Country music has given us many great couples. In some cases the romantic union in question yielded great creative results, like with Johnny Cash and June Carter, or Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
But perhaps the biggest, and most explosive, country music couple was George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
In hindsight, it almost looked doomed before it even started. The Jones-Wynette union in 1969 was the third marriage for both of them, and came only a year after Jones’ divorce from his second wife.
And the whole reason for them getting together in the first place, according to Jones’ autobiography, was because Jones professed his love for Wynette immediately after witnessing a fight at the dinner table between Wynette and her then husband, songwriter Don Chapel.
“I felt rage fly all over me. I jumped from my chair, put my hands under the dinner table, and flipped it over,” Jones wrote in I Lived to tell It All.
Their marriage gave country music some of its most famous, if kitschy, duets. Three of their duets (“We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You”) ended up as No. 1 hits, two of which were recorded after their divorce in 1974.
But their personal life was far from glamorous.
Jones long held a reputation for being a hell-raiser, and was famous for showing up to recording sessions drunk, late, or both. He managed to stay sober for the longest he had ever been until that point while married to Wynette, but their marriage eventually dissolved after five years, with Wynette filing for divorce on Dec. 13, 1974. They had one child together, Tamala Georgette, in 1970.
Wynette, in her autobiography Stand By Your Man claimed Jones used to beat her and at one point fired a shotgun at her, allegations that Jones denied.
The two would go on to record individual songs about their relationship for years until they reunited professionally for their final album together, 1995’s “One.”
Both would be married again before their respective deaths. Tammy married two more times before passing away in 1998, first to Michael Tomlin in 1976, and then to George Richey in 1978; George got remarried to Nancy Sepulvado in 1983.
Today is the anniversary of their divorce, but it’s clear that while they were together, they were an unstoppable country music force.