George Jones built himself a successful career through his voice. But in his last days, he could not speak and spent most of his time sleeping. However, he had one final thing to say right before he died.
Country superstar George Jones recorded dozens of hits about the good times he'd lived through and some of the regrets in his life. His shows would be sold-out, and crowds would go wild whenever he performed.
But despite a successful career, the star's personal life was not as enticing. He had two failed marriages before meeting his third wife, Tammy Wynette. And what would follow after his divorces were bouts of explosive tempers and a fondness for the bottle.
Nancy Jones and husband, Music Legend George Jones on January 16, 2010 in Dothan, Alabama. [Left] Nancy Jones with Singer Brenda Lee attend the private visitation for George Jones on May 1, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. [Right] | Source: Getty Images
A MARRIAGE FULL OF CONFLICT AND POWERFUL COUNTRY DUETS
When Wynette and Jones met, they had been married twice before and struggled to find love. Jones had been so frustrated with the concept of love that he's sworn not to marry again until he was 69.
And yet, when he met Wynette, he threw all caution to the wind. After meeting at a studio in Nashville, the two had an instant connection and continued to bond while on tours. Their instant connection was perhaps because Wynette grew up idolizing Jones.
In 1968, Wynette was fighting with her then-husband, which prompted Jones to admit to loving her. As fate would have it, she admitted to loving him too. She then drove away with Jones and her three daughters from her first marriage.
Photo of singer George Jones | Source: Getty Images
The singers married on February 16, 1969, and a year later, they welcomed their daughter, Tamala Georgette. In addition to a beautiful marriage, the duo collaborated to make hit songs and toured together as "Mr. and Mrs. Country." Jones would say of their undeniable stage chemistry:
"When we were on stage, we were in our own little heaven."
Unfortunately, their successful intertwined careers did not translate into a happy home as Jones's continued drinking began to drive a wedge between them. Wynette would recount in her 1979 autobiography that Jones had once chased her around their house with a loaded rifle. However, Jones disputed the claims in his 1996 memoir.
Photo of George Jones and Tammy Wynette | Source: Getty Images
When it was too much for her to take, Wynette filed for divorce in 1973, but soon after, the couple reconciled and released the hit single "We're Gonna Hold On." Nevertheless, their troubles only worsened, and Wynette again filed for divorce, which they finalized in 1975. She would reveal:
"George is one of those people who can't tolerate happiness. If everything is right, there is something in him that makes him destroy it and destroy me with it."
Despite the painful split, the pair continued making music together. They still loved each other and would still exchange gifts. However, Jones went on a downward spiral and began using cocaine. He would miss out on many of their shows, earning himself the nickname "No Show."
JONES'S THOUGHTS ON HIS THREE FAILED MARRIAGES
Musician Little Richard poses with married country couple Tammy Wynette and George Jones in circa 1972. | Source Getty Images
Jones and Wynette maintained a thriving friendship, even after Wynette got married again, not long after their divorce. However, this friendship did not take away from Jones's pain and the heartbreak of his three failed marriages.
Despite wishing deep-down that he'd have Wynette back, Jones kept himself busy with "two or three girlfriends," but nothing more permanent came out of it. He was taking on the dating scenes with more caution and would say about a possible marriage in the future:
"If I do it again, I'm gonna do it right."
JONES MEETS NANCY SEPULVADO, WHO WOULD FOREVER CHANGE HIS LIFE
George Jones performs on stage at the Country Music Festival held at Wembley Arena, London in April 1981. | Source: Getty Images
Sepulvado did not care for Jones or his legendary music. She instead preferred listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Eagles. However, their meeting would be inevitable, and it changed the country singer's life forever.
By a dash of fate, Sepulvado's best friend was dating Jones's manager, and she would drag Sepulvado to see one of Jones's performances in a New York festival in 1981. Despite her initial indifference towards Jones and his music, Sepulvado became a fan within seconds.
She met him backstage after the show, and Jones charmed her. Even though Sepulvado was well aware of Jones's reputation, she fell hard. Within six months, she'd quit her telephone company job and moved with Jones to Louisiana then to Texas.
