Nashville Wives: Country Music's Celebrity Wives Reveal the Truth about Their Husbands and Marriages


From Nancy (Mrs. George) Jones and Tom Carter, one of today's top country music journalists, comes a revealing, intimate, and intriguing look at the lives of the wives of such country stars as Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, Alan Jackson, and Charley Pride.
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From Nancy (Mrs. George) Jones and Tom Carter, one of today's top country music journalists, comes a revealing, intimate, and intriguing look at the lives of the wives of such country stars as Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, Alan Jackson, and Charley Pride.
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Editorial Reviews

People Magazine
...[T]oo often the authors give us little but platitude.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Carter, who has co-written several autobiographies of country musicians (e.g., Rhinestone Cowboy), collaborated with Nancy Jones, wife of singer George Jones for the last 15 years, in this collection of 16 short memoirs by women who've married country music stars. Based on tape recorded interviews conducted by Jones or Carter, these pieces chart the turmoil of marriage as played out in the glare of billboard-topping success. Although a gossipy tone prevails and the writing oozes mawkish sentimentality -- "nobody had more problems. But love prevailed, and the marriage survived. And it will survive forever," says Janine (Ronnie) Dunn -- fans will delight in the details of the courtships and conflicts that many of these couples have overcome. Several, including Rozene (Charley) Pride, Sharon (Johnny) Paycheck and Jones herself, describe their husbands' drug and alcohol abuse. Others, such as Denise (Alan) Jackson, express bruised feelings arising from recurrent rumors of infidelity that spring up when their husbands are on the road. In contrast, Kim (Glen) Campbell and Gregg (Jeff) Foxworthy describe marriages that are substance-free and rooted in their family's strong religious faith.
People Magazine
...[T]oo often the authors give us little but platitude.
Kirkus Reviews
Fairy-tale vignettes of love and sacrifice, sprawling homes in the Nashville suburbs, and the hardships of raising children on the road riddle the interviews of Mrs. George Jones with Nashville's most talked-about spouses. Tempered by Jones' dramatic spin and her polite nosiness, these true tales of southern celebrity claim a certain entertaining starkness—the same (very popular) starkness as country music. Ghostwriter and collaborator Carter's invisible imprint may have helped to send each wife's account on a biographical turn; the chapters take a long-term look at these women's former lives before they became the luckiest women below the Mason-Dixon line. Revealed covertly beneath their stories of marriage, home, family, and fame is the society of Nashville, particularly the clash between music-industry executive thinking and the traditional southern roles of husbands and wives. Jones repeatedly describes how industry pressures often bring pain to the domestic arena. However, these women's stories are packaged to save the faces of Nashville heroines before the story inside the story is really delivered. In the chapter about Mrs. Billy Ray (Tish) Cyrus, for example, Tish is introduced alone in her bedroom in Kentucky, crying—with her hand outstretched to the television screen. On the screen, far away in Nashville, her husband croons with "sexuality and mystery," as if "unattached," and only at the insistence of his management—which is looking, of course, for the next Elvis, and hopes he may be It. Ultimately, Billy Ray breaks with old management, makes millions, and everyone stops fighting. To top it off, Tish had given up a potential career in modeling to fit Billy Ray'son-again/off-again tour schedule—and to act as the proudest president ever of the Billy Ray Cyrus fan club.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060182700
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.45 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Read an Excerpt

I met Mrs. Trace (Rhonda) Adkins through George's former publicist, the legendary Evelyn Shriver, a pillar of Nashville's publicity community, a one-woman answer to Hill and Knowlton. Evelyn handles the publicity for both George and Trace, among scores of other stars. Trace was a guest on George's weekly television show on the Nashville Network in February 1998. Rhonda and I chatted during the videotaping. I asked her to be a part of the Nashville Wives project because her story, like most of the wives', is incredible. She was one of the most open and outspoken of all of the wives. I was impressed by her honesty, particularly since she is a professional publicist who knew she was speaking on the record. During the interview, the tape recorder malfunctioned. She pointed that out, waited for repairs, then repeated some of the incredible things she had said earlier. She wanted to be sure they got on tape, delicate or not. She is one of the youngest of the Nashville wives. Perhaps her generation is more honest than older generations.
This darling lady has a personality that sparkles. She overflows with enthusiasm and joy. Most people in the Nashville music community, including me, are very fond of her.

The former Rhonda Forlaw was just trying to help. She pitched the talent of singer Trace Adkins to a record company president, and pointed out that the company's investment in Trace would be safe because he was a family man in stable surroundings.
But Trace missed his first appointment with the record company because his wife shot him. Rhonda immediately wondered about the stability of Trace's home life.
Here's how she tells the story of how she married one of countrymusic's fastest-rising stars, the man with whom she intends to live forever.
She worked in publicity at Arista Nashville, the Clive Davis label brilliantly run by former University of Tulsa instructor Tim DuBois. Rhonda didn't work in the artists and repertoire division. She had nothing to do with signing new talent to the label. She was a publicist. It was not her official duty to look for new talent. She was just trying to help Trace, whom she didn't know, as well as her employer by matching the two. Her only motivation was the goodness of her heart.
She first heard Trace at a private party, and later went to hear him at a beer joint where he worked in Wilson County near Nashville. She was positive the guy had talent.
She had previously pitched an artist to the powers that be at Arista. They hadn't taken that artist seriously. He went on to record number-one records and garner major awards.
She wondered if she should pitch this Trace guy. Would she tap her boss's appreciation, or annoyance?
She decided to tell Tim about Trace. To her astonishment, Tim agreed to hear Trace in person. She took Tim to the beer joint, an establishment not found in a directory of five-star facilities.
"I can't believe I'm bringing my boss out to this place," she said, uneasy as Tim listened to Trace.
The record executive ended the evening by telling Rhonda she had good ears. He told her to tell Trace he wanted to meet him for lunch. She told Tim he wouldn't be sorry.
"I worried, Lord, have I wasted my boss's time or am I getting brownie points? I was so excited," she said. "So I went running back in, and I can be a bit overemotional at times, and I was all excited and his [Trace's] wife was right there with him. 'I can't believe this, you're going to have lunch with Tim DuBois next week!' And his wife and Trace were just standing there at the time and she was closed-armed and was staring at me, staring at me, just disgusted."
Tim DuBois had discovered Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson, among others. Rhonda felt that neither Trace nor his wife had any idea about the significance of dining with one of Nashville's true power brokers.
Rhonda left Trace and his wife with the understanding that Trace would call her the following Monday to schedule lunch with Tim. Trace didn't call. He was busy breathing, gasping for life while clinging to it in an intensive care unit.
It seems that Trace's wife shot him—through one lung, through the heart, and through the other lung. The bullet broke through his ribs and fell onto the floor.
His first thought, said Rhonda, was that he was bleeding all over a new carpet. So he walked to a tile floor and collapsed so as not to stain the rug.
Rhonda's suspicions had been right. Trace was practical.
"So we were in this meeting [at Arista] and I get called out of the meeting for an urgent phone call and I take the phone call and the person tells me that the wife has shot Trace, and I had pitched the whole thing to Tim, 'stable artist, two children, wanted a recording deal his whole life.'"
"Why did his wife shoot him?" I asked.
"I don't know."
"You've never asked him?" Tom pressed.
"He doesn't know."
"Do you think she might have been jealous over the promise of the record deal?" I asked.
"Definitely," Rhonda said, "not a doubt in my mind."
"Do you think she was jealous of you?" I said.
"No, not jealous of me at all," Rhonda said. "I had only seen the man twice."
"But she was threatened by the fact that he was getting closer to a record deal and she didn't want him to be in the recording industry?" Tom probed.
"My perception," Rhonda answered. "But my first instinct when I found out he had been shot by his wife was, You jerk, what did you do to your little five-foot, one-inch wife, who weighed like one hundred pounds, to have her shoot you? I immediately took her side, I don't know why."
"You have pitched this guy as a model of mental stability and then you tell your boss that Trace can't have lunch with him because he's recovering from a gunshot wound?" Rhonda was asked.
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