It looks like Tanya Tucker's getting her flowers now beyond the proverbial bouquets represented by the first two Grammy Awards of her career and the critical success of the Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings produced album While I'm Livin'. The 61 year old country music legend's also due Valentine's gifts from her new boyfriend, country singer-songwriter Craig Dillingham.
Tucker first met Dillingham in 1972. Both were 13-year-old newcomers when they first crossed paths at a Fort Worth, Texas radio station. That year, Tucker made history with her first hit "Delta Dawn" while Dillingham transitioned from a member of a family singing group to the opening act for Ray Price.
Dillingham became part of the Curb Records roster in 1983, the same year he cut his lone top 40 hit, "Have You Loved Your Woman Today?"
According to People, Tucker and Dillingham remained friends over the years and even pursued something more in the early '90s and in 2008. Back in July, Tucker's friend Lee Ann Womack and Womack's husband Frank Liddell, a lifelong friend of Dillingham's, helped facilitate a romance nearly 48 years in the making.
"She talked him into going, so when he got there, I got off the bus, and he walked up and I went, ahhhh!" Tucker told People. "And so we've been together ever since."
Dillingham was Tucker's Grammy date on the red carpet and during a ceremony in which she won her first two career Grammy awards: Best Country Album for While I'm Livin' and Best Country Song for "Bring My Flowers Now."
"I love being around him," Tucker tells People about her new relationship. "And we love doing things together. He adores me, but he also don't let me slide. I really want him in my life."
Never one to mince words, Tucker sounds convinced that Dillingham's the one. "I didn't love him that way," she says of past attempts at dating. "And now I do. I love him, and I know it, and I have no doubt about it."
As for whether this will lead to Tucker's first marriage, she offers one straightforward quip: "If it ain't him, I'm done."
Tucker's past loves go beyond her well-publicized romance with duet partner Glen Campbell and a rumored connection to Merle Haggard. She was also in long term relationships with actor Ben Reed, the father of Tucker's daughter Presley Tanita and her son Beau "Grayson." Tucker was also engaged twice, in 1997 and 1999, to Nashville musician and producer Jerry Laseter, the father of Tucker's daughter Layla LaCosta.
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