Getty images | Youtube.com/Tennessean
Source: Getty images | Youtube.com/Tennessean

George Strait Was ‘Just Kind of Shut down’ for Years after Loss of Daughter Who He Will Never Forget

Esther NJeri
Mar 09, 2022
07:00 P.M.
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For years, George Strait lived the ideal life. He was happily married with beautiful children and had a music career that saw him dubbed the "King of Country." However, the loss of his child would turn his world upside down. 

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Country legend George Strait and his wife, Norma had known each other for eons. They hailed from the same town, but despite being acquaintances for so long, Strait did not think anything of her, at least not in a romantic sense. 

That changed a short while after, and Strait asked Norma out on a date, which ended up being a success. However, they did not see each other again for a long time after that until Strait thought to himself that he was "missing" something.

Left: Country Singer George Strait | Source: Youtube.com/Tennessean. Right: Strait with his wife Norma and son, Bubba | Source: Getty Images

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They started dating again, and on December 4, 1971, they eloped to Mexico. Upon their return, it was apparent they were official, and soon after, they had a small wedding in Pearsall, Texas, witnessed by family and friends.

At the time, Strait was not the renowned country musician he is today. He only started performing while serving in the U.S. Army, which he joined shortly after his wedding. 

George Strait with his wife, Norma at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. ! Source: Getty Images

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He soon began a solo career, earning his spot on the chart-topping list with his single "Fool Hearted Memory." Today, the star has notched an unrivaled total of 60 No. 1 singles.

In 1972, in addition to his music career taking off fast, they welcomed their first child Jenifer, a son, George "Bubba" Strait Jr., nine years later. Decades later, Strait will not stop gushing over his beautiful wife. He told Country Now:

"Norma and I are so blessed that we found each other … and were able to do all of this together, experience this life together, to support each other through everything, good times and bad."

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"I'M JUST KIND OF SHUT DOWN"

Theirs was a happy family until disaster struck in June of 1986, when a horrible accident took the life of one of their children, leaving Strait and his family devastated.  

Jenifer had been riding with her three friends on the night of June 25, 1986, in San Marcos, Texas. The driver attempted to take a turn too fast but lost control of his Ford Mustang, and it rolled over. 

Country singer George Strait on October 30, 2021 in Austin, Texas | Source: Getty Images

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Jenifer's window was open, and she did not have her safety belt. She was the only fatality in the one-car non-alcohol-related accident that happened a short distance from the Strait home. 

Strait reached the scene shortly after he learned of the accident. He was heartbroken, and for a long while after his daughter's death, the legendary country singer took a step back from the spotlight. 

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Despite his resolve to continue working, the legendary singer could not bear to grieve in the public eye. He opened up about his disposition, telling The New Yorker: 

"I just kind of shut down. I just didn't feel like talking about it, so I quit doing interviews."

Country music legend George Strait at Frank Irwin Center on October 30, 2021 in Austin, Texas. | Source: Getty Images

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Two years after his beloved daughter's demise, he released a sore lament titled "Baby Blue." And even though he never did explain why he chose to record the song, it is unquestionably in memory of his departed young girl.  

The "Love Without End, Amen" singer has since opened up about his loss, albeit sparingly. He remembers his daughter had many special friends.

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However, Jenifer's one special love was her brother Bubba. Strait says that because of the nine-year age difference with her brother, Jenifer was almost like a second mom to him, adding:

"Her very special love of all, though, was her brother Bubba. To watch them together and the way she watched over him made us know he was always safe with her, no matter what."

Country singer George Strait at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

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And while their arguments were like every sibling's, she always made Bubba feel like he always came out on top. And he loved her right back. And always will. 

Over the years, Strait continued working and producing beautiful music, but he kept mum about his personal life. Allies have often described him as kind yet quiet, and many have testified that he was hard to crack.

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The family has since put up a foundation, "Jenifer Strait Memorial Foundation," that supports charitable causes for children. On the foundation's website, one can find photos of Jenifer with her family. Also on it is a remembrance of the young girl that says:

"She meant the world to us."

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THE LESS KNOWN STRAIT CHILD

Bubba was only four when his older sister waved the world goodbye. He is since grown with a family of his own. Below, we peek at the man he had grown up to be. 

An apple does not fall far from the tree. He has had a successful career as a rodeo cowboy and music like his father. However, he began with a career in competitive rodeo while studying at Texas A&M.

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After graduating from college, he became a team roper for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). He is also a renowned songwriter, having co-written "Living For The Night" with his father and Dean Dillon.

In addition to a revered career, he is a doting husband to Tamara, a successful realtor. The two have been married for years and appear to be happy. In a hilarious Instagram post, his wife shared the cute story of how he proposed. 

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She recalled them taking a flight to Alaska for a fly fishing trip. The plan had been for Bubba to propose once they got there. However, he was too impatient and decided to do it on the plane. Tamara recalls:

"The ring must have been burning a hole in his pocket. Got engaged and learned how to fly fish. Pretty amazing trip!"

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The two are parents to two beautiful kids. They welcomed their first, George Harvey Strait III, in February 2012 and Jillian Louise Strait in September 2016. 

Tamara often posts photos of their beautiful family. Despite Bubba's prowess in songwriting, he prefers a quiet lifestyle, and his only presence on social media is on his wife's Instagram. 

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STRAIT'S ADVICE ABOUT LOVE AND LIFE

Strait loves his role as a grandfather and made sure the world knew when his youngest granddaughter arrived. He announced the good news while performing at a show in Las Vegas.

But despite a successful personal and professional career, Strait regrets some decisions he made in life. For instance, he disclosed that he regrets not writing.

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He shared that he didn't feel inspired to write and often depended on other songwriters. And while he got great material that way, the legend wishes he wrote his whole career.

Strait also made his stand about love known, saying the world revolves around it. Whether it's love for one's wife, husband, kids, or pets, one should value it, and he does, as is evident from his songs titled, "Love Is Everything."

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