Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT
There are a lot of achy breaky hearts in the country music industry—and for good reason!
While Billy Ray Cyrus has been married to Tish for 23 years (happily, too, aside from a possibly Hannah Montana-related hiccup in 2013), the “Achy Breaky Heart” singer proves to be more the exception than the rule.
It makes sense, though, doesn’t it, that all those songs about lyin’, cheatin’ scoundrels and no-good exes were somehow inspired by real-life events? Thank goodness we’ve still got Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, y’all, because some of these other country couples and their drama have us about ready to go full-force Carrie Underwood “Before He Cheats.”
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT
Aldean, eager to put the past behind him, is no longer open to discussing his infidelity. “It has been two years of this s–t—get over it, already!” he said in a 2014 interview with Billboard. “And then when I finally do get enough of it and say something, every newspaper grabs it. And I’m not trying to get in the headlines—I’m just trying to get people to stop running their mouths.
It’s not always that easy to control the public conversation, though. Take, LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, who fell for each other in early 2009 while filming the Lifetime movie Northern Lights. Their not-well-hidden romance was quite the scandal because, as you may remember from the tabloids, both Rimes and Cibrian were married to other people at the time.
Rimes’ first husband Dean Sheremet didn’t speak out about her affair until 2015, but Brandi Glanville was famously vocal about Cibrian’s infidelity.
By October 2010, Cibrian’s divorce from Glanville and Rimes’ from Sheremet had been finalized. The following month, the Northern Lights co-stars were engaged. The pair said “I do” on April 22, 2011, in a small ceremony in front of 40 guests, including Cibrian’s sons from his first marriage.
Rimes is grateful to be happily married to Cibrian, but that’s not to say doesn’t struggle with what happened. “I don’t like the word regret,” she told E! News in 2012. “I wish I handled it differently because I wish I could have been better for me, for Brandi, for Dean, for Eddie, for everyone else.”
“I know, in this situation, it’s going to take some time,” she admitted. “All I wish is that everyone that was hurt, that we hurt, that I hurt, can be happy.”
Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images
Another country star whose marriage fell apart publicly is Josh Abbott: The Josh Abbott Band frontman went on a 2014 Twitter spree in which he admitted to cheating on his wife of four years, Amanda Abbott, and revealed his struggle with alcohol abuse.
In a series of since deleted tweets excerpted by (Taste of Country), Abbott told fans he had “destroyed my marriage through multiple problems, including: problems w/ alcohol abuse, infidelity, and language.” Although he mentioned “the temptations that we as artists and celebrities” as an obstacle, Abbott acknowledged that he was responsible for his own mistakes.
The musician and his wife separated following his Twitter confession and later divorced. Abbott wrote about the painful split on his band’s 2015 album, Front Row Seat.
“We named the album ‘Front Row Seat‘ because it’s a front row seat to our band and really it’s a front row seat to this story of love and divorce,” he told Taste of Country. “I guess it’s a story of whatever would be the opposite of love. It’s a story about my life.”
Gareth Davies/Getty Images
Of course, any country music fan can tell you love hurts—it’s just that sometimes it’s worth it.
Shania Twain‘s husband of 14 years, Robert “Mutt” Lange, allegedly cheated with her close friend Marie-Anne Thiébaud. Twain divorced Lange in 2008, and the country star bonded with Frédéric Thiébaud, her former friend’s ex-husband, over their heartache.
Twain and Thiébaud “had a good year of just suffering together as friends,” she later told Redbook. “And don’t forget I’d known him for many years before. So it was that, then another year of falling in love. It didn’t feel like a whirlwind at all, to be honest.”
In a happy twist of fate, Twain and Thiébaud wed on Jan. 1, 2011. “Good for me, is all I can say,” Twain told Redbook after gushing about her hubby, adding that she’s “loving every minute” of life as Mrs. Thiébaud.
John Sciulli/Getty Images
Sara Evans filed for divorce from Craig Shelske in 2006, and she didn’t just list “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the split. Evans accused Schelske of infidelity and verbal abuse (which he adamantly denied). Schelske went on to accuse Evans of infidelity, and the tawdry details of their legal back and forth played out very publicly.
Evans’ divorce from Shelske was finalized in 2007, and she married sports radio host Jay Barker in 2008. Evans stepped back from the spotlight for several years to focus on raising her three children from her marriage to Shelske and Barker’s kids as well.
“The dynamics of a divorce and blended families are there,”Evans said in a 2014 interview with SheKnows.com. “And I come from divorce—my parents divorced when I was 12, so I totally understand what they are going through and what they feel and their struggles, so I try to compensate for those constantly.”
AP Photo/Carolina Herrara
And sometimes, marriage just isn’t quite what you thought.
Four months after Kenny Chesney and Renée Zellweger‘s May 9, 2015 wedding, the Bridget Jones’s Baby actress filed for an annulment from the country star on the grounds of “fraud.” Shortly afterwards, Zellweger issued a statement clarifying that the term “fraud” was “simply legal language and not a reflection of Kenny’s character.” This, however, didn’t stop tabloid speculation over Chesney’s sexual orientation.
“It’s not true. Period. Maybe I should have come out and said, ‘No, I’m not [gay],’ but I didn’t want to draw any more attention to it,” Chesney later told Anderson Cooper during an interview for 60 Minutes. “I didn’t have to prove to anybody that I wasn’t [gay]. I didn’t feel like I really did.”
“The only fraud that was committed was me thinking that I knew what it was like…that I really understood what it was like to be married, and I really didn’t,” added Chesney.
The singer doesn’t regret his marriage to Zellweger, though. “Even though I’d sit here and say I wish we’d gotten divorced instead of all that annulment stuff, and saved me a lot of public humiliation…I still don’t have any regrets,” he told Cooper. “I loved her, you know? And it was real.”