Let's be honest, most people assume celebrity marriages won't last. Even musician relationships, filled with beautiful people singing those gorgeous love songs, don't tend to work out that often. But for every failed celebrity marriage, there's a union that's made to last. It's just as easy to assume the least about country music marriages. After all, the genre gets broadly painted as one filled with sordid tales of betrayal and divorce. However, the genre brings us some of the most aspirational love stories in all of entertainment.
Here's 20 iconic power couples in the country and Americana spaces. Each have their own moving backstory that preceded a lasting union. Of course, there's numerous other examples of artists finding true love, often with other creative minds.
20. Ray and Janie Price
Though Ray Price was married once before, his marriage to Janie lasted more than 43 years until he died in 2013 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.
19. Shawna and Keifer Thompson
Better known as Thompson Square, Shawna and Keifer have stuck together for over 20 years of marriage. They both struggled together as independent musicians before eventually breaking through with their first No. 1, 2011's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not."
18. Joey and Rory Feek
Besides their stint together as successful country duo Joey + Rory, this pair reminded the world what true love can endure. Though Joey sadly passed away from cancer in March 2017, 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 young daughter Indiana.
17. Dierks Bentley and Cassidy Black
Dierks Bentley first spotted his future wife, Cassidy Black, as an eighth grader at Ingleside Middle School in Phoenix, Ariz. They became husband-and-wife in 2005, which was early in Bentley's mainstream ride. Though she doesn't avoid the country music awards show scenem, Black has maintained a relatively low profile despite her partner's celebrity status. They live in Tennessee and have three children.
16. Marty Stuart and Connie Smith
Age is just a number, right? Though Marty Stuart is 17 years younger than fellow country artist Connie Smith, the pair are simply perfect together. Stuart first saw Smith in concert when he was a pre-teen. 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 when their musical careers finally overlapped. They married in 1997 and remain madly in love.
15. The War & Treaty
In 2022, Michael Trotter Jr. told People a sweet story about declaring to his parents that he'd someday marry future bandmate Tanya after seeing her role as a teenager in Sister Act 2— that's her singing "His Eye is On the Sparrow" with Luaryn Hill. That wish proved prophetic when the Army veteran tied the knot with his partner in music and matrimony.
14. Kane Brown and Katelyn Jae
A very Nashville love story, Kane Brown and his wife Katelyn Jae met as singers before falling in love. Brown proposed on Easter Sunday in 2017, with marriage following on Oct. 12, 2018. They've sent welcomed two daughters to one of the most Instagram and TikTok-ready young couples in any line of entertainment. Their love became more apparent than ever via the swoon-worthy 2022 duet "Thank God."
13. Luke Combs and Nicole Hocking
Just as Lauren Akins did for Thomas Rhett, Nicole Hocking unlocked a more tender side of Luke Combs when it comes to his creative process. In recent times, fatherhood and parenthood switched the "Beautiful Crazy" singer's focus from cold beer to warm snuggles. In the process, Combs began telling relatable stories for other married thirty-somethings who've transitioned from fraternity houses to white picket fences.
12. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman
Few superstar marriages involving cross-media celebrities have proved stronger than this one. Urban credits his Hollywood star bride for saving his life when he relapsed into heavy cocaine and alcohol use just after their marriage. The Australian couple has stood the test of time, celebrating over 15 years together with two beautiful children despite the pressure of fame constantly breathing down their backs. It's one of several actor-singer married couples that's stood the test of time, with Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams and our next pick also standing out from the pack.
11. Clint and Lisa Hartman Black
Country singer Clint Black and actor 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. Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher
Carrie Underwood and retired hockey pro Mike Fisher are both very good at what they do. But between touring and keeping up the 82-game NHL schedule during early years of their marriage, what they do often 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. Now, they're a celebrity couple with two adorable sons.
9. Luke Bryan and Caroline Boyer
Beyond the heartwarming story to tell about college town sweethearts that made it work for the long run, the Bryan family charm hinges on Luke and Caroline's shared sense of humor. Their constant stream of pranks shows that Caroline gets the quirkiness of not just her husband but also her mother-in-law. With all due respect, living with the American Idol judge might be a challenge for someone without his jokester spirit.
8. Walker and Laney Hayes
Walker Hayes' hometown sweetheart-turned-wife stuck with him though stretches when any modicum of career success must've felt like a pipe dream. Add Walker's well-publicized battle with alcoholism, and Laney had more on her plate than most spouses. Still, true love endured, keeping the couple together until —and beyond— the fortunes-changing success of "Fancy Like."
7. Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd
Americana great and Highwomen member Brandi Carlile met future wife Catherine Sheperd in 2009 when the latter was working for Paul McCartney's charity. They met in person a year later and wed in 2012. Now, the parents of two and red carpet regulars are among the most visible LGBTQ+ couples in all of entertainment.
6. 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 triumphs, the couple has survived terrible heartbreak; they lost 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.
5. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
At first, what became one of the most visible celebrity couples across mediums seemed like an odd match. An Oklahoma native who'd previously been married to Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton found a compassionate friend in fellow The Voice coach and ska-punk great Gwen Stefani, who was going through a divorce of her own. Nowadays, they seem like the perfect match.
4. Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Besides having two of the most pristine voices in music, country star Vince Gill and contemporary Christian artist Amy Grant have a love that beat the odds. Both were married when they met to film a music video for their duet, "House Of Love," in 1994. Still, Gill described the encounter as love at first sight. The multi-Grammy award-winning country legend 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.
3. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have one of the most inspiring marriages in country music. The couple has been together for over 25 years and have always shined as duet partners. Their 1997 duet "It's Your Love" remains a high point of both veteran performers' catalogs. Indeed, they epitomize country music couples that gel romantically and creatively: a list that's since grown to include Morgane and Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town bandmates Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild as well as Maren Morris and fellow singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd. Before those couples, we famously had Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood's creative and romantic spark. In addition, Hill and McGraw shine together onscreen as co-stars of Yellowstone prequel 1883.
2. Dolly Parton and Carl Dean
Who says celebrities can't stay married while maintaining a level of privacy? Dolly Parton and Carl Dean have been married for — are you ready for this — over 50 years. Dean and Parton met at a Nashville laundromat 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. Along the way, Dean's intentionally avoided the public eye, despite his wife's widespread fame.
1. Johnny Cash and June Carter
It's the quintessential 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. Poetically, the two passed away within four months of each other in 2003.
This story was originally published on Dec. 28, 2017.
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.