By Tom Roland, Wendy Newcomer and Sarah Wyland
Love has inspired some of the greatest songs, most interesting stories and significant family dynasties in country music. We’ve assembled our list of the Top 25 Country Couples. Their relationships are filled with drama, romance, jealousy, famous offspring and some really great music. From The Carter Family to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, here’s our list of the Top 25 Country Couples.
1) May 14, 2011 – Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert tied the knot in front of 600 friends and family on a ranch in Texas. With décor by Junk Gypsy, the wedding was the event of the year, with Neal McCoy serving as wedding singer and a round of karaoke that featured the likes of Reba, Lady Antebellum and Chris Young. Blake and Miranda teamed up to pen Miranda’s No. 1 hit “Over You” about the death of Blake’s old brother. The song won the pair th3 CMA Award for Song of the Year in 2012 and the ACM Award for Song of the Year in 2013.
2) October 26, 1969 – Jessi Colter married Waylon Jennings in Mesa, Arizona. They both contributed to country music’s first platinum album, Wanted: The Outlaws, and Waylon frequently hailed Jessi as a major force in helping him conquer his cocaine addiction. Waylon passed away on February 13, 2002. In 2006, Jessi released her first traditional studio album in 20 years, and their son Shooter Jennings has followed in mom and dad’s footsteps as a recording artist.
3) March 1, 1968 – Johnny Cash exchanged vows with June Carter at the Methodist Church, in Franklin, Kentucky. Both had previous marriages that produced yet more country stars: Johnny and his first wife, the former Vivian Liberto, welcomed Rosanne Cash; and June’s wedding to Country Music Hall of Fame member Carl Smith yielded Carlene Carter. Johnny and June lasted long enough to observe their 35th anniversary. Sadly, June died on May 15, 2003 and Johnny died later that same year on September 12.
4) July 10, 2010 – Carrie Underwood may be a country music superstar, but she didn’t marry one – she chose a Music City hockey star instead! Introduced to Mike Fisher, a center for the Nashville Predators, through mutual friends, the pair were married in a beautiful ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation in Georgia. While they have very different, demanding careers, Carrie is often spotted at Mike’s hockey games – or is live tweeting them while on the road! – while Mike proudly supports his wife at shows and red carpet events.
5) December 28, 1993 – Shania Twain married record producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange in Northern Ontario, Canada. Before that, Shania was a struggling singer, but together, they set new musical trends and earned a Grammy for co-writing their romantic song “You’re Still The One.” Shania shared her anniversary with another country singer: Billy Ray Cyrus married Leticia Finley at home in Tennessee the same day, dressed in spiffy blue jeans and a cut-up sweatshirt. Billy Ray and Tish separated in October 2010 — and before that, Shania left Mutt in May 2008 following his alleged affair with Shania’s best friend.
But Shania’s story has a happy ending. In December 2010, she got engaged to Frédéric Thiébaud. Shania and Fred tied the knot on New Year’s Day, 2011.
6) January 1, 2011 – Kellie Pickler married songwriter Kyle Jacobs in a small, intimate ceremony on a private island in the Caribbean to ring in the New Year. Kyle popped the question on June 15, 2010, her grandmother’s birthday, on the beach at sunset. Kyle, who has co-wrote hits like Garth Brooks’ “More Than A Memory,” was Kellie’s biggest supporter as she competed and eventually won Dancing With The Stars.
7) February 16, 1969 – George Jones married Tammy Wynette in Ringgold, Georgia, six months after they first announced they had already wed. The duo travelled together in a bus bearing “Mr. & Mrs. Country Music” on the side, but in reality they had a very rocky six years together. Both required at least four marriages to find the one that really took: Tammy married songwriter George Richey in 1978, remaining with him for her last two decades. George and his wife, Nancy, went to the altar in Woodville, Texas, in 1983. And here’s a whopper of a tale: Demonstrating just how down-to-earth the couple was, George and Nancy had dinner on their wedding night at a Burger King. George passed away in April of 2013.
8) June 25, 2006 – Fellow Aussies Keith Urban and Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman were married Down Under in Sydney, Australia’s Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel on St. Patrick’s Estate at Manly. They’d met in January 2005 at a gala dinner in Los Angeles honoring noted Australians. By summer they were dating — and a year later were walking down the aisle. The couple have two daughters together, Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret.
9) May 30, 1966 – Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Dolly Parton married Carl Dean in Catoosa County, Georgia, and to this day, he’s managed to remain in the shadows publicly, with many of her fans wondering what her husband looks like. In 2006, they returned to the church where they first exchanged their vows to celebrate 40 years together.
10) October 6, 1996 – Tim McGraw married Faith Hill in Rayville, Louisiana, the day of his Swampstock benefit concert. Their relationship began earlier that year during a concert tour. The parents of three daughters, the superstar couple has continued to perform together throughout the years together, producing such hits as “It’s Your Love,” “I Need You,” and “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s.”
