George Jones and Tammy Wynette had an undeniable chemistry that resonated through their mesmerizing performances and romantic love life. But despite being smitten with each other, their relationship suffered massive setbacks.
George Jones and Tammy Wynette became the biggest names in country music when they joined forces, not only in their songs but also in life. Before their paths crossed, both had been married and divorced twice.
Wynette struggled when it came to love. She parted ways from her first husband before going to Nashville, and things didn't go well with the man she'd married in 1967, songwriter and motel clerk Don Chapel.
Tammy Wynette and George Jones. | Source: Getty Images
Meanwhile, after two divorces, the second of which took place in 1968, Jones swore not to marry again until he turned 69. But that vow proved to be moot as he was drawn to Wynette when they met. They met at a Nashville recording studio and became acquainted on the road.
Their connection became stronger when Wynette revealed that Jones was her childhood idol. In 1968, Jones confessed his love for the songstress while she was arguing with her husband.
This prompted Wynette to admit she loved him too. Soon afterward, they drove off, accompanied by Wynette's three daughters from her previous marriage.
Tammy Wynette And George Jones perform at the Wembley Arena, London in 1981. | Source: Getty Images
FALLING FOR EACH OTHER
Wynette quickly flew to Mexico and got divorced before marrying Jones on February 16, 1969. The following year, the couple welcomed their daughter, Tamala Georgette. Their sweet union catapulted their careers to a whole new level. They released duets, like "Take Me," which became a hit.
The couple's song, "The Ceremony," was a duet of their wedding vows. They started touring together in a bus that proclaimed them "Mr. and Mrs. Country Music." Their prime focus was on performing. Jones shared:
"When we were onstage, we were in our own little heaven."
Tammy Wynette and George Jones perform together during a concert event circa 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images
While their music career continued to achieve great heights, the couple's marriage started to go downhill. Jones became an alcoholic and would often come home intoxicated, which sometimes made him violent. Still, they managed to stay together for five years.
He was highly protective and hovered over her interviews to ward off unwelcome questions and order her chaotic world.
When Wynette couldn't take it anymore, she filed for divorce in 1973. The duo soon reconciled, with Wynette explaining that the divorce filing was an attempt to rein in Jones' drinking. They also gave another successful duet, "We're Gonna Hold On," during this time.
However, the cracks in their relationship only worsened with time. In 1975, Wynette filed for divorce again, and this time, it was final. She ended up with their band, the tour bus, their Nashville home, and their daughter's custody.
Tammy Wynette performs at Hammersmith Apollo, London, Britain, Sep 1995. | Source: Getty Images
FEELING LOST AND LONELY
Wynette summarized her marriage with Jones as, "I was naggin', and he was nippin'." After her divorce from George, the music icon was single again and felt like something was missing from her life. She expressed:
"With George gone, I felt utterly lost and lonely."
But soon, she sought comfort in the arms of Rudy Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers, who was also a member of her band, and then fell for actor Burt Reynolds. However, she feared it wasn't mutual, so she wed another man, a marriage that lasted only 44 days, with her husband scamming money out of her.
She admitted to making many mistakes in her life, but she believed she had finally got things right when she met her husband No. 5, George Richey.
Country music star George Jones performs during a "live" concert appearance on September 24, 2000. | Source: Getty Images
FINDING LOVE AGAIN
Wynette's husband No. 5, Richey, whom she doted on as her Mr. Right, was a manager-songwriter. The pair married in 1978. He was highly protective and hovered over her interviews to ward off unwelcome questions and order her chaotic world.
The couple enjoyed relaxing in their lavish Nashville home, First Lady Acres, attended parties with friends, and took care of Wynette's four grandkids. But even after finding her Mr. Right, something always seemed to go wrong in Wynette's world.
One night in May 1976, three fires engulfed her house, causing $150,000 worth of damage. Two years later, Wynette was mysteriously abducted from a Nashville shopping mall by a reportedly callous assailant who broke her cheekbone before releasing her. In 1988, the Richeys filed for bankruptcy.
Tammy Wynette at her home with her 5th husband George Richey in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images
A SWEET REUNION
After her marriage with Richey, Wynette reunited with Jones for another music collaboration. Jones said that their reunion brought back sweet memories. He revealed: "Sure, it'll bring back memories, but not like when I ached about our divorce."
But despite everything they went through, Wynette was confident in her marriage with Richey, and the couple stood strong, even after her music partnership with Jones. Wynette expressed:
"No way anyone or anything can come between me and my marriage. I've never been so happy before."
Over the years, Wynette and Jones maintained a professional and cordial relationship and performed fantastic duets together. In December 1993, Wynette was hospitalized for an infection that left her on the verge of death. Despite being out of touch, Jones visited her along with his new wife, Nancy.
Country Music Singer Songwriter Tammy Wynette and George Jones performs at Fanfair on January 1, 1995 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images
After years of being unwell, the "Golden Ring" singer breathed her last breath on April 6, 1988. Her demise deeply saddened her ex-husband and music partner, Jones, who felt like he had lost a valuable friend. Jones mentioned:
"In the end, we were very close friends, and now I have lost that friend. And I couldn’t be sadder."
Wynette was said to have died in her sleep at 55. Her longtime physician, Dr. Wallis Marsh, said the cause of death was a blood clot in the lungs. The country music stars' accomplishments and legacy were remembered even after Jones' death on April 26, 2013.
Even today, the iconic country duo is fondly remembered for their contributions to the music industry, and their magical voices are alive in the hearts of their fans. Despite everything, what kept Jones and Wynette together till the end was their love for music, which is incredibly heartwarming.
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