43 Musician Couples in Popular Music
Musician Couples: They're Like the Rest of Us, Only Richer
Famous couples in pop, rock, country, and R&B music may have more money, talent, or luck than the rest of us, but when it comes to love and marriage, they struggle with exactly the same relationship issues as everyone else. Some might argue that their troubles are magnified by fortune and fame.
Even when both partners are prominent musicians, the reality is that they still face infidelity, jealousy, unplanned pregnancies, and battles with anxiety and addiction. Their lives together aren't immune to the challenges of balancing work and family, parenting disabled children, experiencing illness themselves, or having their love story get cut short by death.
Here are some of popular music's well known musician couples. Some have made their relationships work, while others failed famously.
1. Jay-Z and Beyoncé
This music power couple can't agree on when they actually met (1997-2000), but what are a few years when you've been together for two decades? Jay and Bey are a force to be reckoned with and have successfully collaborated on both babies and music. They're known for their high profile friendship with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, having been enthusiastic supporters of his during the election.
Married in 2008, the former Destiny's Child singer and the hip hop artist both opted to get the tattoo "IV" on the ring finger of their left hands instead of wearing wedding rings. Their relationship has been played out in the public eye, including:
- persistent allegations of Jay Z's infidelity
- veiled threats from Queen B about repercussions
- profuse apologies from a remorseful Jay Z and
- (who can forget?) that incident in the elevator.
Dubbed "Elevatorgate," that's when Beyoncé's sister, Solange, physically attacked her brother-in-law in a New York elevator as Queen Bey looked on. Despite the drama, the two lovebirds have stuck it out; they welcomed twins, little siblings for daughter Blue Ivy, in 2017.
While each has been successful separately, they've also released songs together that have become major hits. So far, some of their most prominent hits together include "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (2002), "Crazy In Love" (2003), "Déjà Vu" (2005), and "Drunk in Love" (2013).
What would you do if you were married to one person but loved another?
2. Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
We're not just talking Miranda and Blake but also the singers they've dated or married. This bunch of famous musicians is a hot mess of tangled relationships.
Let's start with Blake Shelton, reformed mullet-wearing country superstar and a judge on The Voice. He was married to Miranda Lambert from 2011-2015. They had dated since 2006.
A country megastar in her own right, Miranda is known as a sassy, gun-toting broad who wrote one of her most successful songs, "Gunpowder & Lead" (2008) while taking a concealed carry firearms course. The couple didn't hide their mutual affection for alcohol and partying, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that Miranda wasn't ready for parenthood when Blake proclaimed he was. Allegedly, this is why they are no longer country music's hottest couple.
After their 2015 divorce, Miranda moved on by dating R&B singer Anderson East, beginning in late 2015. He is best known for his appearance on the 2017 soundtrack to Fifty Shades Darker. The pair collaborated on songwriting for her album, The Weight of These Wings.
Meanwhile, Blake Shelton was also back in the dating game only five months following his divorce from Miranda. He began seeing Grammy Award-winning pop star Gwen Stefani who admitted that she did not know who Blake was before they worked together as judges on The Voice.
Gwen is best known for "Hollaback Girl" (2005), the first single to ever sell a million digital downloads. Blake and Gwen collaborated on one marginally successful song, "Go Ahead and Break My Heart" (2016), and other attempts are sure to follow. Gwen was married from 2002-2016 to Gavin Rossdale, lead singer for the rock band, Bush.
Didn't I tell you this was complicated?
3. Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Sometimes you're married to the wrong person when the love of your life comes along. What would you do?
Contemporary Christian and pop singer Amy Grant and country singer Vince Gill were both married to other people when they first met in 1993. They collaborated on "House of Love" (1994). That first meeting was so memorable that it inspired Gill's hit, "Whenever You Come Around" (1994):
The face of an angel; pretty eyes that shine
I lie awake at night, wishing you were mine
I'm standing here holding the biggest heartache in town
Whenever you come around.
Despite describing their meeting as involving love at first sight, however, their relationship is not a love story that involves infidelity—not the physical kind, anyway. Gill's wife, Janis Oliver of 1980s and '90s country group Sweethearts of the Rodeo, divorced him in 1997. Could you blame her? He wrote one helluva love song about another woman!
In 1999, Amy divorced her husband, fellow Christian singer Gary Chapman. In 2000, less than a year after Amy's divorce, Amy and Vince were finally married. They added to their blended family of four children with a child of their own in 2001.
4. Avril Lavigne & Chad Kroeger of Nickelback
Each member of this pop power couple was known for their hip and edgy images. Avril Lavigne rose to fame with pop songs like "Complicated" (2002) and "Girlfriend" (2007). Chad Kroeger, guitarist and lead vocalist of Nickelback, enjoyed success with "How You Remind Me" (2001), "Someday" (2003), and "Photograph" (2005).
The two met when they collaborated on songwriting for Lavigne's album. They became engaged in 2012, a mere month after they started dating. The wedding followed less than a year later, and unfortunately, the divorce thereafter, in 2015. The song that they collaborated on, "Let Me Go" (2013) was only a moderate success.
5. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
I hope this love affair between country superstars never turns sour, because it appears to be the real deal. Now considered country music royalty, the two lovebirds met in 1996 when Faith Hill was Tim McGraw's opening act. At the time, Faith was once-divorced and had recently become engaged, while Tim had just broken off an engagement.
They began an affair, and later in 1996, upon discovering that Faith was pregnant, the happy couple tied the knot. Together they had three daughters in five years. The two singers have also gone on tour together, received stars on the Nashville Walk of Fame, and each has won multiple Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, and American Music Awards.
Some of their successful duets to date include:
- "Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me" (1998)
- "It's Your Love" (1998)
- "Let's Make Love" (2000)
- "Angry All the Time" (2001)
- "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" (2014)
- "Speak to a Girl" (2017)
- "Keep Your Eyes on Me" (2017)
The couple is releasing an album of duets in 2017.
6. Jack White and Meg White of White Stripes
This story is a quirky one. Jack Gillis met Meg White when he was a senior in high school, reading poetry at an open mic night held in a cafe where she worked. The two began dating, then married in 1996. He took her last name when they got hitched.
For years they claimed to be brother and sister because they believed music critics and the public wouldn't take a married alternative rock duo seriously. (Really?) And when Jack was first offered a recording deal, he turned it down because he thought he and Meg would have to bear the expense of recording their song.
The couple divorced in 2000 before their two-person band reached the height of its success, but they maintained their sibling story. Some of their most successful songs include: "Seven Nation Army" (2003), "Blue Orchid" (2005), and "Icky Thump" (2007).
As a result of Meg's crippling stage anxiety, The White Stripes broke up as a band in 2011. Their last live performance was on The Conan O'Brien Show's farewell episode.
Who Is Your Favorite Musician Couple? Tell Us in the Comments Section Below.
7. Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker
Before he became a family man, country legend Glen Campbell had an on-again/off-again romance in 1980-81 with country music's bad girl, Tanya Tucker. Their love was like fire and gasoline and kept the tabloids hopping.
Glen was more than 20 years Tanya's senior (he was 44, she was 21 at the time), and she acknowledged that part of the attraction was his resemblance to her father. The Rhinestone Cowboy was three times divorced with five children, and there were tabloid allegations of substance abuse, a suicide attempt, brawls, and jealousy. In between, they collaborated on several duets, including "Dream Lover" (1980).
Although the couple talked marriage, ultimately their fiery relationship ended. Tanya never remarried, and Glen met his fourth wife a month later, marrying in 1982. In 2015, Tanya explained it this way:
I think he was just on the rebound, in my opinion. She don't like me, but I have nothing against her. I appreciate her taking care of him all these years, because I know he's a handful.
Glen and Kim Campbell remained married until his death from Alzheimer's in 2017. Tanya was not permitted to see her ex-lover to say goodbye. However, she released a tribute song to him, "Forever Loving You," immediately following his death.
Should Tanya Tucker have been permitted to say "goodbye" to Glen Campbell personally before he died?
8. Joey Feek and Rory Lee Feek
There was such magic between them. It's hard not to feel that the couple comprising country and bluegrass duo Joey + Rory had their careers as well as their lives together unjustly cut short.
Married in 2002, husband Rory wrote hit songs for artists such as Clay Walker, Blake Shelton, and Tracy Byrd, while wife Joey was a struggling vocalist. On a friend's suggestion, in 2008, they entered a reality tv talent competition on CMT called, "Can You Duet?" After placing third, Joey + Rory signed a record deal and spent the next several years releasing albums. They were particularly known for the crossover song, "Cheater, Cheater" (2008).
The couple took a year off from music in 2014 to prepare for the baby they were expecting. Several days after birth, they learned that daughter Indiana had Down's syndrome.
Then, a few months later came a devastating diagnosis: Joey had cervical cancer. She braved radical gynecological surgery in the hopes of beating cancer, but less than a year later, in 2015, the disease returned as inoperable, unresponsive to treatment, and terminal. Joey died in hospice care in 2016 at age 40.
