Loretta Lynnwas the very first women to win the coveted ACM Entertainer of the Year award back in 1976.
She was also the first women nominated for that award in 1971, and has gone on to win countless others, even becoming the first (and only) female artist to win the Artist of the Decade award in 1980 for her trailblazing work in the genre throughout the ’70s.
And at the 30th ACM’s show in 1995, she was presented with the ACM Pioneer Award, which honors outstanding country stars that have made new achievements in the country music world.
Lisa Gibbons, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Pam Tillis presented her with the award that year, and she was visibly surprised to be holding it on stage when she gave her speech.
It was also the year before her husband, Doolittle Lynn, passed away in 1996, and he was pretty sick at the time.
She said he was in the hospital during the show and couldn’t make the trip to be there in person, but insisted she go anyways, knowing that she would receive this award during the show:
“Thank you. You know, this is a surprise, and um, my husband kept telling me I had to come out here…
But I’d like to say, too, one of my most memorable awards was given to me here. And I think the Academy of Country Music has been greater to me than about anybody in the world when it comes to award shows.”
As she continued, she got visibly emotional talking about him and how he helped her get into the music business and make an incredible career for herself:
“I’d like to say that I thank my husband for me being in the business. He’s in the hospital right now, and I left his side because he made me.
And then when I got out here, and I called back, he was a little worse than what he was when I left, and we thought we’d have to leave last night…
I want to thank all of you, and thank my husband, Mooney Lynn!”
They had a pretty tumultuous marriage during their almost 50-year union, but Loretta always speaks fondly of him and often talks about how much she wishes he were still alive and growing old with her.
It’s a sweet moment from the shows history that’s worth watching, and Loretta is just so humble and classy that you can’t not love her.
And if you click around to the 1:21 mark, it looks there might even be a Garth sighting where he’s wiping a tear away (or a bead of sweat), but in typical G fashion, the waterworks seem like the more likely option in this scenario: