Decades-long marriages are not so common with celebrities, but country singer George Strait and his wife have been going strong for five decades. Surprisingly, so many years later, and despite their tragedies, they are still in love.
George Strait is widely recognized for his numerous hit music, earning him the title of "King of Country." He is considered one of the most popular and influential recording artists of all time, with hit singles such as "She Let Herself Go," "Give It Away," and "You'll Be There."
But away from being a world-renowned country singer, Strait has also had immense success in his personal life. He and his wife Norma got married five decades ago and have faced life together since.
Country singer George Strait and his wife Norma on October 22, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images
Strait also takes pride in being a dad. However, his relationship has not always been moonlight and roses. In the beginning, his romance with Norma almost didn't happen. Follow along to learn how they turned that around and built their successful union.
HOW GEORGE FELL IN LOVE WITH NORMA
Country legend Strait and his wife, Norma, had known each other for years. But despite coming from the same town, they did not consider each other potential romantic partners.
However, that soon changed, and Strait asked Norma out on a date that ended up being successful. Unfortunately, the duo did not meet again for a long while until the singer thought something was "missing" from his life.
Country singer George Strait and his wife Norma at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood California | Source: Getty Images
Fortunately, Norma had not written Strait off after their hiatus, and soon after, they got back together. As the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2021 in Las Vegas, Strait mesmerized the crowd with the cute story of how he first met his wife half a century back. He shared as his wife smiled at the memories:
"So I was 19 years old, and I knew this girl, Norma. She was 17, really hot. So we fell in love."
Country singer George Strait and his wife Norma at Disney Studio in Los Angeles California | Source: Getty Images
As the crowd exploded in applause, Strait dedicated his hit song "I Cross My Heart" to Norma, and the audience sang along with every word, even as Strait continued:
"We went to Mexico and eloped…50 years ago today."
After eloping on December 4, 1971, the lovebirds returned to Texas and had a small church wedding in Pearsall, Texas, witnessed by family and friends. Soon after, Strait was off to Hawaii for Army duties, where his wife later joined him.
TRAGEDY THAT STRUCK THE COUPLE
Honoree George Strait and wife Norma Strait at the MGM Grand on April 6, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images
In the years that would follow, Strait lived the ideal life. He was happily married to the love of his life, and they now had two beautiful children, Jenifer, born ten months after their wedding, in October 1972, and George "Bubba" Strait, Jr., born nine years later, in 1981.
His solo music career also took off, earning him a spot on the chart-topping list with his single "Fool Hearted Memory." However, all that was shattered by a tragedy that left the family distraught and threatened to turn the "Carrying Your Love With Me" singer's life upside down.
Jenifer, then 13, was in a car with her friends when the driver, then 18-year-old Gregory Allen, tried turning, lost control of the Ford Mustang, and rolled over. The window on Jenifer's side was open, and without her safety belt on, she became the only fatality in the June 25, 1986 accident in San Marcos, Texas.
Country singer George Strait on April 7, 2019 in Las Vegas Nevada | Source: Getty Images
"We were blessed to have been able to spend 13 years with our beautiful daughter Jenifer."
"We will all miss Jenifer very much, and we will never forget her, her smile and laugh. She meant the world to us, and we'll miss her dearly." Strait wrote of his daughter, as Closer Weekly reports.
Country singer George Strait performs at The Frank Erwin Center on June 3 2018 in Austin Texas | Source: Getty Images
Strait used his music to grieve his beloved daughter, and soon after her demise, he released the song "You'll Be There" to commemorate Jenifer's memories. The singer did not speak much about his loss and grief but had this to say: "Obviously, it's a special song for me," adding:
"You know, the things that have happened in my life and losing my daughter. I believe that someday we will be together again. I think that's what we all strive for; to get to heaven someday."
The grief, however, took a toll on him, and he quit the limelight altogether. He stopped doing interviews, explaining to The New Yorker that he did not feel like talking about it.
Country singer George Strait and his wife Norma at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 18 2008in Las Vegas Nevada | Source: Getty Images
Despite his desire to continue singing, he felt that if his grief would cost him his career, he had no qualms about it because it was the only way he would cope with his daughter's death.
Also affected greatly by Jenifer's death was her brother Bubba. Strait talked of the special bond the two shared, saying: "To watch them together and the way she watched over him made us know he was always safe with her, no matter what. He loved her back in the same way and always will, just as we always will."
"Because of their nine-year age difference, Jenifer was like a second mother to Bubba in a way," Strait added. "They had their arguments like a brother and sister do, but in the end, she always made Bubba feel like he came out on top."
Country singer George Strait at Philips Arena on March 22, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia | Source: Getty Images
Following their beautiful daughter's demise, Strait and his wife leaned more on their faith in God and on each other to get through the challenging period. Strait would later praise his wife for standing with him through the good and bad times.
GEORGE AND NORMA'S MARRIAGE IS BASED ON THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER
Suffering such a tragedy could have quickly brought their marriage to its knees, yet Strait and Norma's romance has done more than survive the stress. It has only grown stronger. After decades of marriage, Norma remains the singer's number one fan, while Strait is as devoted and loving to his wife as when they first got together.
Singer George Strait and his wife Norma on February 10 2017 in Los Angeles California. | Source: Getty Images
"Norma and I are so blessed that we found each other 41 years ago and were able to do all of this together, experience this life together," he shared, "to support each other through everything, good times and bad. We do almost everything together."
The two continue to celebrate numerous milestones in their lives, including their 50th wedding anniversary in 2021, when the singer serenaded his wife. The two are also proud grandparents to Bubba's children. Even after so many years, the two are still fond of each other. Strait added:
"We love each other, and we still like each other. A lot!"
And even though he's known nothing but fame and success in his career, faith keeps the cowboy grounded. His ability, unlike many celebrities, to separate natural and temporary happiness may be the key.
The "Check Yes or No" singer shared that he has learned to differentiate between his stage image and his family-loving persona, failure to which there would be trouble. But most importantly, his faith has had a considerable role in his life and marriage.
WHO IS GEORGE AND NORMA'S ONLY SON GEORGE STRAIT JR.
Commonly known as Bubba, George Strait Jr. was only four when his sister passed on. He later attended Texas A&M University, where he began a career as a competitive rodeo star. Following his graduation, he became a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association team roper.
The Strait family -- Tamara Strait, Bubba Strait, Harvey Strait, George Strait and Norma Strait attend George Strait [Left to Right] on March 23, 2018 in New Braunfels, Texas. | Source: Getty Images
In addition to a revered rodeo career, Bubba is also a gifted singer and songwriter. His credits include co-writing three songs and solo writing one on his dad's album "Twang."
But aside from work, Bubba is a husband and a father of two. He married his wife Tamara, a successful realtor, in December 2010, and the two are proud parents to Jillian Louise Strait and George Harvey Strait III.
Despite Bubba being grown and with his own family, the Strait family is still big on holidays and ensures they spend all their holidays together.