Whitney Houston's Top Performing Hits
Song Title & Year Released
Song Title & Year Released
1. I Will Always Love You (1992)
11. Where Do Broken Hearts Go (1988)
2. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) (1987)
12. My Love Is Your Love (1999)
3. Greatest Love of All (1986)
13. Heartbreak Hotel (featuring Faith Evans & Kelly Price) (1999)
4. All the Man That I Need (1990)
14. You Give Good Love (1985)
5. I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990)
15. I Have Nothing (1993)
6. So Emotional (1987)
16. One Moment in Time (1988)
7. How Will I Know (1985)
17. Believe in You and Me (1996)
8. Didn't We Almost Have It All (1987)
18. I'm Every Woman (1994)
9. Saving All My Love for You (1985)
19. Count On Me (with CeCe Winans) (1996)
10. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (1995)
20. It's Not Right But It's Okay (1999)
9. Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown
If this wasn't a match made in hell, I don't know what was.
Whitney Houston was one of the best-selling artists of all time with a voice that soared. When she met 20-year-old Bobby Brown, she was already an international pop princess, a Grammy-winner, and one of entertainment's highest earners—all this, at only 25 years old.
Bobby had been kicked out of New Edition, a group he co-founded, and had begun a solo career with several Top 10 crossover hits, including "My Prerogative" (1988). He was already the father of three children by two women when the couple met at the Soul Train Awards in 1989.
The two singers began dating in 1991 and married in 1992. Their sole music collaboration was "Something in Common" (1992). Their only child, Bobbi Kristina, was born in 1993.
Whitney and Bobby's 14-year marriage was plagued with allegations of infidelity, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Accounts conflict regarding which of them introduced the other to drugs.
To add to the stress, Whitney's talent was eroded by the couple's reckless lifestyle. Bobby was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The couple was openly ridiculed by comedians and the public, and in 2005, they became reality television stars with Being Bobby Brown. Critics remarked that it robbed Whitney of any remaining dignity. The couple divorced in 2007, shortly after she declined to sign on to a second season.
Even after the divorce, however, Whitney's life continued to spiral out of control with drug use and a faltering voice. Although she went into rehab in 2011, it wasn't enough to save her from drowning in a bathtub in 2012. A heart attack and cocaine were contributing factors. Bobby later summarized their marriage as "14 beautiful years."
Garth Brooks on His Relationship with Wife Trisha Yearwood
10. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
When these two country superstars sang their Grammy Award winning duet, "In Another's Eyes" (1997), they were close friends who were married to other people. The heart wrenching song describes being committed to one person but loving someone else. And there are good reasons why they are so convincing in that song.
The singers met in 1987 when they recorded a demo together. This was before either became famous. They felt an instant bond. Unfortunately, however, Garth Brooks was newly married to his college sweetheart. He promised Trisha Yearwood that should he became famous, she could be his opening act and he would help her get a record deal.
As luck would have it, when Garth Brooks found phenomenal success with his first album, in 1989, he delivered on his promises to "Ms. Yearwood" (as he has always called her). Garth was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1990 and found a signature song in "Friends in Low Places" (1990). He racked up awards—such as the American Music Award, Artist of the '90s—and became one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Trisha found fame in 1991 with "She's in Love With the Boy" and garnered her own success in country music, releasing more than a dozen Top 10 country hits. Both singers' personal lives, however, were more difficult. Trisha divorced her first husband in 1992, remarried in 1994, then divorced again in 1999. Garth's wife filed for divorce in 1999.
In 2005, almost two decades after they met, Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks finally married.
11. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake
This love story is one of betrayal, heartbreak, and a guy who doesn't forget. Former member of boy band NSYNC Justin Timberlake first met Britney Spears in the early 1990s when they were both young cast members on The Mickey Mouse Club television series. By 1999, the teens began a two-and-a-half year courtship, complete with famous matching denim formal wear.
Their young love affair ended abruptly in 2002, however, when Britney allegedly cheated on Justin with her choreographer. Others say that the two disagreed about whether to marry. Following their split, Justin and Britney were famed to have engaged in a dance off with their squads when they bumped into one another at a night club.
Heartbroken Justin channeled his pain into the international hit, "Cry Me a River" (2002), a revenge song. The tune was awarded a Grammy and has since been named to Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. He followed it up in 2006 with another thinly veiled revenge song, "What Goes Around Comes Around."
As Justin's career took off, Britney experienced rough years professionally and personally. She lip locked onstage kiss with Madonna for publicity, married a childhood friend in Vegas before having it annulled 55 hours later, and in 2004 thought she found love with back-up dancer Kevin Federline. She lost custody of her kids, famously shaved her head in a 2007 meltdown, and underwent rehab and psychiatric evaluation. Britney finally became a judge on The X Factor, and clawed her way back to public respectability.
Justin, however, hasn't been able to forget the "Princess of Pop." Although they've been broken up for more than a decade, he has alluded to his ex repeatedly. For example, in 2008 while inducting Madonna into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame ("The world has always been full of Madonna wannabes, I might have even dated a couple") and at a 2013 concert ("Sometimes in life, you think you found the one. Then you find out that she was just a b*tch.")
Even though he is now married, it seems like a piece of him still belongs to Britney.
12. Ike Turner and Tina Turner
All the talent in the world can't compensate for the fact that some husbands are abusive low life scoundrels. This iconic R&B couple broke through racial barriers with crossover hits such as "A Fool in Love" (1960) and "Proud Mary" (1971). But as prominent as they were for their vocals, they were equally renown for their combative relationship.
Ike and Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock) became a musical act before they became an item. Their marriage, from 1962 to 1978, was tainted by Ike's brutal violence and drug abuse, infidelity, and legal and financial problems. Ike developed a cocaine addiction in the 1970s that was so bad that he burned a hole in his nasal septum, causing chronic nosebleeds. Tina claimed that he used to beat her with a shoe stretcher. His abuse frequently left her bloodied or with black eyes.
Ultimately, Tina escaped the hell of their marriage by running across a busy freeway to a Ramada Inn with little more than the clothes on her back. Following their divorce, she was on food stamps for two years and lived with friends while she pulled herself together. Then her career as a solo artist took off.
Jealous of Tina's post-divorce success, Ike famously acknowledged the abuse in 1985:
Yeah, I hit her, but I didn’t hit her more than the average guy beats his wife. The truth is, our life was no different from the guy next door’s. ... If she says I abused her, maybe I did.
He also defended his behavior as necessary:
I dealt with Tina physically instead of mentally. It’s very hard to deal with black women mentally. It’s like you have to put some fear in them to communicate.
In 2007, a drug overdose finally claimed Ike Turner's life.
13. Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber
In 2016, Selena Gomez famously said that she was "so beyond done" talking about her on-again/off-again relationship with Justin Bieber. Then, in 2017, she supposedly demonstrated she was over him by not letting her ex know about her kidney transplant (necessitated by her struggle with lupus).
The ex-Disney actress and the bad boy singer were first rumored to have been an item back in 2010, but it wasn't until the next year that they came out as a couple. Fans nicknamed them "Jelena."
The couple's drama-filled romance officially spanned 2011 to 2015 and was marked by allegations of Justin's cheating as well as make-ups and break-ups. Their relationship was well documented in both the tabloids and social media. Even after the breakup, they can't seem to leave one another alone and just move the heck on.
Although there are no official released duets, each has written plenty of songs about the other. For example, Selena issued "The Heart Wants What It Wants" (2015) and "Bad Girlfriend" (2017). The Biebs released songs that he has said were inspired by Selena:
- “What Do You Mean?” (2015)
- "Sorry" (2015)
- "Mark My Words" (2015), and
- "Friends" (2017).
And it's not just Jelena playing out the relationship through music. In 2017, Selena started dating R&B artist The Weeknd, who released "Some Way." The song appears to take a jab at Justin: "I think your girl, think your girl, fell in love with me."
Stay tuned for this one, folks. I don't think it's actually over.
Are Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber finally "DONE" for good?
14. George Jones and Tammy Wynette
"There's no love in the world that can't be killed if you beat it to death long enough." That's how the Tammy Wynette (born Virginia Wynette Pugh) described her marriage to "The Possum," George Jones.
Tammy became The First Lady of Country Music as a result of her signature song about female martyrdom, "Stand By Your Man" (1968), plus the slew of other hits she released. These include "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" (1968) and "'Til I Can Make It on My Own" (1976). In 1969, she married George Jones, a man who would become a legend in country music. It was the third marriage for each.
Largely on account of George's alcoholism and erratic behavior, the couple divorced in 1975. After their split, they continued to collaborate professionally until 1980. Some of their best performing country duets included:
- "We're Gonna Hold On" (1973)
- "Golden Ring" (1976)
- "Near You" (1977) and
- "Two Story House" (1980)
Although Tammy and George bickered in public over the years, by 1995 they settled any remaining conflict and collaborated with another duet. The famous couple last performed publicly together in 1997, the year before Tammy died. George died in 2013.
15. Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris
You'd think a guy would have fair warning before dating Taylor Swift. When the relationship is over, you'll find yourself inspiring one of her songs. After all, it happened with these musicians she previously dated:
- Joe Jonas, who broke up with her over the phone, inspired "Forever & Always" (2008) and "Last Kiss" (2010).
- John Mayer complained that the 2010 song "Dear John" humiliated him; Taylor also based "I Knew That You Were Trouble" (2012) on him.
- Harry Styles from One Direction was alleged to be a womanizer and inspired "Out of the Woods" (2014) and "Style" (2014). He used his boy band to shoot back with the song "Perfect" (2015).
And that's just the guys who are musicians.
So far, Taylor Swift hasn't released a song about her ill-fated romance with Calvin Harris which ended in 2016 (at least not one that's unmistakably about him. But just wait. The 2016 song, "This Is What You Came For" by Calvin Harris (featuring Rihanna), was co-written by Taylor Swift
Even More Couples in Popular Music
Examples of Most Successful Songs Together
16. Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan
Married 1986 until Keith's death in 1989
'Til a Tear Becomes a Rose (1990)
17. Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson
Married 2002; Divorced 2006
Where You Are (2000)
18. John Mayer and Katy Perry
Dated off and on 2012-2014
Who You Love (2013)
19. Carly Simon and James Taylor
Married 1972; Divorced 1983
Mockingbird (1974), Devoted to You (1978)
20. Paul and Linda McCartney (Wings)
Married in 1969 until Linda's death in 1998
Band on the Run (1973), Silly Love Songs (1976), With a Little Luck (1978)
21. Keifer and Shawna Thompson (Thompson Square)
Married in 1999
Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not (2010); If I Didn't Have You (2013)
22. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Courtney Love of Hole
Married 1992 until Kurt's death in 1994
23. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac)
Go Your Own Way (1976)
24. Chris Brown and Rihanna
Dated 2008 until he violently assaulted her in 2009; Chris plead guilty to felony assault and served five years probation and six months community service. In 2012, there were signs of forgiveness.
Turn Up the Music (2012)
25. Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA); Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (ABBA)
Fältskog and Ulvaeus married 1971; Divorced 1980; Lyngstad & Andersson engaged 9 years then married 1978; Divorced 1981
S.O.S. (1975); Dancing Queen (1977); Take A Chance On Me (1977); The Winner Takes It All (1980); Fernando (1980)
26. Yoko Ono and John Lennon
Married 1969 until John's death in 1980
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (1972)
27. Jennifer Lopez and Puff Daddy (Sean Combs)
28. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
Married 2004; Divorced 2011
29. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
Married 1968 until June died in 2003
If I Were a Carpenter (1969)
30. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (Blondie)
Dated approximately 1974-1989
Heart of Glass (1978); Call Me (1980); The Tide Is High (1980); Rapture (1980)
31. Gloria and Emilio Estefan (Miami Sound Machine)
Words Get in the Way (1986) Rhythm Is Gonna Get You (1987); 1-2-3 (1987); Anything for You (1988) -- after 1986, Emilio was a producer rather than a band member
32. Faith Evans and Notorious B.I.G.
Married 1994 (8 days after meeting) until Notorious B.I.G.'s death in 1997
no duets with Notorious B.I.G. but his widow collaborated with Puff Daddy in a memorial song to the late rapper, "I'll Be Missing You" (1998)
33. Madonna and Vanilla Ice
Dated for 8 months in 1991
34. Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black
When I Said I Do (1999)
35. Captain and Tennille
Married 1975; Divorced 2014
Love Will Keep Us Together (1975); Shop Around (1976); Muskrat Love (1976); Do That to Me One More Time (1980)
36. Sony and Cher
Married 1964; Divorced 1975
I Got You Babe (1965); The Beat Goes On (1967); All I Ever Need Is You (1971)
37. Ad-Rock (Beastie Boys) and Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill)
Began dating 1997; Married 2006-present
38. Pat and Barbara K. MacDonald (Timbuk3)
Married 1977; Divorced 1995
The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (1986)
39. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)
Married 1984; Divorced 2013
Kool Thing (1990); Need U (100%) (2003)
40. Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson (Ashford & Simpson)
Married 1974 until Nickolas' death in 2011
Solid (1984), I'll Be There for You (1989)
41. Hillary Scott and Chris Tyrrell (Lady Antebellum)
Compass (2013), Downtown (2013), Bartender (2014), You Look Good (2017)
42. Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter
Married 1969 until Waylon's death in 2002
Suspicious Minds (1976)
43. Win Butler and Régine Chassagne (Arcade Fire)
Reflecktor (2013); Everything Now (2017)
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 FlourishAnyway