‘George & Tammy’ Star Jessica Chastain Reflects On Tammy Wynette’s Life Of Pain: “When She Sang, It Felt Primal”

Tammy Wynette country music

Incase ya haven’t heard Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain are starring as George Jones and Tammy Wynette in the upcoming Showtime drama called George & Tammy, slated to premiere on December 4th.

It’s meant to document the tumultuous relationship between the two over the years, fueled by alcoholism, opioid addiction, emotional turmoil, and also love, according to the New York Post.

The series is going to be as accurate as possible, as many of those who were close with the two throughout their relationship gave a lot of insight, including guitarist Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery, Wynette’s confidant/hairdresser Jan Smith, Billy Sherrill who co-wrote “Stand By Your Man” with Wynette, and songwriter George Richey who later married Wynette and allegedly abused her.

Chastain said that Georgette Jones, the daughter of the two, made sure that her mother wasn’t portrayed as the victim in the series.

Chastain shared:

“She had been seen in that way … but she made choices in her life and navigated her life in the way she saw fit. It wasn’t, ‘Oh, poor Tammy.’ The reality is this was a woman who had great physical pain.

She had over three-dozen surgeries on her abdomen and blockages from her opioid addiction. She had to have a port to transfer drugs into her heart. 

Not only is she numbing the physical pain of what she’s been through… she also decided to numb the emotional pain” 

And you could hear it in the music.

Chastain also said that her experiences were evident with how she sang “Stand By Your Man:”

“I do think sometimes when she sang it felt primal. Her vocal in ‘Stand By Your Man’ is incredible, it goes from a whisper to a scream, but she hated it. She always felt like she sounded like a pig squealing.

I felt like her voice comes from a woman who was institutionalized… and wanted to leave her marriage and her mother took her kids away. I kept thinking when I was playing her she had this sense of rage and ferocity, like ‘Listen to me and see me and take me into account.’”

Of course, Tammy Wynette’s career is almost synonymous with the great George Jones. The two were married and then divorced, but even after they separated, the connection was always present, it was palpable.

Chastain also weighed in on the two’s relationship after their divorce:

“The way that they sing to each other, the way that George tries to get her to kiss him… when you have that kind of connection with another person, that almost artistic spiritual soulmate where you make this music together, it’s incredible.

I think country music is about not letting wounds heal and opening yourself up and exposing the darkest part of yourself, and that has to cost something to be iconic singers the way they were.”

Chastain also mentioned that she believes George and Tammy couldn’t live without each other:

“They constantly orbited each other even before they met. Tammy had a book in which she wrote down every lyric of George’s songs before she ever met him. Even after Tammy died, George wrote letters to DJs talking about the curious and suspicious nature of her death.

They sang about each other in their solos. They were destined, in some sense, to meet… I know that sounds corny but I find it deeply romantic.

They both had very difficult childhoods and troubles and knew how to put their hearts and souls into their music. They put everything of who they were into their art.”

George & Tammy is set to premiere on December 4th on Showtime.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock