George Jones and Tammy Wynette are two of the most legendary names in country music. From them came classic songs such as "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "Stand By Your Man" and "Golden Ring." The two country singers also had a complex and tumultuous relationship and marriage. However, the two singers, once called Mr. and Mrs. Country Music, were able to patch things up prior to Wynette's death in 1998. Jones and Wynette's story is currently being revisited in the Showtime series George & Tammy. Here's a full timeline of their marriage and friendship throughout the years.
1968: George Jones and Tammy Wynette First Meet
Jones and Wynette met simply through both being artists in the country music industry. They officially met at a Nashville recording studio while Wynette was married to her second husband, Don Chapel. The two began to grow closer on tour; and although Wynette was 11 years younger than Jones (and had listened to his records in her youth), they soon began to have a romantic interest in one another.
1968: Jones Admits He Loves Wynette
It wasn't long after Jones and Wynette met that they became couple, and it happened one night when Jones was witness to a fight between Wynette and her husband. Wynette reportedly returned from tour to find her children sick with food poisoning. She took them to the hospital, and Jones came with her. When Wynette's husband arrived, the couple got into a fight; and when Jones stepped up to defend Wynette, he accidentally let his feelings slip. According to People, Jones said, "I love Tammy ... and she loves me, too, don't you, Tammy?" Wynette then replied, "Yes." She left Chapel for Jones that very night.
1969: Jones and Wynette Get Married
Jones and Wynette's whirlwind romance continued when the two got married in February 1969, a year after they became a couple. The wedding came after Wynette had her marriage with Chapel annulled, and things were good for a while. The two hopped on tour together — in the $100,000 tour bus that had "Mr. and Mrs. Country Music" written on the back of it — and moved to a 6,000-square-foot home in Lakeland, Florida.
1970: They Welcome a Daughter
On Oct. 5, 1970, Jones and Wynette welcomed their first and only child together, Tamala Georgette Jones. Tamala, who goes by Georgette, joined Wynette and Jones' children from previous marriages. She has gone on to follow in her parents' footsteps as a singer-songwriter, and she has also been vocal about her support for the George & Tammy series, sharing photos from the premiere and promoting the project on her social media accounts.
1970: Jones and Wynette's Marriage Starts Unraveling
Wynette and Jones began experiencing problems in their marriage not long after it began. Jones, specifically, struggled with alcohol use, which caused many of the issues in their relationship. In her autobiography Stand By Your Man, Wynette claimed that Jones once came at her with a rifle, which Jones soon denied. Wynette tried to stop Jones from drinking, and she would reportedly hide his keys to stop him from driving to the liquor store. In a famous story, Jones once got around this restriction by driving his lawn mower to the liquor store instead.
1973: Wynette Files for Divorce
Jones' alcohol problems soon reached a tipping point, and Wynette made it clear that she would not stand for it. She filed for divorce in 1973, but it was later revealed that the divorce was Jones' doctor's idea in hopes that it would be the thing to finally get him to quit his alcohol dependence. They reconciled soon after.
January 1975: Jones and Wynette Get Divorced
Later in their marriage, Jones and Wynette moved from Florida back to Nashville, but things continued to be tough. Jones began disappearing, sometimes for days at a time, according to the book Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen. The divorce was finalized in January 1975, and Wynette released a simple comment, "It's over. This is it." Jones blamed their marriage woes on his drinking but also on the couple's tempers, which "flared before we could find the time to talk about what was bothering us." Jones also didn't fight to keep many assets, saying, "I let Tammy have everything — didn't fight it. I got a car and a couple thousand bucks in my pocket."
1976: They Still Make Music Together
Although Jones and Wynette went through what most people would consider to be a stormy divorce, they were able to put aside their differences for work. They still continued writing and recording songs together, and tunes such "Golden Ring," "Near You" and "Did You Ever" came soon after. Wynette continued dating, being romantically linked to Rudy Gatlin and actor Burt Reynolds. She also married Nashville Realtor Michael Tomlin, but that only lasted six weeks.
1977: They Continue to Have an Amicable Relationship
Even after their divorce, Wynette and Jones were able to be civil and professional, and even strike up a friendship. According to People, they continued sharing the same manager, label and lawyer after their split. They also got together for dinners, and she would make occasional appearances at Jones' Possum Holler bar in downtown Nashville. Jones said that after their marriage, they got along "better than we ever did when we were married." Still, their friendship wasn't enough to reignite their romance, no matter how much Jones wanted Wynette back. He once said that he'd hoped Wynette would hear a rumor that he was remarrying and "come on home."
1978: Wynette Sues Jones
It wasn't all roses between Wynette and Jones after their marriage. In the late '70s, Jones' struggles continued, and Wynette filed a lawsuit for $36,000 in unpaid child support toward their daughter, Georgette. That wasn't the only bill Jones struggled to pay. He ended up filing for personal and business bankruptcy, with assets in the amount of $65,000 and debts of $1.5 million. Jones responded to Wynette's claim by saying she was aware he was getting a check in the amount of $60,000 on the "same day" she filed. "I can only guess they wanted some press for Tammy or some bad press for me."
July 1978: Wynette Gets Remarried
A little over three years after her divorce from Jones became finalized, Wynette married her fourth husband, George Richey. He was a songwriter, music publisher and record producer, and he had reportedly written songs that Jones and Wynette recorded. They remained married until her death in 1998.
1980: Jones and Wynette Hit the Road Together
In 1980, Jones finally got his wish to perform with and tour again with Wynette. They released an album titled Together Again, and they kicked off a 35-date tour. After the tour, they didn't speak often.
March 1983: Jones Gets Remarried
Soon after Wynette and Jones were divorced, Jones commented on remarriage, saying, "If I do it again, I'm gonna do it right." And in 1983, he married Nancy Sepulvado. They stayed married for the remainder of Jones' life.
1993: Jones and Wynette Reunite
By the 1990s, Jones and Wynette did not have a close relationship, but that changed in 1993 when their daughter, Georgette, welcomed twins. The two put aside their differences to be grandparents to the boys, named Kyle and Ryan. Their friendship also grew when Jones visited Wynette in the hospital when she was in a coma due to a bile duct infection. It was Jones' wife who suggested he go visit her.
1995: Jones and Wynette Go on One Final Tour
In 1995, Jones and Wynette reunited once again to record a final album together, titled One, and go on tour for the last time. Jones said their friendship did not extend beyond music, however, saying they "blocked" all memories of their romance out of their mind. As for Wynette, she said she missed singing with Jones. "I've [sung] with a lot of artists, but there's something about George and me that makes our voices blend," she told People.
April 1998: Wynette Dies
On April 6, 1998, Wynette passed away at age 55, officially from blood blots in her lungs. Jones issued a comment after her death, expressing his thankfulness that they were able to reunite later in life. "I am just very glad that we were able to work together and tour together again," he told Rolling Stone. "It was very important for us to close the chapter on everything that we had been through. I know Tammy felt the same way. Life is too short. In the end, we were very close friends, and now I have lost that friend. And I couldn't be sadder."
April 2013: Jones Passes Away
Jones passed away in Nashville on April 26, 2013, after going to the hospital for fever and irregular blood pressure. He was 81.
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