Longest-Lasting Country Music MarriagesPublished on June 15, 2018. Updated January 15, 2021
In the entertainment industry fans have become accustomed to hearing of splits and divorces so often that the long-standing couples often get overlooked. In the music industry it is often difficult to keep the love alive with busy and long touring schedules, and even more time in the recording studio, but some couples have made it work. Whether they are both in the entertainment industry or not, and even though it wasn’t necessarily always easy, these 13 couples have made their marriages last for quite a long time! Here are 13 of the longest-lasting marriages in country music:
13. Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley
From the very first time he saw Father of the Bride, Brad Paisley was enamored with actress Kimberly Williams, and unlike pretty much everyone else, he got to marry his famous crush! The two began dating in 2001 and on March 15, 2003 they tied the knot in a surprise wedding after they told their guests they were only attending a rehearsal. Together the famous duo has navigated the ups and downs of fame in both the music and television industry and has welcomed two sons, William Huckleberry “Huck” and Jasper Warren.
12. Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Vince Gill and Amy Grant had a complicated road to happiness, but once they found it together they have not let go. Gill met Christian music singer Amy Grant in 1993 through his televised Christmas special, and while a friendship formed, both were married to other people at the time. After each of their marriages broke down in the mid-90s, it didn’t take long for the two to confirm they were dating and in March 2000 they tied the knot. Although it took some time for the pair to become romantic, Gill has admitted that he was drawn to Grant as soon as he met her. “The first thing that ever drew me to Amy was that smile. I knew how kind she was and all of those things, but when she first smiled at me, that’s when my world flipped on its axis,” he shared.
11. Darius Rucker and Beth Leonard
Darius Rucker made an easy transition to one of country music’s most popular stars after he initially gained fame in the music industry as the frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, and his wife Beth Leonard has been by his side for all of it. The two first met in New York City where Beth was working for VH1, and Rucker knew right away she was the one, telling the press, “I don’t know what it was about her. I mean, it was EVERYTHING about her. I told her I was going to marry her on our first date.” The pair were married in 2000 and have welcomed two children together, daughter Daniella Rose, and son Jack, and they are still going strong nearly two decades later.
10. Shawna and Keifer Thompson
It is one thing to keep a relationship stable when both parties are in the music or entertainment industry, but when your professional lives and personal lives are completely tied together, things often get even more tricky — but not for Thompson Square’s Shawna and Keifer Thompson. The pair met back in 1996 at a singing competition in Nashville and three years later they married in 1999 while working on their solo careers. In 2010 they launched their career as the duo Thompson Square and haven’t looked back. After 20 years together, they welcomed their first child, son Rigney Cooper, in early 2016.
9. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
There are a lot of incredible country music couples on this list, but there are few more iconic than Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Despite massive stardom for both of them, since marrying back in 1996 the two have not been apart for more than three days straight, and that is just one cornerstone to their incredible marriage. When the pair first met though, things were a lot different as Faith had recently become engaged to her former producer Scott Hendricks, but shortly into her tour with McGraw their attraction was undeniable and they became a couple. Within a few months Hill became pregnant with their first child, so the pair quickly married on October 6, 1996, with many assuming it was a shotgun marriage that would never last. McGraw and Hill defied the expectations of many and have become one of the entertainment industry’s most beloved couples with McGraw saying, “Our marriage is the most important thing to us. We respect what we have and understand how we need to feed it.”
8. Clint and Lisa Black
Back in the early ’90s, Clint Black was becoming a household name when it came to country music and Lisa Hartman was known for her several of her acting roles but was best known for starring in Knot’s Landing. The two met during one of Black’s concerts in Houston in 1990 and it was love at first sight. Only 10 months later the pair tied the knot on October 20, 1991, and it is all thanks to his wife that Clint Black was able to deal with the fame. “Lisa is a big reason I’ve learned to live in my skin. She didn’t let fame slow her down. I would’ve become more reclusive, but she was having none of that,” he revealed. Over 25 years later, the two are as much in love as they were all those years ago, and still occasionally perform together as Lisa also took on singing.
7. Ronnie and Janine Dunn
Janine Dunn knew that her relationship with Ronnie Dunn wasn’t the only important duo he was a part of as he is best known for being one half of the iconic country music group Brooks & Dunn. Ronnie met Janine in the late ’80s and by 1990 they were married, and she rode the waves of Brooks & Dunn’s fame with him without fail. They welcomed two children together and when Brooks & Dunn called it quits, Ronnie credits his wife with helping him launch his solo career. “She told me, ‘You’ve been running hard for 20 years — and for about 15 years before that you were running hard to get here. You need to stop and spend time trying to find where you are in your heart.’ As usual, Janine was right. That’s what I fought to do with this album, and I feel like, for the most part, I captured that in the end,” he told Great American Country.
