Carol Held Knight is a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. But she will always be remembered as the second wife of the first American astronaut to step on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Before she got married to Neil, she was married to Ralph Knight. She has two children with his first husband.
Her first husband passed away in a plane crash in Florida. Since then, she raised her two children single-handedly before getting married to Neil. Fun fact: The two met on a blind date.
Do you want to know more about their relationship? Read on!
Who was her celebrity spouse?
Let’s talk about the man who made Carol Held Knight a famous woman, shall we? Born Neil Alden Armstrong in August 1930, he passed away in August 2012. He was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, famously being the first person to walk on the Moon in 1969. Besides that, he was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor.
Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, as the son of Viola Louise and Stephen Koenig Armstrong. He has German, Scottish, and Irish heritage. He is a descendant of Clan Armstrong. Neil has a younger sister, June Armstrong, and a younger brother, Dean Armstrong. His father was an auditor for the Ohio state government, which prompted the family to move around the state repeatedly.
They lived in 16 towns in the first 14 years of his life. His love for flying grew during that time. At the age of two, his father took him to the Cleveland Air Races. When he was five years old, he experienced his first airplane flight to Warren Ohio. There, he took a ride with his father in a Ford Trimotor, also known as the Tin Goose.
He began his education at Blume High School. There, he took flying lessons at the Wapakoneta Airfield and earned a student flight certificate on his 16th birthday. He soloed in August, before even getting his driver’s license.
Born and raised in Wapakoneta, Ohio, he entered Purdue University as a young man. There, he studied aeronautical engineering with the US Navy paying his tuition under the Holloway Plan. Fun fact: Neil was the second person in the family to attend college.
He was also accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but opted for Purdue University after watching a game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Ohio Stadium in 1945.
His first call-up from the Navy came in January 1949. They required him to respond to Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida for flight training with class 5-49. After he passed the medical examination, Neil became a midshipman in February 1949. His training was conducted by a North American SNJ trainer.
In August 1950, he became a fully qualified naval aviator. He joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in the second group, selected in 1962. He made his first spaceflight as command pilot of Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming NASA’s first civilian astronaut to fly in space.
And then on July 20, 1969, he and Apollo 11 Luna Module pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the Moon. The next day, they spent two and a half hours outside the Lunar Module spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Apollo Command Module Columbia.
When he stepped on the lunar surface for the first time, he said, “That’s one small step for a man, but one giant leap for mankind”. The step was broadcast live to an estimated 530 million viewers worldwide.
Following his retirement from NASA in 1971, he taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati until 1979. He served on the Apollo 13 accident investigation.
In 2012, he passed away due to complications resulting from coronary bypass surgery at the age of 82.
Now let’s talk about Neil’s second wife, Carol Held Knight. She is a businesswoman and the widow of the late American astronaut. What do we know about her?
Well, quite honestly, there is not much information about her early life, educational background, or anything before her marriage to Neil Armstrong. She is a businesswoman running a Cincinnati-based construction company. It is the same company her first husband left behind.
Marriage to Neil Armstrong
As we said before, before her marriage to the late Neil Armstrong, Carol was married to Ralph Knight. There is no information on when the two became married, but their marriage ended tragically in 1989. Ralph passed away after a plane crash.
Following his demise, she raised the two teenage children she had on her own. Then, in 1994, she met Neil.
The two met for the first time in 1992, during a golf tournament during the pre-tournament breakfast. Fun fact: their meeting was not a delightful coincidence. In fact, it was a blind date set up by their friends, Sally and Paul Christiansen.
Their planed produced the intended result. Paul and Sally would then go on to be the legal witnesses at Neil and Carol’s wedding.
During the first meeting, Carol was so overwhelmed to have the world-renowned astronaut sit next to her during breakfast. She did not speak much to him. But Neil walked her to her vehicle as she left the breakfast early to be with her mother.
A few weeks later, he called her and asked what she was doing. She told him she was cutting down a tree. And as a true gentleman, Neil drove to her house and helped her cut down the tree.
He was 15 years older than her. But the two became friends, and eventually, began dating. In 1994, they got married. By the time he met Carol, Neil was already separated from his first wife, Janet Elizabeth Shearon.
He was married for 38 years before meeting Carol. He had three children from his first marriage, Alan Armstrong, Karen Anne Armstrong, and Mark Stephen Armstrong. Sadly, their second child, Karen Anne, passed away in 1962 at only three years of age.
Here is a fun fact. Neil and Carol had two wedding celebrations in two different states. They got their first wedding ceremony in Ohio, where they were both originally from. And then, they had a second, larger wedding in Santa Barbara, California, at the San Ysidro Ranch. The second wedding came a few days after the first ceremony.
Their goal was to have an intimate ceremony, and then a larger one with all the friends of the celebrity astronaut.
Initially, they lived in California, but they moved to Ohio. They settled in Indian Hill, Ohio, a home where Carol lives to this day.
Neil passed away at 82 years of age in August 2012, following complications from a heart surgery. His family sued the hospital where he underwent the heart surgery, thinking his death was due to medical malpractice.
Carol Knight Armstrong, on the other hand, refused to be involved in the suit. She felt that if her husband had been alive, he would not have agreed to the legal action. Neil’s family settled the lawsuit for $6 million in 2014.
How much is Carol Knight’s net worth in 2023? Well, she is the wealthy widower of the famous astronaut. Her husband had a net worth of $8 million at the time of his death. And Carol is a successful businesswoman.
Yet, there is no information on her precise net worth. Following the death of her husband, she gifted some of his papers worth $3.4 million to Purdue Libraries at his alma mater, Purdue University.
She continues to live in the home in Indian Hill, Ohio. There, she and her former husband formed a home. They didn’t have children together. Carol and Neil took care of their children from their previous marriages.