Showtime’s ‘George and Tammy’ follows the tumultuous relationship of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. The film begins with their meeting when both of them have already been wed twice. It doesn’t take long for them to leave their current partners after they’ve fallen in love with each other. However, once married, things from their past start to surface and they have a lot of things to make peace within their already turbulent lives. We see the aftershock of Tammy’s second marriage with Don Chapel threatening her relationship with George, but barely anything is mentioned about her first husband. Who was he and what happened to him? Let’s find out.
Who was Euple Byrd?
Born in 1937 in Itawamba County, Mississippi, Euple Byrd was the first husband of Tammy Wynette. He was five years her elder, and they got married in 1960 when Tammy was still 17 and had dropped out of school. It is said that she had been in love with his elder brother, but things didn’t pan out and Tammy ended up marrying Euple instead.
Euple worked as a construction worker and the couple lived in destitution in the early years of their relationship. Reportedly, while Tammy was pregnant with their first child, they lived in what was practically a shack. There was no heat or electricity, and the couple had to make do with whatever they could. The fact that Euple was found incapable of holding on to one job for a long time added to their financial struggle.
Things did get better for a while, as Tammy too took up several jobs to provide for the family. Around this time, Tammy is also said to have joined beauty school, with some help from her mother, and used her license as a beautician to stay on her feet. It is believed that she kept renewing the license until the last year of her life. Despite the financial stability, the couple found it difficult to keep their marriage together due to personal differences. Things got so bad that, eventually, Wynette suffered a nervous breakdown. She was hospitalized and had to go through electroshock treatments while she was pregnant with her third child. Soon after this, she took her children and moved to Birmingham.
It is here that Tammy started looking at singing as a viable career and things started to look a bit on the brighter side. She and Euple tried to reconcile and gave one final chance to set things right between them. However, things didn’t work out and they officially split in 1965.
How did Euple Byrd Die?
According to Find a Grave, Euple Byrd died at the age of 59 on November 30, 1996. It is believed that he died in a car crash. He is buried at the Hillcrest Masonic Cemetery in Fulton, Itawamba County, Mississippi. Not much is known about his life after his divorce from Tammy. It isn’t confirmed whether or not he married again and had children, other than the three that he already had with Tammy.
Reportedly, in the later years of his life, Euple tried to establish a connection with his daughters, though it is not confirmed whether or not he and Tammy were cordial enough to progress from there. It is said that he had been skeptical, at best, of Tammy’s dreams of becoming a singer. According to a story that has now become a part of Tammy Wynette’s legend, he told her to “dream on” when she told him about her plan to become a country singer. Years later, he showed up at one of her concerts for an autograph and she signed it “dream on”.
Read More: Tammy Wynette’s Kids: Where Are They Now?