Country singer Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd's relationship —as friends, initially— predates Morris becoming a major star. Their romance started when they connected over songwriting. News broke on Oct. 17 that the couple had filed for divorce on Oct. 2, citing "irreconcilable differences."
The future lovebirds met back in 2013 when both songwriters were trying to make it in Nashville. They were paired for a studio session that resulted in the future Tim McGraw song "Last Turn Home." Morris told "People" that they immediately had incredible writing chemistry.
"[Hurd has] always been a creative collaborator in my life, that's how we met," Morris told "Us Weekly." "We were paired together six years ago to write a song. We didn't know each other and it just kind of grew from there, so music has always been really intertwined in our love for each other, and now that we aren't just songwriters, we're artists."
A Nashville Love Story
Eventually, the stars aligned and the timing was right for them to give it a go as a red carpet-ready couple (they first stunned us at the 2016 CMT Music Awards), after years of friendship.
Hurd popped the question on July 3, 2017 and posted a simple announcement on social media. When planning her wedding, Morris was inspired by the short wedding dress her mother wore when she married her father in the '80s.
"She was a badass and had this short wedding dress, so I sent it to this designer that I love," Morris told "People." "I was like, 'If we can do a modern version of my mom's wedding dress just dreaming something up really cool but still throwback with her vibe, I would love to make that happen.'
Her final dress was absolutely stunning when the couple said "I Do" the following March. Morris told "Country Living" that they wanted their Nashville ceremony to be as fun-loving as their relationship.
"I think that's why I gravitated towards him in the beginning, because he's such a dork and he makes me laugh and is, obviously, very good-looking!" she shared. "We're just always joking around and, I think, sometimes, you can take your job too seriously, especially [being] under a magnifying glass as an artist, so it's nice to be with someone who gets exactly what you're doing and can talk you down if you're having a bad day and is just right there with you. He's that for me."
In March 2020, the couple welcomed son Hayes Andrew Hurd, their first child together. While the couple is undoubtedly focused on their new normal with Hayes, they have both been keeping busy, focusing on their own careers together and apart— with their baby boy along for the ride on the tour bus.
Before hitting the road, the family of three spent a lot of time together at home because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
"This was the most time we had ever spent with each other, and we had a kid, so we were getting to know each other in a deeper way," Morris told "People." "We definitely got stronger."
"Chasing After You"
In Feb. 2021, the couple quickly became one of country music's most-watched couples after releasing "Chasing After You," which was the lead single for Hurd's debut album "Pelago." The song was written by Jerry Flowers and Brinley Addington, immediately becoming a fan favorite. This was the first time the couple had a chance to do a duet together, which made it extra special since the lyrics tell a love story between the two. It became Hurd's first No. 1 single as an artist, nine months after its release.
Together, the country singers were nominated in 2021 for two CMA's for Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year and performed the song at the ACM awards in 2021.
"Like Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill], Blake [Shelton] and Gwen [Stefani]...and you know, you go back to, like, country music before I was born. I mean, those are some big names to be in the same company as," Hurd told ABC about country power couple duet expectations. "It's something to be proud of. But at the end of the day, I'm just really thankful to get those moments with her."
Two Successful Careers
Morris has been an incredibly busy singer-songwriter since her breakout song in 2016, "My Church." "The Middle," her collaboration with Zedd, was a No. 1 hit, as well as "The Bones" which was part of her second studio album, "Girl." The song landed at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the second biggest country song of 2020 in the United States. Due to this, Morris was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. She's since piled up multiple nominations and awards, including CMA's Female Artist of the Year in 2021.
Hurd has had his own success. The Kalamazoo, Mich. native wrote Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe's "Lonely Tonight" in 2014, which went on to become a No. 1 hit. Other Hurd co-writes of note include Luke Bryan's "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" and Lady A's "What if I Never Get Over You." Hurd released his first single in 2017, "Love In A Bar" which was inspired by his relationship with Morris. He's also recorded a cover of Taylor Swift's "False God."
He released his debut album, "Pelago," on Oct. 15, 2021, via Sony Music Nashville. The album debuted at No. 11 on the Top Country Albums chart and peaked at No. 71 on the all-genre "Billboard" 200.
Morris' use of real-life love to inform her songs intensified on 2019's "Girl."
"I've been in this amazing relationship and I got married in the time that I've written and started recording this album," Maren told "Country Living" in 2019. "The new record, it has a lot of love in it, I don't shy away from topics [like love], so I'm really excited for people to hear it."
In 2022, Morris released new album "Humble Quest." Its lyrics incorporate her real-life experiences, dating back to her early struggles in Nashville ("Circles Around This Town"). There's also "I Can't Love You Anymore" (as in, more intensely), a co-write with Hurd that tells of Morris' experience falling in love with a special someone from Michigan.
"'I Can't Love You Anymore' is a song that we wrote in Hawaii," Morris told Beasley Media Group. "Greg Kirsten, Ryan Hurd and I. And Ryan had that title; 'I Can't Love You Anymore.' And you know I've written with him so many times I can always tell when he's like got a fire in his eyes, and he knows he's gonna bowl me over with the idea. And he was right, so he said the hook. 'I can't love you any more than I do now.' And I was hooked. I loved it."
The Couple Files For Divorce
According to "US Weekly," Morris filed for divorce from Hurd on Oct. 2, citing "irreconcilable differences." The date of separation was also Oct. 2, and the couple has a prenup.
As of the morning of Oct. 17, Hurd's latest post on social media was a message of support for Morris after the release of her new songs which coincided with her public statements about leaving country music behind. In a lengthy post shared on Sept. 20, Hurd wrote that Morris "deserves to be celebrated, not just tolerated." He continued in the caption, perhaps referencing the controversies Morris has endured in recent years.
"I'm so sick of watching my wife get the sh-t kicked out of her by the internet," he wrote. "I'm sick of every talking head having some kind of stupid opinion about what she says. It's the same every time, why are you surprised when she calls out something racist or homophobic, I'm sick of people getting rewarded for it. To me the Bridge is beautiful and so rock and roll. She deserves a little sunshine for the burden she has carried for every artist and fan that feels the same way."
This story was previously published on Feb. 3, 2023.
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