When MTV launched in 1981, music videos changed the way we viewed musical artists. Suddenly fans were able to see a whole new side of their favorite performers, who were often eager to show off their acting and dancing skills to varying degrees of success. But it wasn't just pop and rock artists who were ready to get in front of the camera. CMT (Country Music Television) hit the airwaves just two years later, providing a closer look at country music legends and making even bigger stars out of the genre's most successful artists. Country stars such as Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks quickly became known for their high-quality music vidoes that are now synonymous with the songs themselves.
Music videos have also led to some incredible celebrity cameos over the years -- and we're not just talking about Courtney Cox dancing onstage with Bruce Springsteen in the "Dancing in the Dark" video or Ben Affleck cozying up to Jennifer Lopez in the video for "Jenny From the Block." A number of Hollywood idols have made appearances in country music clips over the years.
From Matthew McConaughey's early career appearance as a no-good boyfriend in Trisha Yearwood's "Walkaway Joe" to Andy Griffith's unforgettable role in Brad Paisley's heart-wrenching video for "Waitin' On a Woman," here are some of our favorite celebrity appearances in country music videos.
Tiffany Thiessen in "Pick Her Up" (Hot Country Knights feat. Travis Tritt)
Gen X folks may know her as Valerie on Beverly Hills, 90210 or Kelly Kapowski on Saved By the Bell, but Tiffany Thiessen also had a starring role in Hot Country Knights' riotous "Pick Her Up," featuring Travis Tritt.
Sadie Robertson in "The Long Way" (Brett Eldredge)
Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson portrayed Brett Eldredge's love interest in the video for "The Long Way." The pair's onscreen chemistry even sparked rumors that they were a real life couple.
"Everybody thinks we're dating!" Robertson told Entertainment Tonight. "I mean, he's the best! Literally, we just had so much fun together. Everybody was like, 'No, y'all were really laughing [in the video].' We really were 'cause we really did have a great time ... It's too complicated!"
Rob Reiner in "Does He Love You" (Reba McEntire & Linda Davis)
Rob Reiner rose to fame portraying Michael Stivic on the hit '70s sitcom All in the Family. In the decades since, Reiner has made a name for himself as one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, directing When Harry Met Sally, Stand By Me and A Few Good Men, so it probably wasn't a stretch to portray a director in the meta video for the Reba McEntire and Linda Davis hit duet "Does He Love You." Even better? Reiner did actually direct the music video.
Reiner also directed McEntire in the film North.
Liam Hemsworth in "Colder Weather" (Zac Brown Band)
Hunger Games actor Liam Hemsworth appears in the 2011 Zac Brown Band video for "Colder Weather." Hemsworth, who was previously married to Miley Cyrus, portrays a man who leaves his partner in the middle of winter.
David Keith in "Blame it On Your Heart" (Patty Loveless)
Hollywood star David Keith appeared opposite Patty Loveless in the video for "Blame It On Your Heart." Golden Globe nominee David Keith portrays the two-timing boyfriend Loveless sings about in the '90s classic.
"Blame it On Your Heart" has yet another Hollywood connection. River Phoenix sings the song in the 1993 dramedy The Thing Called Love.
Taylor Swift and Brandon Routh in "Babe" (Sugarland)
Taylor Swift not only co-wrote and performed on Sugarland's song "Babe," but she also co-starred in the song's music video alongside Superman Returns star Brandon Routh. Routh and Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles play a married couple, while Swift portrays a secretary who's having an affair with her boss (Routh).
William Shatner, Jason Alexander and Jim Belushi in "Celebrity" (Brad Paisley)
No one loves a celebrity cameo more than Brad Paisley. The singer-songwriter enlisted the help of William Shatner, Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi and The Bachelorette star Trista Rehn in the hilarious music video for "Celebrity," a sendup of celebrity culture.
Andy Griffith in "Waitin' On A Woman" (Brad Paisley)
The music video for Paisley's "Waitin' On a Woman" is decidedly more sweet than "Celebrity." In the video, television legend Andy Griffith appears as a wise man who befriends Paisley and gives him some valuable marriage advice.
Paisley was a huge fan of Griffith and knew he'd be the perfect person for the role.
"Who's the perfect person to sit next to you on a bench and tell you, 'Here's some advice, son'? Andy Griffith," Paisley explained in his spotlight interview during the 2018 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. "I wrote him a letter. I told him, 'I grew up watching [The Andy Griffith Show]. Your show helped me raise my son. I now know how to raise a boy because of watching that show. If you want to be in the video, that would be great, but if not, thank you for everything you've done.'"
Jeff Foxworthy in "I Don't Even Know Your Name" (Alan Jackson)
Comedy legend Jeff Foxworthy appears in one of Alan Jackson's funniest music videos. "I Don't Even Know Your Name" features Foxworthy as a man who dreams he got hitched to a diner waitress without ever learning her name.
Matthew McConaughey in "Walkaway Joe" (Trisha Yearwood ft. Don Henley)
Just one year before his breakout role in Dazed and Confused, a 23-year-old Matthew McConaughey played a heartbreaker in Trisha Yearwood's "Walkaway Joe," featuring Don Henley.
Yearwood told People that she never even met the actor on the video shoot.
"He was cast from local talent in Austin, Texas, where the footage was shot. The performance with Don Henley was shot in Nashville, so I never met Matthew. About 10 years ago, we were both at the Grammys and trying to connect but we kept missing each other."
Matthew McConaughey in "Playing the Part" (Jamey Johnson)
"Walkaway Joe" isn't the only country music video McConaughey starred in. The Oscar winning actor appeared in Jamey Johnson's video for "Playing the Part" as an overworked man in a gorilla costume. It isn't until the final minute of the video that the man is revealed to be McConaughey. Alright, alright, alright.
McConaughey, who directed the video, came up with the video's wild premise.
"I called him up at 3 in the morning with a wild-ass idea," McConaughey told People. "I talked about it, then said, 'And then the gorilla's drinkin' Mad Dog!' And all I heard was him laughing."
Heather Locklear in "Crash Here Tonight" (Toby Keith)
Melrose Place and Dynasty star Heather Locklear plays Toby Keith's love interest in the 2006 video "Crash Here Tonight." The song was also included on the soundtrack to Broken Bridges, which Keith starred in alongside Kelly Preston.
Luke Wilson in "Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me)" (Willie Nelson)
Dallas native Luke Wilson teamed up with fellow Texan Willie Nelson in the video for "Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me)," from Nelson's 2002 album The Great Divide. Wilson, known for his roles in Old School, The Royal Tenenbaums and Legally Blonde, portrays a lovestruck man vying for the affection of a woman who already has her eyes on Nelson. Wilson even sings a few bars of "Crazy" at the end.
Matchbox 20 lead singer Rob Thomas, who wrote the song, also appears in the video as a bartender.
Woody Harrelson, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson & Jessica Simpson in 'You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore' (Willie Nelson)
Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Jessica Simpson all appear in the star-studded video for Willie Nelson's "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore," which features a lawn mower race at Nelson's Luck Ranch.
Lauren Holly, Jane Krakowski and Dennis Franz in "Goodbye Earl" (The Chicks)
Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber, Beautiful Girls) and Jane Krakowski (Ally McBeal, 30 Rock) portray Mary Ann and Wanda in the video for The Chicks' classic story song "Goodbye Earl." NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz plays the detestable Earl.
Kimberly Williams-Paisley in "I'm Gonna Miss Her" (Brad Paisley)
Kimberly Williams first caught Brad Paisley's eye when he went to see Father of the Bride, but it wasn't until he became a country star that Paisley crossed paths with the actress. Paisley asked Williams to star in his music video for "I'm Gonna Miss Her" and the rest is history. The pair started dating and tied the knot in 2003. The couple has two sons, William and Jasper.
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This article was originally published in September of 2020.
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