Let’s be honest, most people assume celebrity marriages won’t last. Even country music marriages, filled with people singing those beautiful love songs, don’t tend to work out that often.
When you realize Merle Haggard and Kenny Rogers were each married five times (and Willie Nelson four), you kind of see where that assumption comes from. But for every train wreck celebrity marriage, there’s another beautifully successful union.
Here are some of the most inspiring country music marriages.
11. Clint and Lisa Black
Clint Black and actress Lisa Hartman met in Houston during a New Years Eve party. Though they liked each other, it took years for them to ever finally admit they liked each other enough to get married. That was in 1991, and the celebrity pair have been defying the odds ever since.
10. Dolly Parton and Carl Dean
Who says celebrities can’t stay married? Dolly Parton and Carl Dean have been married for — are you ready for this — 50 years! Dean and Parton met at a laundry mat in 1964 when she was only 18. He’s stayed by her side all this time, through astronomical fame, harmful rumors, lawsuits and everything else.
9. Shawna and Keifer Thompson
Better known as Thompson Square, Shawna and Keifer have stuck together for 16 years and counting. They both struggled together as independent musicians before eventually breaking through with their first No. 1, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not.”
8. Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher
Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher are both very good at what they do. But between touring and keeping up the 82-game NHL schedule, what they do also requires a ton of traveling. Fisher and Underwood actually met while he was living and playing in Canada. Their marriage survived years of long distance before Fisher was able to attain a trade to the Nashville Predators to be with his bride.
7. Ray and Janie Price
Though Ray Price was married once before, his marriage to Janie lasted more than 43 years until he passed away from cancer. Before he passed, Price recorded one last album called Beauty Is, a process that brought him much joy in an otherwise sad time. Released four months after his death, the entire record, it turns out, is a love letter to Janie.
6. Marty Stuart and Connie Smith
Age is just a number, right? Though Marty Stuart is 17 years younger than Connie Smith, the pair are simply perfect together. Stuart first saw Smith in concert when he was only 12. He met her after the show and told his mom he’d marry her someday on the car ride back. A short 25 years later, and Stuart was proven right. They married in 1997.
5. George and Norma Strait
How often do high school sweethearts last? In the case of George and Norma Strait, once is good enough. The pair married in 1971 and have survived Strait’s record-shattering country career. Along with the highest highs, George and Norma have survived some of the lowest lows, like losing their child Jennifer in a car crash when she was only 13. Theirs is a marriage built on understanding, kindness and leaving any egos at the door.
4. Joey and Rory Feek
Besides their stint together as successful country duo Joey + Rory, this pair really reminded the world what it is to love over the past year. Though Joey sadly passed away from cancer in March, their 14-year marriage was never stronger than in the final months. Rory has made incredible strides to ensuring her legacy is remembered, not just for their fans and for country music, but for their two-year old daughter Indiana.
3. Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Besides having two of the most pristine voices in music, Vince Gill and Amy Grant have a love that beat the odds. Both were married when they met to film a video for their duet, “House Of Love,” in 1994. Still, Gill described the encounter as love at first sight. He wrote music with her as the inspiration, but stayed true in his marriage. However, his first marriage eventually fell apart, and Grant eventually filed for divorce as well. The two wed in 2000 and have never looked more in love.
2. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman
Two celebrities at the height of their fame, one with a previous failed marriage to another celebrity to boot. Seems like the kind of marriage you don’t put too much stock in. But few country music marriages have proved stronger than Keith and Nicole’s. Urban credits Nicole for saving his life when he relapsed into heavy cocaine and alcohol use just after their marriage. The two have stood the test of time, celebrating 10 years together with two beautiful children despite the pressure of fame constantly breathing down their backs.
1. Johnny Cash and June Carter
The original country love story that’s so famous you don’t even need to mention the last names. Johnny and June were the classic story of perseverance, dedication, love and faith. Johnny wanted desperately to marry June (and tried several times), but his substance abuse and other personal issues put her off. However, she was eternally committed to him as a friend and even helped him kick his life-threatening addictions. When they eventually did marry, their love (and music together) only grew stronger. The two passed away within 4 months of each other in 2003.