The critically acclaimed Showtime miniseries George & Tammy, which stars Michael Shannon as George Jones and Jessica Chastain as Tammy Wynette, is back in the headlines.
When the show first aired in 2022, TV and country music fans alike were talking about how great it was to have a spotlight shined on such an iconic and tumultuous story in country music history. George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s relationship was complicated to say the least, and now it appears that the biographical drama about them is also heading for troubled waters.
Showtime, the network that aired George & Tammy and currently hosts the 6 episodes on their streaming service, has been served a lawsuit by the estate of Tammy Wynette’s last husband George Richey’s estate.
Those representing the late George Richey are arguing that the miniseries paints Wynette’s fifth and final husband as a villain throughout the story arc, and doing so violated an existing non-disparagement agreement that had been agreed upon with Georgette Jones, who served as a consulting producer for the show (and was the daughter of George and Tammy).
Variety was able to obtain the filing and stated that the lawsuit specifically suggests that George Richey was depicted “as a devious husband who abused Wynette and Richey’s prior wife, facilitated and encouraged Wynette’s addiction to prescription painkillers, and engaged in financial and managerial manipulation of Wynette.”
Showtime is the only named defendant in the lawsuit. Georgette Jones was not specifically mentioned, but one could assume that she could be associated considering she interacted so closely with the show, and wrote the memoir of the book that Showtime based the script off of (titled The Three of Us).
When Variety reached out for comment from Showtime about the lawsuit, they succinctly responded by saying:
“We see no plausible basis for any claim against Showtime.”
The lawsuit requests that the networks carrying George & Tammy (Showtime and Paramount) should withdraw the distribution of the mini series, and also mentions compensation through restitution, which would be figured through a trial.
It’s honestly a shame that a show that was enjoyed by so many is being put through a lawsuit such as this one, especially considering that we’re a year removed from the show’s premiere (which was the biggest in the history of Showtime).
Of course, it has been alleged on a number of occasions that Richey was both physically and emotionally abusive to Wynette, and it’s also been alleged that her 1978 kidnapping incident was faked by Wynette herself to escape his abuse… so I’m not sure where the line is drawn between “disparagement agreement” and “well, that’s what happened.”
Nevertheless, the drama series earned four Emmy nominations, with both Chastain and Shannon (the actors who portrayed Wynette and Jones) earning acting nods. It also provided fans with this intense, emotional scene of George Jones and Tammy Wynette recording “Two Story House” after they had gotten divorced: