Ricky Nelson’s Twins ‘Aged Well’ at 55 – They Didn’t Have ‘the Rosy Life’ Everybody Thought They Had after Dad’s Death

Ricky Nelson’s twins “aged well” at 55 and showed off their beautiful families.
The brothers spoke out about their not-so-easy life after their father’s death and revealed why they did not speak to their mom for years.
The Nelson twins also shared how their dad saved their life at the last minute.


Singer Ricky Nelson was a successful recording artist with five kids. Of his children, he had twin sons, Matthew and Gunnar, who followed in his footsteps and became musicians.

Together, the brothers formed the band Nelson, and they thrived, becoming big stars in the early ’90s thanks to support from MTV. Matthew and Gunnar shared a video on their Instagram in January 2023 showing them playing a few tunes for their followers.

“Nelson 101. How to play Love & Affection…the right way!” the caption read. The clip showed the famous siblings with long blonde hair playing harmony-laden powerpop sound. Matthew and Gunnar received praise from their beloved fans for aging gracefully at age 55 and looking and sounding like their father.

One Instagram user said, “Aged well. Still a great riff.” Another compared them to the family patriarch, “To this day, I’m still stunned at how much they look like their dad.”

Someone else penned, “Your voices sound just like your dad’s.” “Still as handsome as ever! Love their music,” said one person. Another stated, “Very good! Apples don’t fall too far from the tree.”

Meanwhile, one fan asked, “These guys are still alive? Wow, who knew.” While one other social media user commented, “Had no idea you all were still there.”

Matthew and Gunnar are now married men with families. Matthew is a father of one and has a son named Ozzie, whom he shares with his wife, Kari Ahlstrom. The couple welcomed their child on August 29, 2014.

The proud dad has shown off his child on social media. In 2019 he shared a family picture of him, his spouse, and their son on Instagram wearing costumes.


“Happy Halloween from Matthew, Kari, and Ozzie ‘HotWheels’ day, Nelson,” the family patriarch captioned his post.

Another social upload on his account was a picture from January 2022, when he posted a father and son snapshot. Matthew and Ozzie beamed for the photo while in the snow, “It’s a Snow Day in Franklin, TN!” he penned.


Meanwhile, his brother Gunnar resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Lila Nelson, and her three daughters from a previous relationship. The singer-songwriter has not adopted his spouse’s children, but he lives with them and helps Lila with co-parenting.

Gunnar has also shown off his wife online and celebrated her birthday with a sweet tribute alongside a selfie of the happy couple smiling from ear to ear in November 2019.


Gunnar and his brother Matthew are still in the music scene. In a July 2022 interview, they discussed their new compilation, “Greatest Hits (And Near Misses).”

The siblings have a massive 30-plus-year catalog that includes pop, experimental hard rock, country, and folk music. They said fans mostly know them by their hit debut album 1990’s “After the Rain.”

Although they attempted with harmony-laden powerpop sound, they failed to fit in with that “hair-metal” scene – even though they had good hair.


“Everybody put us in this category of the hair-metal thing. But the fact was, none of those bands liked us.” Matthew disclosed this in the interview.

Following their beloved father’s tragic passing, the twins’ life was not as rosy as everyone believed. They spoke frankly about their challenges and shared how their dad saved their lives.

What Life Did the Nelson Twins Have After Dad Ricky’s Death?
After Ricky died, his sons decided to kick-start their musical careers. However, achieving that was not easy because their mother, actress Kristin Nelson, was unsupportive of their journey.

Kristin and Ricky were married from 1963 to 1982. They had a messy divorce. She blamed the father of her kids’ hectic concert touring schedule for the dissolution of their marriage and would not accept her part in the separation.

Hence when her sons developed an interest in music at a young age, she was against and expressed animosity toward them.

She even penned individual letters to them after they graduated from high school. Kristin told her brood they were mistaken if they believed they would become successful in the profession.


Matthew, who said his mother “liked vodka,” revealed playing music was hard for him and Gunnar, who described her as a “narcissist.” He explained:

“Our mother made it very difficult for us to play music. She said we always reminded her of [Rick], and the business was horrible, and it was ‘going to take you down.’”

Meanwhile, Gunnar shared he and his siblings always hoped their mom would come around to congratulate them and admit she was wrong about their path. The pair thought that day had arrived when she asked for tickets for their hometown gig at Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheater.

The event was significant for the two as their late dad performed there for the last time, and they were in attendance. They became overjoyed when their mother showed interest, only to learn she wanted tickets for her housekeeper.

However, Kristin and her second husband managed to show up for another sold-out show, but they spotted them leaving the event before it was over. She later told them she left because she was unimpressed.

Moreover, people assumed Matthew and Gunnar were monied, seeing their father was a musical legend. But Matthew stated that was not the case:

“We were like the poor kids in the rich neighborhood. Our dad died, and unfortunately, the truth was, he was over $4 million in debt and we spent years paying that back.”

In addition to this, Gunnar and Matthew were harshly criticized because they did not follow Hollywood standards. The duo had to put in the extra effort being legacies because people thought they had a leg up financially.

When their father passed away, they described the feeling as a “gut-shot.” They did some soul-searching until they finally decided to live outside his shadow.

How Did Ricky Save His Twins’ Lives?
Although they had a strained relationship with their mother, Matthew and Gunnar had a somewhat endearing relationship with their father. Unlike his former wife, Ricky supported his sons’ dreams.

Sadly, he never lived long enough to see them succeed and top the music charts. Ricky, who is also a father to Tracy, Sam, and Eric, tragically died in a plane crash en route to a concert on New Year’s Eve in 1985.

He and six other passengers were killed in the accident, having charted his band’s private plane. Ricky was 45 years old when he passed, and his sons were 18.

They were supposed to board the aircraft with him and his band members, but he told his boys at the last minute that they could not go with them.

Matthew and Gunnar had never been on a DC-3 plane before, and their dad suggested they meet up with him in Alabama and go to his show in Dallas together.

Upon calling his kids to deliver the bad news, Gunnar said his father sounded different at the end of the line. He told them to fly down to Dallas alone, and they would meet there.

They tried to remind him that they were initially going with him to ride the plane with him and the band members. But Ricky put his foot down, and the matter was closed.

Gunnar believes his intuition led him to change his mind, adding the rest of the family is like that, and they usually listen to their instinct.

Matthew said all their hardships, including their fractured relationship with their mom and losing their pop star dad at a young age, so tragically molded them into the men they are today.

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