Country Music Singer Songwriter George Jones and Nancy Jones sit on bed in their home on January 1, 1985 in Colmesneil, Texas | Source: Getty Images
The two married in 1983, two years after they first met. And even though Sepulvado and Jones were in love, their marriage was filled with conflict, tears, violence, and fear.
Jones was a good husband when sober, but he continued drinking to numb his stage fright, and Sepulvado would suffer the consequences of his drunken stupors. She would say:
"To me, it was a roller coaster. George was the sweetest man you could meet. But when George would drink, there was a devil that jumped inside of him."
George Jones and Wife Nancy Sepulveda at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
Soon after they married, Sepulvado jumped straight in, ready to make changes in more aspects of Jones's life. She soon fired Jones's manager and lawyers and took over herself, making him play at all the shows he'd missed.
She would also read numerous books on living with alcoholics and admits that she would successfully talk her husband out of drinking, sometimes helping him remain sober for weeks. Still, an offer for a drink from a fan or a friend would start the cycle again.
Country legend George Jones with his wife Nancy Jones | Source: Getty Images
She kept trying, aware that his situation would only worsen if she quit on him. However, Jones kept making hit music and was happy with his newest songs despite his indiscretions. He would say:
"These past years have been the happiest years of my life."
SEPULVADO NUDGED JONES TO MEND FENCES WITH WYNETTE
In the years following their split, and especially after Jones married again, Wynette and Jones had grown apart and would only reconnect when their daughter, Tamala, became a mother.
Country music singer-songwriter Tammy Wynette and singer and songwriter George Jones perform together during a concert event circa 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images
Even though she continued performing, Wynette's life was peppered with numerous health complications. One such instance was when, in 1993, she suffered complications with a bile-duct infection that nearly cost her life.
Nudged by his wife, Jones made the trip to see Wynette at Nashville's Baptist Hospital, where Wynette lay in a coma. When she later learned that Jones had visited, she faced her fifth husband, George Richey, and jokingly said of Jones's visit:
"Oh God, I've already been to hell and back; I didn't want to go again."
Music Legend George Jones at the Hermitage Hotel on November 14 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee | Source: Getty Images
Jones and Wynette rekindled their love for performing together. Unfortunately, that was short-lived as in 1998, Wynette passed away in her sleep from a blood clot in the lungs. Jones expressed his gratitude for having had the chance to perform with Wynette and shared how sad her death made him.
Many of his friends did not think he would outlive Wynette due to his challenging lifestyle. It was a miracle that he had, and it was all thanks to Sepulvado. Jones would praise his wife over and over again, saying:
"She's my angel, and she saved my life. "
HELPING HER HUSBAND ON HIS JOURNEY TO SOBRIETY
Nancy Jones and husband, Music Legend George Jones at Rippy's Bar & Grill in Nashville Tennessee on September 13, 2011. | Source: Getty Images
Sepulvado did indeed save Jones. In addition to helping him get sober, she also spoke to her husband about God. Still, his drinking habits persisted until a life-threatening accident in 1999 changed everything.
After binge drinking for a week, Jones woke up to Sepulvado confronting and ordering him to quit drinking. He got into his vehicle and smashed it into a bridge. The accident bruised his lung and ruptured his liver, but it was also the turning point for the legend.
He made a deal with God to quit smoking and drinking if he survived. And he did! He would remain sober for years until his demise in 2013.
In the days nearing his death, the legend lay in bed with his eyes closed. For five days, he did not speak, but at his very final moments, as Sepulvado talked to the doctors at the foot of his bed, he opened his eyes, looked up, and said:
"Well, hello there, I've been looking for you. My name's George Jones."
Moments later, he breathed his last. Sepulvado interpreted his final words to mean her husband had been speaking to God and said she was sure in her heart that he'd gone to heaven.
Widow Nancy Jones attends the George Jones Monument unveiling at the Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home and Memorial Park on November 18, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images
Jones left behind a legacy that will live on for years. Besides his wife, Jones also left behind then-13-year-old adopted grandson, Carlos, who he had created a special bond with and who he told would take over his role as "the man of the house."