Loretta Lynn shared an emotional tribute on Instagram honoring the 73rd anniversary she would have had with her late husband, Oliver Vannetta Lynn, nicknamed Doolittle.
Loretta Lynn posted an archived performance of her hit, “I Can’t Hear the Music.” where she appears close to tears. The country music star and her late husband were married for over 5 decades before his unfortunate passing.
In the 14 years since Doolittle’s death, the star has openly shared her struggles in moving on. Despite Lynn’s proclamations of love for her husband, the star’s entire marriage was marred with violence and adultery.
Loretta Lynn at Cipriani 42nd Street on December 11, 2015 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
One of eight children, Lynn was the daughter of a poor coal miner. She met her husband at a pie social and married him after a month of courtship. The star was 15 at the time, while Doolittle was 21.
Their marriage, however, was problematic. Lynn endured Doolittle’s alcoholism, philandering, and physical abuse. The singer has maintained that she always held her own against her husband, saying:
"Every time Doo smacked me, he got smacked twice."
Despite their unstable relationship, Lynn credited Doolittle as the reason for her career. He bought the singer her first guitar, and she soon found herself composing using Doolittle's encouragement to perform publicly.
Doolittle also took it upon himself to promote Lynn’s music by mailing her songs to radio stations. The star's husband drove the pair across states, both of them even sleeping in their car to make it for Lynn’s performances.
Lynn’s daughter Patsy disclosed her mother has never fully accepted the loss.
The superstar began to accumulate a loyal following of fans who often found her lyrics relatable. Lynn drew inspiration from her complex relationship with Doolittle and surprisingly found growing fame.
Despite Lynn’s fame, Doolittle's adultery, abuse, and alcoholism continued. In an interview, Lynn said their six children were the reason she stayed; however, in many instances, she attributed her lengthy marriage to the idea:
"If you can't fight for your man, he's not worth having."
Lynn's actions later proved her fierce emotion. In the face of Doolittle's devastating health complications, Lynn put her career aside and stood by her husband, taking care of him as he underwent numerous surgeries.
Doolittle was finally put to rest in 1996, a few months after the pair's 48th anniversary. His death hit Lynn hard, and the star left for their estate in Nashville, spending another year away from her career as she settled there.
The megastar came out of mourning and made a triumphant return to the country music scene. However, when interviewed by Rolling Stone, Lynn’s daughter Patsy disclosed her mother has never fully accepted the loss.
Lynn has remained consistent throughout her career, going on to receive even more awards. Most notably, the legendary singer managed to add the Presidential Medal of Honor to her list of accomplishments.
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