Trace Adkins Recalls Nearly Dying When His Ex-Wife Shot Him In 1994: “What My Hunting Buddies Call A ‘Kill Shot'”

Trace Adkins country music
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Trace Adkins might be one of country music’s luckiest artists, and not for anything that has to do with his music career.

The man was severely injured in a head on car crash when he was 17, he almost lost both his legs in a  bulldozer accident in 1982, an oil tank explosion crushed his left leg, and he was also stranded on an off shore oil rig during Hurricane Chantal in 1989.

But perhaps the wildest brush with death was the time he was shot in the heart by his ex-wife.

It all went down in 1994, when Adkins was married to his second wife Julie Lauren Curtis. Although things were mostly sunshine and rainbows for the two since their first meeting in 1989, and marriage in 1991, things got rocky in February of ’94… and I mean VERY rocky.

Adkins was admittedly an alcoholic, working both as a construction worker and struggling country music artistry at the time, but on President’s Day 1994… Julie had enough.

After a day of boozing while doing some yard work, Julie wanted Trace out of the house, but Trace wasn’t leaving without his two kids (from his previous marriage) so he told her to leave.

When he came out of the bathroom, Julie had that .38 special pointed it straight at him.

He recalled in his biography, Trace Adkins: A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck:

“Then I did the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I turned into Captain Redneck and decided I was gonna disarm the lady.

I stuck my left arm out toward her, and to scare her, I said, ‘Give me the gun, or I’m gonna take it away from you and beat your damn brains out with it.’

That turned out to be not only the wrong words, but my last words.”

Yeah, probably not the best way to talk down a woman who is aiming to kill you. She ended up firing the shot:

“She pulled the trigger and the bullet went through my left lung, through my heart, through my right lung and out the other side. It was what my hunting buddies and I call a ‘kill shot.'”

He recalled feeling absolutely noting when the bullet went through:

“Your body and mind does a beautiful thing. In order to protect you, it shuts down. You feel nothing. I did feel pressure, like someone was standing on top of me and I couldn’t catch my breath.”

Although the gunshot could’ve easily killed him, he was rushed to the hospital via helicopter and doctors were able to save his life. He credits the Vanderbilt Life-Flight with the reason he is still alive:

“If I had been back in Louisiana, 50 miles from the nearest hospital, I’d be a dead man, no question.”

It was long battle no doubt, and he spent a lot of time in the ICU, having to have his lung drained, the hole in his heart patched, tubes down his throat, but he made it out alive.

Perhaps the most surprising part is that Adkins didn’t press any charges against Curtis, although they did get divorced right after the incident.

Yeah, I think being shot would have me looking for a divorce pretty quick, too…

Nevertheless, Trace takes some of the blame as well:

“I forgave my second wife for shooting me because I refuse to believe she was actually trying to kill me. She was probably trying to scare me off, out of the house.

Who’s to bless and who’s to blame? It would be crazy to pretend that we weren’t both to blame for what happened.”

The incident was briefly mentioned during his recent appearance on Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock