ACM Awards 1981: George Jones Hilariously Thanks His “Ex-Wife & New Husband-In-Law” After Winning Top Male Vocalist

George Jones country music

With the ACM Awards only a couple weeks away, we’ve been taking the opportunity took back at some great ACM moments from years past.

We recently took a look back at Miranda Lambert’s 2019 shade towards Blake Shelton during a performance of “Little Red Wagon,” Travis Tritt and actor Joe Pesci performing together in 1992, and of course, who could forget Alan Jackson’s 1994 protest performance without drumsticks? Talk about epic.

But today, we’re taking it back even farther… back to 1981.

George Jones’ career-defining hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today” took home the ACM Award for Song of the Year and he also won Top Male Vocalist at the 16th Annual ACM Awards.

For the latter, Jim Stafford and Susan Anton presented him with the award, but during his acceptance speech, he hilariously took the opportunity to thank his ex-wife Tammy Wynette and her new husband.

“This is the greatest thrill of my life… you know, everybody says that but the things that have happened so good for me in the past few months, all you people made it happen for me.

And we love you and we appreciate it, we thank Columbia Records and Epic, and we thank all our fans, especially.

And I thank my ex-wife and new husband-in-law… Tammy Wynette… Thank you so much.”


And while that might sound like a dig, it sounds like a sincere, light-hearted, humorous thank you to his ex-wife for inspiring one of his greatest hits. The hit that turned his career around when it seemed like he was on his way to fading out of the country music spotlight for good.

Of course, George had battled alcoholism and drug abuse which ultimately led to his divorce from Tammy in 1975. Tammy married songwriter George Richey in 1978.

He also accepted the award for Song of the Year, but that speech wasn’t nearly as eventful.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock