Demetress Bell Parents Karl Malone and Gloria Williams

Demetress Bell is a former professional football player who had a complicated relationship with his parents – basketball legend Karl Malone and Gloria Williams. Karl was only 20 years old while Gloria was 13 when Demetress was born to them. The teenage pregnancy and Karl’s subsequent denial of paternity resulted in years of estrangement between Demetress and his father.

In this blog, we dive deep into the fascinating story of Demetress Bell’s unconventional upbringing and his eventual reconciliation with Karl Malone.

A Teenage Pregnancy That Shook the Sports World

In 1984, 20-year-old Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz impregnated 13-year-old Gloria Williams. Both were students at Louisiana Tech University at the time. Their son Demetress Bell was born on May 3, 1984.

This pregnancy was kept secret until 1986 when Gloria filed a paternity lawsuit seeking child support from Karl Malone. She alleged that they first met when she was only 12 years old and Malone was 19.

The enormous age gap between the two and the fact that Malone was a rising NBA star made this a high-profile case. It highlighted issues like abuse of power and coercion given Gloria’s extremely young age.

Karl Malone Denies Paternity for Years

When the lawsuit became public, Karl Malone outright denied that he was the father of Demetress Bell. He claimed that he was not aware of Gloria’s pregnancy and refused to take any responsibility for the child.

For the next 18 years, Malone continued to deny that he was Bell’s father despite the court ruling that he was liable to pay child support. During all this time, Demetress was raised solely by his mother Gloria without any involvement from Karl Malone.

This blatant denial and absence of his father figure caused deep resentment in Demetress towards Malone. It also led to taunting and bullying of Demetress by others for being an “illegitimate” child without a dad.

Gloria Bell filed her paternity and child support lawsuit against Karl Malone in 1986. She sought $200 per week from Malone who had now joined the NBA and was making big money.

Malone pushed back claiming he could not afford to pay that amount. After a protracted legal tussle, the case was settled confidentially with Malone agreeing to pay a lesser amount of child support.

In later interviews, Demetress Bell revealed that his mother had struggled financially to raise him alone. The child support from Malone would have made a significant difference to their livelihood.

The strain of Growing Up Without a Father

Demetress faced many challenges growing up without his biological father by his side. Malone’s absence left a huge void in his life that impacted his self-esteem and personal development.

In his teens, Demetress had to grapple with anger and confusion over his father’s denial of his existence. Other kids would taunt him as the “bastard son” of an NBA player.

Demetress admits to getting involved with the wrong crowd and making poor choices during his adolescence. Having a father figure could have helped him avoid these pitfalls.

First Meeting When Demetress was 17

According to Demetress Bell, he first came face to face with his father Karl Malone when he was 17 years old. Bell was playing basketball at a gym when Malone showed up. They had a brief conversation but Malone still denied being his father.

This first meeting after nearly two decades did not lead to any kind of reconciliation between the two. They would remain estranged for many more years to come.

Relationship Finally Thawed When Demetress Became a Dad

In 2014, Demetress Bell revealed that he and Karl Malone had recently reconnected and were working on developing a real father-son relationship.

According to Bell, it was only after becoming a parent himself that he found the willingness to establish contact with Malone again. Bell realized that holding on to his bitterness would not positively impact his kids.

Malone also seems to have had a change of heart, prompted perhaps by the passage of time or Demetress reaching out. They have since made joint public appearances and spoken fondly of each other in interviews.

Where the Relationship Stands Today

These days, Demetress Bell and Karl Malone appear to have moved past their friction and are in a good place. Malone seems to have accepted responsibility as Bell’s father.

In recent years, Malone has attended several of Bell’s NFL games to show his support. He reportedly also assisted Demetress financially when he ran into tax issues.

While the lost years can never be recovered, Bell has expressed forgiveness for his father. It is heartening to see this once-strained relationship transform into a positive one.

Demetress Bell’s NFL Journey in Brief

Though known for being Karl Malone’s son, Demetress Bell forged a path in professional football in his own right:

  • Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 2008 NFL draft
  • Played 4 seasons with the Bills as offensive tackle from 2008 to 2011
  • Signed a $35 million 5-year contract with Philadelphia Eagles in 2012
  • Suffered injury setbacks and was released by the Eagles after one season in 2013
  • Had brief stints at the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins but did not play any games
  • Officially retired from the NFL in 2014

Despite his promising football talent, injuries hampered Bell from achieving his full potential. Nevertheless, he enjoyed a respectable NFL career before his early retirement.

Lessons from this Complex Dynamic

The complicated relationship between Demetress Bell, Karl Malone, and Gloria Williams reveals many valuable lessons:

  • Teenage pregnancies can have lifelong implications for all parties involved.
  • Paternity denial can deeply hurt children and impact their well-being.
  • Absentee fathers may try to re-enter their kids’ lives later but damage is already done.
  • Legal wrangling over child support takes an emotional toll on the child.
  • People can evolve past bitterness and work on forgiveness.
  • Dads play a vital role in children’s growth even if they enter their lives late.

While extraordinary, the story of the Malone-Bell family highlights some universal truths about parenthood, especially fatherhood.


In summary, Demetress Bell endured a difficult childhood due to his parents’ age gap, unplanned pregnancy, and Karl Malone’s denial of paternity. His eventual reconciliation with Karl Malone is a testament to the human capacity for change and forgiveness.

Beyond just an interesting sports story, the Malone-Bell-Williams saga offers many meaningful lessons on life, relationships, and parenting. It underscores the importance of fathers owning up to their responsibilities, however belatedly.

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