Vince Gill + Amy Grant — Country’s Greatest Love Stories
Vince Gill and Amy Grant's love story involves the end of two marriages, the beginning of one and a whole lot of heartache and joy along the way. Their story is incredibly inspiring, to say the least.
The two met at the end of 1993. Gill was married to Janis Oliver, and Grant was hitched to Christian singer Gary Chapman (the father of three of her children). Although Grant and Chapman had been married for years, she reveals that her marriage “had been rocky from the get-go. I’d been holding steady for 15 years in something that was not easy to hold steady."
When Grant and Gill met, they were going to record a video for "House of Love," their duet from and the title track of Grant's 1994 record. It was, essentially, love at first sight.
"I think that a part of me loved him instantly," Grant says. "I felt like I knew him instantly. I was so moved by him as a human being that I went up behind him and just hugged him as hard as I could while he was singing. I just said, 'I just needed to hug you all night.'"
Likewise, Gill was so inspired when he set eyes on Grant's face that he wrote his touching song "Whenever You Come Around." At a 2015 show at the Ryman, Gill gave some of the back story, saying, “This is a song that was inspired by a smile that I saw for the first time on the face of a woman that I’d never met. That was Amy Grant back in 1993.
“I was so inspired, moved by the sight of that smile, that I came home and wrote this song," he adds. "I had no idea that all these years later we’d wind up together, have kids. … Life’s funny.”
Although strong feelings were ignited from the start, both individuals wanted to stay true to their marriages -- but that's not to say they didn't think of one another. Gill, married to Oliver since 1980, kept Grant in his mind "pretty much always." In fact, he didn't let go of hope of a future with Grant, telling himself that perhaps they were destined for one another and would unite at an old age. "You don't know how life's going to unfold," he told himself.
The unraveling of both marriages happened quickly: Gill's wife filed for divorce in 1997, and Grant did the same two years later, but it was not because of infidelity on either of their parts.
"He'd never, ever, ever invited me out of my world into his," Grant says. "Ever."
Once their divorces became final, Gill and Grant began dating and were married on March 10, 2000, on a rainy hillside outside Nashville, with Grant barefoot and bagpipes in the background -- but it took quite some time for Grant's children to accept the new family, which also included Gill's then-17-year-old daughter Jenny. It wasn't until the birth of Gill and Grant's daughter Corrina that their families really blended.
"[She's] the glue of this whole family," Gill reflects. "She bonded all of us in a blood way that really did connect us.”
Now, Grant and Gill come off the tongue just as easily as any famous couple. And it's clear they were meant for each other, balancing one another out in a way only they can do. When Grant's father's health began declining, she explains, “Probably not a week goes by that Vince won’t say, ‘If you need me to hold you, just sit down here beside me and put your head on my shoulder.' He makes me laugh and he holds me.”
Gill adds, “She can get on the serious side pretty easily, but I don’t get on the serious side very often. So in that respect, we balance each other well, because I think if you laugh every day you’ve had a good day."
Mutual friend Rodney Crowell sums their relationship up this way: “Sometimes one person in your life puts that final block in place, and you step into the ownership of who you are. That was a positive merging right there — two great, fun-loving, accessible people. They’re the perfect couple and parents, fully realized human beings and philanthropists. And there’s absolutely no pretension about them, which is very rare.”
And now, Gill's song inspired by Grant has come true: "The face of an angel; pretty eyes that shine / I lie awake at night wishing you were mine."