of all time," according to BuzzFeed.

The music man's career has had 'three rounds'

"I believe that everyone gets three rounds in their life," David Foster once explained (via his website bio), and he wasn't talking about dodging punches in a boxing ring. Instead, he was referring to professional pursuits. He noted that when it comes to your focus, "you have to change it up every round" and "attack in another direction."

Foster also claims he's "completed" two rounds and is on his third. The first included the years he spent establishing himself as a studio musician and song arranger, as well as a recording artist. His second round was when he "[became] one of the most successful songwriters and record producers in history — shepherding albums that have collectively sold in the hundreds of millions." At the same time, he was "becoming a household name ... throughout Asia where he tours annually," and was "creating The David Foster Foundation and volunteering his time and talent to over 400 charities."

Round three is when Foster will "take on Broadway" with multiple projects, including a musical about Betty Boop that's been in the works for years. In November 2019, he released a song from the show, "Something to Shout About," which was tackled by his wife, former Americal Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee. We have to assume she's singing as the iconic animated character when she belts out, "I want something to make me someone I never was," which this show would certainly do for Boop.

David Foster (really!) isn't fond of being recognized as a reality TV star

Fans of reality TV may have first gotten to know David Foster thanks to The Princes of Malibu, which focused on the lives of his former step-sons (and the sons of former Keeping Up with the Kardashians cast member Caitlyn Jenner), Brody and Brandon Jenner, back in 2005. Along with his wife at the time, Linda Thompson, Foster tolerated (and often paid for) the pampered lives of the younger Jenners — however, their mother was much more accommodating than their frustrated step-father.

While that series didn't have a lengthy run, Foster went on to appear on another reality show that has been much more successful. During his next marriage to Yolanda Hadid (who was Yolanda Foster at the time), the music producer was often seen on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which Yolanda starred on. 

But despite Foster's multiple forays into the onscreen scene, he apparently isn't fond of being recognized for his time on reality TV. According to Rolling Stone, he explained that he agreed to the latter show "to give Yolanda something to do," as the outlet puts it. As for himself, he said, "I would get — and still get — 'I know you — you're on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.' What I want to say is, 'Hey, I got 16 f**king Grammys. I've sold half a billion records. F**k that show.'" Yeesh, why not tell us how you really feel?

Father of the year? Nope!

David Foster has five daughters: Erin, Amy, Sara, Jordan, and Allison, according to People. Then there are his (former) step-children, Brody and Brandon Jenner, as well as Gigi, Bella, and Anwar Hadid. With so many kids, you might think that David has a lot of experience with being a stellar dad, however, according to his Off the Record documentary (via Rolling Stone), he's admitted that his children have "scar tissue." His kids probably wouldn't disagree with that. Frankly, Amy addressed the issue, saying, "I have 10 siblings and I'm an only child. That's really f**ked up" (we count nine, but maybe we're missing one ... there are a lot, after all).

Sara Foster also opened up about her relationship with her father in 2019, explaining to Oliver and Kate Hudson on their Sibling Revelry podcast that she dealt with "emotional turmoil" that "kept [her] up at night" as a kid because "[her] dad was raising other children." She clarified, "He wasn't raising us. He was raising Brandon and Brody." He happened to be raising the boys with all of the luxuries that came along with his wealth — however, Erin noted that both she and her sister were "not really a part of that world."

These days, David is trying to make up for lost time with Sara and Erin by spending family Sundays together. "I missed a lot," he admitted to People in 2020. "That was my own doing and a regret that I have."

This hubby is a 'runner' when it comes to marriage

David Foster isn't afraid to make a major commitment — that is, as long as he can get out of that commitment as soon as it doesn't suit him anymore. That's apparently why he's been married five times. His current and ex-wives include B.J. Cook (1972 to 1981), Rebecca Dyer (1982 to 1986), Linda Thompson (1991 to 2005), Yolanda Hadid (2011 to 2017), and Katharine McPhee (2019 to ?).

According to the Off the Record documentary (via Rolling Stone), when it comes to his relationships with his spouses, Foster said he's a "runner" who leaves as soon as issues arise. He explained the situation like this: "It's more like, 'Hey, there's a shiny new thing over there ... This is not working, so it looks a lot better to me over there.'" And apparently, loyalty to his family won't stop him from ditching his home life, as the outlet noted, "He left his wife Rebecca for another woman when they had three children in the house, one seven months old." Foster himself admitted that he can be "a cold-hearted motherf**ker" and has "been an a**hole a lot."

