The year was 1993. It was just before the holidays and even though they’d never met, Amy Grant was scheduled to appear on Vince Gill’s TV Christmas special. From the moment they first laid eyes on each other, the chemistry between Gill and Grant was undeniable.
“I think that a part of me loved him instantly,” Grant later told ABC News. “I felt like I knew him instantly. I was so moved by him as a human being that I went up behind him and just hugged him as hard as I could while he was singing. I just said, ‘I just needed to hug you all night.'”
The feeling was mutual. Gill was so taken aback by Grant that he went home and wrote the song “Whenever You Come Around.”
“I was so inspired, moved by the sight of that smile, that I came home and wrote this song,” he recalled in 2015 while playing at The Ryman Auditorium. “I had no idea that all these years later we’d wind up together, have kids. … Life’s funny.”
The timing of their initial meeting was unfortunate as they were both already married with children; Grant to gospel singer Gary Chapman and Gill to Janis Oliver of the duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo. They chose to put their feelings for each other to the side and remain true to their marriages.
“We were both married, and though we were crazy about each other, we thought, ‘Well, that’s not our life,’” Gill shared with AARP. He also explained that there had been no infidelity and that the conversation of leaving their spouses never came out.
Through the years, their marriages, which were already rocky, began to unravel. In 1997, Grant was shocked to read in the newspaper that Gill and Oliver had filed for divorce.
Grant and Chapman sought out marital counseling the following year. “I’d been holding steady for 15 years in something that was not easy to hold steady,” she explained.
Despite their efforts to keep their marriage alive, Grant and Chapman ultimately opted to divorce. In 1999, once Grant’s divorce was final, Gill and Grant began dating.
“It was hard,” Gill admitted of the beginning stages of their relationship. “The kids, the popularity of our lives, a lot of tongues waggin’.”
Things progressed quickly for Gill and Grant and by March 10, 2000, they were married.
While their relationship came easy, blending their families did not. Their children, Gill’s daughter, Jenny, who was 17 at the time, and Grant’s children, Matthew, Millie, and Sarah, were between the ages of 7 and 12.
“It was a long haul to feel like a family again,” Grant confessed to Good Housekeeping. “The parents have made a choice, but none of the kids have made the choice. And wherever it’s going to wind up, you’re not going to get there quickly. You just have to give people their space.”
It wasn’t until the birth of Gill and Grant’s daughter Corrina in 2001 that their blended family really started to work.
“[She’s] the glue of this whole family,” Gill said. “She bonded all of us in a blood way that really did connect us.”
Gill and Grant have become one of Nashville’s most iconic couples. The secret to their lasting relationship, according to Gill, is how they treat each other.
“A big reason why our relationship is so good is that it begins with respect and kindness,” he explained. “If you have those two things on the front burner, then the rest is kind of easy.”