The marriage of George Jones and Tammy Wynette could not survive his “Nippin” and her “Naggin”


When country icons George Jones and Tammy Wynette got married, fans thought it was a marriage made in musical heaven. But their relatively short union wasn’t supposed to last long, and she once said it was because he was always “pinching” and she was always “grumbling.”

How did they meet, why did they break up and who could prevent reconciliation? Keep scrolling to find out.

How did Tammy Wynette and George Jones meet?

Wynette thought she had been picked up by her second husband when she was introduced to Jones at a recording studio in Nashville. The two became so close that Jones eventually told Wynette he loved her when she had a marital quarrel. And, fortunately for him, his feelings for her were mutual.

Wynette chose Jones and tried to divorce her second husband. But it turned out that she married him too soon after her first marriage legally broke up. So, her second marriage was technically invalid. And this meant that the “first lady of the country” could be with Jones.

They got married in February 1969, the third wedding for each of them. Wynette had three daughters from her first marriage, and she and Jones had one daughter.

Why did Tammy Wynette and George Jones end their marriage?

According to Wynette and Jones, the marriage could not stand his drunkenness. The biography notes that Wynette once commented: “I was grumbling and he was pinching,” referring to their fight.

They were a great couple for musical collaboration, but not for creating a lasting marriage. She filed for divorce in 1973, but they eventually reconciled. She said she tried to get Jones to give up alcohol by giving him an ultimatum.

There can be little doubt that the marriage was painful for Wynette. And, according to Reba McIntyre, the singer’s name “Stand By Your Man” eventually became synonymous with female mental suffering in country music.

Were Tammy Wynette and George Jones able to rebuild their marriage?

For a while, fans weren’t sure if there was a couple or not. At one point, Wynette was involved with actor Burt Reynolds and her ex-husband at the same time. Some of those who knew her thought she might have been trying to make one or the other—or both—jealous.

It seems that Wynette met Reynolds discreetly around 1975, when the divorce from Jones was finalized. But she said she left Jones because he didn’t know how to find joy, even if everything he needed was right in front of him.

“George is one of those people who can’t stand happiness,” Wynette quotes (according to the biography). “If everything is fine, there is something in him that makes him destroy it, and with it me.”

For his part, Jones said he was “sick” about the divorce, but also said: “I let Tammy have everything—I didn’t resist.”

How to get help: In the United States, call the Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-4357.