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Alan Jackson and Wife Open Up About Saving Their Marriage and Fighting Cancer

Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Alan Jackson was the subject of last night’s ‘Backstory’ on GAC, and the singer’s relationship with wife Denise was a focal point of the episode. Alan and Denise have been married since 1979, so their relationship factors heavily in his career and his music. The duo endured their fair share of ups and downs since that fateful meeting at a Dairy Queen, but through it all, they remain stronger than ever.

Denise revealed that her future husband threw a penny at her while they were hanging out at a Dairy Queen, and it bounced down her shirt. He asked for it back, making her think the whole thing was an intentional, planned scheme. He followed her home, startled her, and once she caught her breath their relationship started at that moment.

The pair were often seen driving around in Jackson’s vintage white 1955 Thunderbird convertible, which the singer restored during their courtship. Denise acknowledged that the car gave the lanky, goofy-looking future superstar confidence. He eventually sold the car to buy their first house. She eventually bought him another white T-bird.

Jackson did say that he has been taking care of Denise since she was 16, paying for college and buying her her first car. But she paid him back tenfold when she approached country star Glen Campbell in an airport, since she was a fight attendant. She told him her husband was a singer, and she got him to pay attention. The Jacksons’ love story just goes to show you that behind every good man is an even better woman.

Once Jackson’s career took off, things were strained in the marriage. In February of 1998, the Jacksons press released the fact that they were separating since things weren’t quite right. They entered into intense therapy to salvage their 18-year marriage, which was difficult for Jackson, who was used to solving things on his own.

Denise’s faith steered the ship and ultimately righted the course of their marriage, in her eyes. She said, while clutching her husband’s hand, that “God took our mess and made something wonderful out of it. It took us going through that to finally have the kind of relationship we both always wanted.”

They eventually renewed their vows, but life threw them another curve ball in the winter of 2010, when Denise was diagnosed with cancer. That was also especially hard for Jackson, since he couldn’t do anything to help her. He deemed his wife “the toughest person I know.”

Denise is now cancer-free, and the Jacksons’ marriage remains solid as a rock.

Watch Alan Jackson Talk About His Wife’s Battle With Cancer

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