10 Country Music Stars Who Tied the Knot as Teens [LIST]

Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images/Loretta Lynn/Instagram and Barbara Mandrell/Instagram

Some of country music’s biggest stars got married as teenagers, and we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most memorable.

Country music is full of songs about heartbreak, scandalous trysts, lasting love, and even young love. It goes without saying that those songs were likely inspired by real-life events of the songwriter and often the singer of the song.

Most country music fans can name the artists who have endured heartbreak, been involved in relationships gone wrong, and those whose marriages have stood the test of time. But few know the stories of young love that led to marriage for some of the genre’s biggest stars. More than a few said “I do” as teenagers, lured into matrimony by the excitement of coming of age and wanting to share that excitement with a significant other.

Below is a list of 10 country stars who wed before they turned 20, including three who are still married to this day!

Loretta Lynn and Oliver “Doo” Lynn

Loretta Lynn Enterprises/PBS

Loretta Webb married Oliver Lynn in 1948 when Loretta was just 15 years old. Their marriage was filled with heartache, especially in the early years. But those days inspired many of Loretta Lynn’s biggest hits including, “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” and “Fist City.”

“I married Doo when I wasn’t but a child, and he was my life from that day on. But as important as my youth and upbringing was, there’s something else that made me stick to Doo. He thought I was something special, more special than anyone else in the world, and never let me forget it,” Loretta wrote in one of her autobiographies. “That belief would be hard to shove out the door. Doo was my security, my safety net. And just remember, I’m explainin’, not excusin’… Doo was a good man and a hard worker.”

The couple shared six children and were married 48 years until Doo’s death in 1996.


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Tammy Wynette and Euple Byrd

Tammy Wynette was only 17 when she said “I do” to construction worker Euple Byrd in 1960. By the time Tammy was 20, the couple had welcomed two daughters. According to Country Living, Byrd struggled to keep a job and moved his family often. Wynette helped to make ends meet by working as a waitress, hair stylist, and shoe factory employee, but grew tired of the lifestyle.

Estate of Tammy Wynette

While pregnant with her third daughter, Wynette left Byrd and moved her daughters to Nashville where Tammy pursued a record deal. She went on to marry four more times.

Glen Campbell and Diane Marie Kirk

Glen Campbell wed Diane Kirk in 1955 when he was 17 and she was 15 and pregnant. Their son, Glen Travis Campbell Jr., was born prematurely and died a few days after his birth. Their daughter, Debbie, was born the following year. Campbell told PEOPLE in 1976 that he married Kirk “because I believed in taking responsibility.” The couple split after three years.


Glen Campbell went on to marry three more times and had 7 more children. He was married to his fourth wife, Kim, for 34 years until his death in 2017 at the age of 81.

There are no known photos of Glen Campbell and Diane Kirk together.

Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright

At the age of 18, Kitty Wells said “I do” to Johnnie Wright, a cabinet maker with dreams of singing country music. Wells sang background vocals for her husband’s duo, Johnnie & Jack, for a few years before finding success as a soloist with her single, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” The song’s release set Kitty Wells on a path to country music superstardom and would secure her as a trailblazing female artist.

David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images)

Kitty and Johnnie were married for 74 years until Johnnie’s death in 2011. Kitty died the following year at the age of 92.

Barbara Mandrell and Ken Dudney


Barbara Mandrell was only 14 years old when she met 21-year-old Ken Dudney, who happened to be engaged to someone else at the time. Ken broke off his engagement and dated Barbara until she turned 18 and the couple said “I do” in 1967.

Dudney, who was a Navy pilot, gave up his career to support his wife’s dream. Barbara gave birth to their son Matthew in 1970, followed by daughter Jaime in 1976, and second son, Nathan, in 1985. 

Barbara Mandrell/Instagram

Barbara and Ken will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary in May of 2024.

Gabby Barrett and Cade Foehner

Gabby Barrett/Instagram

Gabby Barrett met her future husband, Cade Foehner, when both were contestants on American Idol in 2018. Barrett ultimately placed third in the 16th season of the show, and the couple wed a year later when she was 19.

“We thought, ‘What’s the point in waiting years and years if we already know we’re going to be committed to each other forever?’ So may forever start now,” Barrett said. “It is a blessing to find a husband or wife in this life, marriage is a profound and special thing, and we are so excited to finally be husband and wife.”

Gabby and Cade have since welcomed three children: Daughter Baylah May (born 2021), son Augustine Boone (born 2022), and daughter, Ivy Josephine (born 2024).

George Jones and Dorothy Bonvillion

George Jones met Dorothy Bonvillion in the late 1940’s when both were aspiring singers and members of the Buddy Brock Band. They wed in 1950 when George was just 18 and traveled throughout Texas and Louisiana performing in honky tonks.

The couple divorced a year later when Dorothy was 6 months pregnant with their daughter, Susan. Jones would marry three more times and was married to the love of his life, Nancy Sepulvado, in 1983 until his death in 2013.


There are no published photos of George Jones and his first wife, Dorothy, together.

Willie Nelson and Martha Matthews

Willie Nelson/Paramount+/Johnny Franklin/andmorebears/Getty Images

Willie Nelson was only 19 when he married Martha Matthews, and the tumultuous marriage made for some jaw-dropping stories following their divorce.

In his 2015 memoir, It’s A Long Story: My Life, Nelson recalled meeting Matthews at a burger joint where she worked as a carhop.

“She was a dark-haired beauty, a full-blooded Cherokee. Her eyes set my soul on fire, and her name was Martha Jewel,” Willie wrote of their initial meeting in 1952. 

After briefly dating, the couple eloped in October, something that then-16-year-old Martha’s parents didn’t know about. Their years of marriage were filled with drinking and fighting. When Willie was 27, he moved Martha and their three children to Nashville. Willie’s nights of performing in honky tonks took a toll on their marriage as he was admittedly unfaithful and worried that Martha was too.

Willie and Martha divorced after ten years of marriage. Wille would marry three more times, and has been married to his current wife, Annie, since 1991.

George Strait and Norma Strait

George Strait was 19 years old when he married his high school sweetheart, Norma, in 1971. The couple eloped in Mexico and followed with a small church wedding in their hometown of Pearsall, Texas.

George Strait and Norma Strait during 25th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at Pantages Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Norma has been by George’s side through his career successes and the highs and lows of their family life. Their first child, Jenifer, was born in 1972 and was tragically killed in a car accident when he was just 13. Their son, George “Bubba” Strait Jr. was born in 1981.

Norma has chosen to remain mostly out of the spotlight, but surprised fans by appearing in George’s 2019 music video for “Condigo.”

George and Norma have been married for 53 years and are now proud grandparents to Bubba’s children, George “Harvey” Strait III and Jillian Louise Strait.

Merle Haggard and Leona Hobbs

Leona Hobbs was the first of Merle Haggard’s five wives. She married the country legend-in-the-making when he was only 19. They were married for eight years and shared four children: Dana, Marty, Kelly, and Noel.

Merle Haggard/Facebook

Merle’s marriage to Leona was before he became a country star, and his questionable life choices took a toll on their relationship. A year after marrying Hobbs, Merle robbed a Bakersfield roadhouse, but was arrested and convicted. After trying to escape the Bakersfield Jail, Haggard was transferred to San Quentin Prison where he attended a Johnny Cash concert in 1958. Cash’s performance greatly influenced Haggard and inspired him to pursue a career in music after his release in 1960.

Following his divorce from Leona Hobbs, Merle Haggard would marry four more times.

If you like this list you’ll love our list of Marriages That Have Stood The Test Of Time!