As for his current marriage to McPhee — who actually invited Foster to her first wedding — he said, "I'm not tired of running, no, no. But I'm very happy where I am." Fortunately for the pair, she told Entertainment Tonight that there's been "no arguing, no drama." Let's hope for the relationship's sake that it stays that way.

David Walter Foster, OC, OBC ... OMG!

On top of having 16 Grammy Awards (with a total of 45 nominations!), as of this writing, not to mention two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award, according to David Foster's website, he also has a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in the United States, and has been inducted into the U.S. Songwriters Hall Of Fame, per his biography. And that's just in America!

The star has also racked up plenty of honors in his home country, including being added to the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2002, The Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010. Want to keep going? That's easy to do because, beyond that, he was given an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Victoria during the mid-'90s and was awarded the Order of Canada (giving him the official post-nominal letters OC) in 1988, before receiving the Order of British Columbia (which added OBC) in 1995. These are among the highest honors up in the Great White North.

While not everyone sees the value of such accolades, Foster appreciates them, opening up on his website bio about his star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. "One hundred years from now, my great-grandchildren will go, 'Hey, there's my great-grandpa,'" he explained. "And having a star next to The Beatles ... outside the building where I first got signed ... that's perfect." That's very cool, indeed.

David Foster has a royal connection

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left England behind in 2020, it was David Foster who arranged for them to stay in Canada. That may make you wonder how these famous folks know each other in the first place — and the answer is Katharine McPhee. Foster's fifth wife is the Duchess of Sussex's "old musical theater buddy," according to People, who noted that Markle and McPhee performed together in Los Angeles when they were teenagers. These days, Foster has a close bond with the prince, with McPhee telling Access Hollywood in May 2020, "My husband has a really, really beautiful relationship with Harry ... They're like father and son."

That's surely why Foster stepped up when the royal couple needed secure accommodations in Canada after stepping back from their roles as senior royals. The music producer told the Daily Mail that he was "really happy to be able to help them to find a respite just to take a little time off."

Thanks to Foster's connection, they were able to chill out in the $14.1 million French country-inspired waterfront mansion in North Saanich, British Columbia that spans 11,416 square feet and boasts five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and a 2,349 square foot guest cottage that includes its own three bedrooms and two additional bathrooms. With four acres of land and two private beaches, it sounds like it was the perfect place for the royals to find some (super-snazzy) seclusion.

The successful star deals in high-priced real estate

When David Foster split from his fourth wife, Yolanda Hadid, the former couple sold their Malibu, Calif. Mediterranean-inspired mansion in November 2015 for a whopping $19 million. Reality TV viewers who watched the duo on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills may recognize the sprawling residence, which was also the home of Gigi, Bella, and Anwar Hadid when they were living with their mother and step-father.

"The three-story ... home sits on just over three acres of land and includes marvelous views of the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean," according to Architectural Digest. With 11,620 square feet inside of the impressive abode, it features six bedrooms and nine bathrooms. There's also a "floor-to-ceiling glass refrigerator" that's famous with RHOBH fans, as well as "a screening room, a recording studio, a game room, a wet bar, and an exercise suite with a lounge, sauna, and massage room," not to mention "an infinity pool and a built-in fire pit."

These days, Foster lives with wife number five, Katharine McPhee, who was aiming to rent out her Toluca Lake, Los Angeles home in 2018 for just under $7,000 a month, per Page Six. While she snatched the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home for herself in 2015 for $1.4 million, she tried to sell it in 2017 for $1.549 million, which is obviously a mere fraction of the price that Foster asked for his own former home.

David Foster is pretty darn rich

"Every successful person you read about — [investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO] Warren Buffett, [Microsoft Corporation co-founder] Bill Gates — they all say pretty much the same thing. 'Do what you love,'" David Foster once said, according to the book, The Passion Filled Life: Make Living Your Passion. And for Foster, following his passion has resulted in a fortune that sits at $150 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. While that's obviously a lot of money, there's a possibility that he could have had a lot more.

E! News figures that "hundreds of millions" of Foster's funds "may have been allocated for child-rearing and spousal support over the years." That's believable since he's four ex-wives and five biological children, plus five stepchildren. But when it comes to his divorce from Yolanda Hadid, neither was willing to pay the other spousal support since they're both so rich. In fact, her fortune is less than a third of the size of her ex-husband's at $45 million. However, since Foster has the larger net worth, he could have lost a good chunk of his funds since E! News notes that they didn't sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

Katharine McPhee, on the other hand, apparently did sign a prenup. However, she only has $14 million to her name, which makes us curious about the details in the martial (and divorce) contract they agreed to before she got hitched to her super-rich husband.