Why Did George Jones and Tammy Wynette Divorce?

Image Credit: Dana Hawley/ SHOWTIME

Showtime’s ‘George and Tammy’ follows the story of the titular couple who was dubbed as the President and the First Lady of country music. The series starts from the beginning, right from their first meeting when Tammy Wynette is at the start of her illustrious career while George Jones was already a big name in country music. Sparks fly between them as soon as they meet, and soon they get married. Despite their passionate affair, the couple’s marriage doesn’t last long. If you are wondering what happened to them, and why things didn’t work out between them, then here’s what you should know.

The Reason Behind George and Tammy’s Divorce

While there was a lot of love between George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Jones’ alcohol addiction caused trouble for the couple throughout their marriage. According to The Washington Post, Wynette said that he “drinks to such an extent that he becomes completely and absolutely unmanageable”. This was when she filed for divorce for the first time. The couple reconciled shortly after, and Wynette even confessed that this was just a stint to jolt her husband into sobering up himself. However, things didn’t get any better, and soon, Wynette filed for divorce once again, and this time saw it through.

Image Credit: TammyWynettemusic/ Youtube

During their marriage, Jones tried to curb his addiction, but, reportedly, things tended to get ugly whenever he would get drunk. In her autobiography, ‘Stand by Your Man’, published in 1979, Wynette wrote about an incident where Jones chased her through the house with a hunting rifle. The book also talks about Jones getting physically abusive, following which Wynette would have to use makeup to hide the bruises on her face. In addition to their personal lives, Jones’ addiction started to impact their professional lives too. He would often turn up late or not show up at all at recording sessions. Wynette eventually drew a line at his behavior when he not only failed to be present at a recording session but also bought a Cadillac and went to Florida without a word.

For all of Wynette’s claims about his alcoholism and violent streaks, Jones always refuted the accusations. Instead, he claimed that he had been sober for the last eighteen months of their marriage. “I think that the biggest problem was that we saw each other 24 hours a day for seven years. You just can’t live together, eat together and sleep together when you’re also working together. And it didn’t help that there was a lot of jealousy and mistrust on her part. She didn’t trust me for the first five years,” he said.

Whatever the reasons might have been, the divorce of Tammy Wynette and George Jones was finalized on January 8, 1975. Despite this separation, they continued to make music together. It took some time for Jones to find his way back and seek help for his addiction, but he did eventually break out of it. Post-divorce, he admitted that his and Wynette’s relationship was “a hell of a lot better now than it was when we were married. The storm is over, and we’re best of friends.” Their daughter, Georgette Jones, whose book serves as the source material for the Showtime series, said that her parents tried “to date for the longest time, even after they were divorced”.

While they eventually got married to separate people, they remained an important part of each other’s lives. “My dad had an attention to detail that was like no other…even when [my parents] weren’t together anymore if he knew she liked something, and it was her birthday or something, he would still send things and do kind things,” Georgette told Vanity Fair, calling her parents “hopeless romantics”. Considering how they continued to work with each other even after they split, it seems like both Jones’s alcoholism and the lack of space between their personal and professional lives might have caused things to get sour between them, ending up in divorce.

Read More: Was George Jones an Alcoholic and Drug User?