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

George Jones country music ACM
ACM Awards

With the ACM Awards less than weeks away, we’re going to take the opportunity took back at some great ACM moments from years past.

And to kick it off, 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.”

Classic.

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.

And then Tammy married songwriter George Richey (who allegedly had his own issues with abuse) in 1978.

George would go on to win the Academy of Country Music’s Pioneer Award in 1993.

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

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