Chris Stapleton and His Wife, Morgane, Have the Sweetest Country Music Romance

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At the 2024 ACM Awards on Thursday night, all eyes could be on one of country music’s sweetest couples: Chris Stapleton and his wife, Morgane Stapleton. Both Chris and Morgane are singer-songwriters and, for the first time, are heading into the Academy of Country Music’s annual awards show as fellow nominees.

Whereas 46-year-old Chris is now a 17-time ACM Award winner, 41-year-old Morgane is on the verge of her first trophy. She was nominated as a producer for her husband’s 2023 album, Higher, which is competing for Album of the Year.

The record isn’t the first time the couple has worked together. Over the course of their 16-year marriage, Chris has relied on his wife’s talents to craft music and perform background vocals for many of his popular songs. Along the way, they’ve built a family with five children and a rock-solid life together.

“We’re married so we hold each other accountable,” Chris told The New York Times in 2017. “We can lift each other up on bad nights, kind of give each other a wink when we screw up or do something funny.”

Read on for their love story, which has even drawn comparisons to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

Chris and Morgane met in Nashville

Chris was working at a Nashville, Tennessee, publishing house in 2003 when he caught the eye of Morgane Hayes, a fellow singer-songwriter at a neighboring publishing house. Morgane had a friend who worked with Chris, and she would hang out in the office hoping for a chance run-in with the studly songwriter. “We’d hear the jingle of his keys as he walked down the hall, and we knew he was coming to play us whatever new song he had written,” Morgane told The Washington Post.

“She was a stalker,” Chris joked in an interview with Paste.

When he finally asked her to get together for a songwriting session—at 6 p.m. on a Friday—it ended up being the couple’s first date. “We didn’t get much writing done that night,” Morgane said.

The couple got married four years later

The pair married on October 27, 2007. Before the wedding, Chris had the words “You Are My Sunshine,” secretly etched into his ring. “That’s our story,” Chris told Rolling Stone. He and Morgane often perform the song together on stage.

They’ve made music and a family together

Chris served as the frontman of bluegrass band The SteelDrivers until 2010, when he left seeking a shift in his career. He and Morgane had had their first child by that point. Their son Waylon arrived in 2009. “I missed my kid and I missed my wife, and I was getting an idea of what it was like to be a touring musician,” he told American Songwriter.

The couple’s only daughter, Ada, was born soon after in 2010.

Commercial success seemed inevitable after Chris released his first single, “What Are You Listening To,” in 2013—which made it to the Top 50 that summer—but then tragedy struck: Chris’ father passed away. Around the same time, the single started dropping on the charts. Responding to her husband’s grief, Morgane suggested a cross-country road trip to help him clear his head and cope with the sadness.

She bought a 1979 Jeep Cherokee online, and the couple flew to Phoenix with the plan to drive it back home to Nashville. They knew the car was a clunker, liable to break down on the highway, but the couple accepted the challenge with a sense of humor. “We looked at each other like, ‘Yeah, we’re finally doing this,’ and then gas started spewing everywhere,” Morgane told The Tennesseean. “We called the seller and he said, ‘Oh, you can’t fill [the tank] all the way.’”

The road trip filled Chris’ creative tank; he began work on his first solo album, Traveller, shortly after. Morgane, who’s always been involved in all of her husband’s music, handpicked the majority of the album’s songs from the prolific writer’s library of more than a thousand published tunes. Chris wrote one of Morgane’s favorite tracks, “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore,” about a father questioning his faith, while waiting for her to get ready to go out.

“This is the most emotional, saddest country song I’ve ever heard, and you just spit it out in 10 minutes,” an incredulous Morgane told The Washington Post.

Awards and more babies have followed

The couple continued to write and perform together and had twin baby boys, Macon and Samuel, in April 2018. At that year’s ACM Awards, host Reba McEntire announced their twins’ arrival to the world, but Morgane later revealed on Instagram that the babies actually came more than a month early. Their fifth baby, another son whose name hasn’t been shared publicly, was born in May 2019.

Chris has now amassed 10 Grammy Awards; 17 ACM Awards, including being named the Artist-Songwriter of the Decade for the 2010s; and 16 Country Music Association Awards. Higher, his 2024 ACM-nominated album, released in November 2023 and debuted atop Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Morgane served as a writer for one of its singles, “The Fire.”

Chris is also currently on tour with special guests that include George Strait and Little Big Town.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for this immensely talented couple.

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About the Author: Rayne Chancer