11) December 10, 2005 – Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood said “I do” at their home in Owasso, Oklahoma. They had known each other for more than 15 years and sung on each other’s records, and Garth’s public proposal on one knee remains one of the most enduring country images of 2005. The couple will return to the stage now that their children are out of high school for Garth’s 2014 Comeback Tour which could last as long as three years.
12) December 31, 1947 – Roy Rogers married Dale Evans at the Flying L Ranch in Murray County, Oklahoma. The two were already co-stars, but the union allowed them to travel many happy trails together on a daily basis. Oddly enough, Roy was late for the ceremony—he was detained putting out a fire started by a cigarette butt in another room. And, for the record, even though they spent plenty of time with their horses, Trigger and Buttermilk, she did not consider her flowers a “bridle” bouquet!
13) April 14, 1948 – Two months after leaving Bill Monroe’s band, Earl Scruggs married Louise Certain in Gaffney, South Carolina. She became the manager of Flatt & Scruggs and had a huge role in putting bluegrass in an upscale light. In the ultimate demonstration of family ties, their sons—Gary, Steve and Randy—played with their dad during the ’70s in the progressive band The Earl Scruggs Revue. Earl passed away in March of 2012.
14) March 10, 2000 – Vince Gill married Christian singer Amy Grant in Nashville, with about 75 people attending. Amy took her vows barefoot, and six weeks later, Vince took her to the Grand Ole Opry, where she made her debut, duetting with her husband on “How Great Thou Art.”
15) March 15, 2003 – Brad Paisley married actress Kimberly Williams in Malibu, California. How could she say no to someone who wrote a song as sweet as “Little Moments” about her? The couple now has two sons, Huck and Jasper. Ironically, Brad had seen Kimberly star in Father of the Bride years before when his career was just starting to take shape and she was in one of her first major roles and had harbored a crush on her. He asked her to be in his “I’m Gonna Miss Her” music video and the rest is history.
16) July 8, 1997 – Grand Ole Opry star Marty Stuart married fellow Opry member Connie Smith on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Marty met her at one of her concerts when he was just 12 and predicted to his mother that he would one day marry Connie. He says committing to her is “probably the most right thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
17) October 18, 1952 – Having divorced Audrey just three months earlier, Hank Williams married Billie Jean Jones Eshliman in Minden, Louisiana. It was not the most auspicious wedding night: On the way back to Shreveport, their car ran out of gas. The following day, Hank and Billie Jean repeated their vows in front of a packed house in New Orleans. Hank died just 10 weeks later.
18) January 13, 1948 – Buck Owens married Bonnie Campbell, who sang in his band. The marriage lasted only a few years, though they remained friends until both of them died in 2006. Incidentally, after Bonnie left Buck’s band, she went on to sing background for Merle Haggard, whom she also married.
19) January 7, 2012 – Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott married drummer Chris Tyrell in an intimate ceremony in New York in January 2012. The couple, who met in college and then reconnected when Lady Antebellum and Love and Theft – who Chris was playing drums for at the time – joined Tim McGraw on tour, announced their marriage with a video posted on Lady Antebellum’s website. They have one daughter, Eisele Kaye, who shares her birthday with Prince George.
20) October 20, 1991 – Clint Black married Lisa Hartman on his 180-acre Houston farm. Just one week later, he returned to the altar—as the best man for his bus driver, Brad Thompson, who exchanged vows with Lorrie Morgan. Clint and Lisa also shared a Grammy nomination for their appropriate duet, “When I Said I Do.”
21) April 7, 1979 – Rosanne Cash married Rodney Crowell, setting up the most successful progressive country couple of the ’80s. They were such adults about their split that 13 years later, Rodney ended up introducing Rosanne to her future husband, record producer John Leventhal, who exchanged vows with Rosanne in April 1995.
22) August 4, 1981 – Ricky Skaggs married Sharon White, the lead singer for the family bluegrass group The Whites. Both Ricky and his in-laws joined the Opry within the next three years, and Ricky and Sharon had a sentimental hit together with “Love Can’t Ever Get Better Than This.”
23) May 15, 1999 – Thompson Square’s Keifer and Shawna Thompson were a married couple before they were a duo. They were pursuing solo careers in the early years of their marriage before deciding to team up. They have since released two albums, celebrated a No. 1 hit with “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,” and picked up a number of awards. They like to say they are “married to the music.”
24) June 3, 1989 – Marrying your manager doesn’t always work out for the best, for Reba McEntire did just that when she wed her manager, Narvel Blackstock, in a Lake Tahoe ceremony on June 3, 1989. Narvel handles the day-to-day workings of Reba’s iconic career and together, they have one son, Shelby. Reba’s stepson, Brandon Blackstock, is married to pop superstar Kelly Clarkson.
25) May 15, 1988 – With her marriage to John McBride in Wichita, Kansas, Martina Schiff became Martina McBride. The couple now has three daughters and share ownership of a popular Nashville recording studio, Blackbird Studios.