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Looking Back on George Jones and Tammy Wynette's Marriage

AP

United States country music has given us countless iconic couples. In some cases, the romantic union in question yielded epic creative results, like with Johnny Cash and June Carter, or Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.

But perhaps the biggest, and most explosive in country music history, was George Jones and Tammy Wynette's marriage. The marriage even earned Wynette the title of "First Lady of Country Music".

In hindsight, it almost looked doomed for the country singers 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. Working with producer, Billy Sherrill in Nashville, three of their duets ("We're Gonna Hold On," "Golden Ring" and "Near You") ended up as number one hits, two of which were recorded after their divorce in 1974. "Take Me", "Southern California" and "The Ceremony" all hit the top ten on the billboards.

But the country stars personal lives were far from a fairy tale.

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.

Once an unstoppable force, they are now together again beyond the grave. Here are a few more of their classic duets in honor of the powerhouse performers they were.

 

"Let's Build a World Together"

"Two Story House"

"We Go Together"

WATCH: Songs Every George Jones Fan Knows By Heart

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Looking Back on George Jones and Tammy Wynette's Marriage