6. Martina and John McBride
Martina and John McBride are yet another inspirational couple who have faced challenges and many ups and downs but have always come out of it stronger than ever. Martina first met John back in 1987 when she and the band she was with rented practice space from him as he was working as a sound engineer. Martina admits she quickly fell in love and one year later the two married on May 15, 1988, after which they decided to move to Nashville in pursuit of a better country music career. In 1992, McBride got the big break she was waiting for when her husband gave her demo to an RCA executive. Now, 30 years later, the duo has welcomed three daughters together and still can’t help but gush about each other. “I’m not a religious guy, but I always felt God put us together. It’s crazy. I’d never had that feeling before. This girl, she’s incredible, and I love her more than I ever have. I told her, ‘If we could bottle what we have, we could retire, girl.’ We’re so lucky,” John McBride said in an interview.
5. Toby Keith and Tricia Covel
Long before fame came calling, Toby Keith Covel, known as Toby Keith, met Tricia Lucus. Toby was only 20 and Tricia was 19 when they first met at an Oklahoma nightclub in 1981. Three years later the pair wed on March 24, 1984, and Keith adopted Tricia’s daughter, Shelley, who was born the year before Tricia met the singer. Although fame didn’t instantly find Keith, Tricia never lost faith, “Dozens of people told Tricia, ‘You need to go tell your old man to get a real job,’” Keith revealed in an interview. “It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, ‘He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us if he can make it work.’” With Tricia’s full support, Toby Keith became a huge country star, and at home, the pair welcomed daughter Krystal and son Stelen. “I absolutely love performing and writing songs,” Keith said, “but being at home with my wife, Tricia, and my three kids is the best feeling of all.”
4. Kix and Barbara Brooks
Long before Leon Eric “Kix” Brooks III was known as one half of Brooks & Dunn, he met his wife Barbara in 1979. At the time, both were living and working in Maine and, although Kix left Maine in 1980 to pursue a career in Nashville, long distance didn’t stop them and on August 1, 1981, they were married. According to Barbara, the fact the fame came after they established their marriage meant it didn’t change much about their relationship. “Kix’s fame came when he was a little older, so he already had a strong sense of himself. I don’t see very many changes in him,” she told Country Weekly. Together, the couple welcomed two children Molly and Eric and even through grueling touring schedules, Kix was an amazing father. After more than 30 years of marriage, the country couple are living testaments to the commitment they made to each other with Kix sharing for their 31st anniversary, “lord only knows what she must have done wrong in a previous life to get me in this one, but looks like she’s stuck with me – and obviously i must have done something terribly right – I Love You honey!”
3. Alan and Denise Jackson
Alan and Denise Jackson had no idea what the future had in store for them when they fell in love as teenagers in high school. The pair married at only 21 years old on December 15, 1979 and it took 10 years before Jackson began making headway in his country music career. Things proved not to be easy for the couple after they announced in 1998 that they were separating due to their marriage being strained because of Jackson’s fame and his admission that he had cheated. Instead of divorcing, however, the two went into therapy and saved their marriage. Things became difficult again when Denise was diagnosed with cancer, but again they worked through it together and she is now cancer free. “We spend a lot of time together. We get up in the morning and drink coffee together and talk, and I can’t go to bed at night if she’s downstairs watching television. We go to bed together, unless I’m out of town,” Jackson said of how they made their marriage stronger. “It’s just little things I think that have helped us more than anything. If you can last until you’re 40 years old, hopefully you’ll be mature enough to figure out the rest of the years.”
2. George and Norma Strait
The King of Country knows he wouldn’t be where he is in terms of fame and success if it wasn’t for his wife by his side. In December of 1971, George Strait and Norma eloped to Mexico before he entered the Army. Over 40 years later the duo has been through a lot including welcoming two children and then losing their daughter Jennifer in a car accident at only 13 years old. George Strait explained that going through the incredibly tough times as well as the good are what have made his relationship with his wife so strong. “We love each other, and we still like each other. We’re so blessed that we were able to experience this life together, to support each other through everything, good times and bad,” he said.
1. Dolly Parton and Carl Dean
It might not be a coincidence that one of the country world’s most elusive couples are also one of the longest lasting. Dolly Parton has been a music icon for decades and is no stranger to the spotlight — but her husband definitely is! Parton is so rarely seen with husband Carl Dean, that many fans are surprised to find out that not only is she married, but the pair have been married since 1966! Parton was only 18 years old and was spending her first day in Nashville when a 21-year-old Dean spotted her and struck up a conversation at the laundry mat. Parton’s career began building shortly after, and while Dean was never one for the spotlight, it didn’t impact their relationship and they have now been married for over 50 years!