‘Almost bulletproof’ – that’s how country singer Wynonna Judd described her relationship with spouse Michael Scott “Cactus” Moser. Just months after they got married, they had gone through one of the most devastating tragedies any couple could go through – a terrifying brush with death. But they stood strong and held on to their vows to love, hold, and cherish each other till death do they part. They weathered the storm and emerged stronger not only as a couple but as individuals as well. And now, they are already in for a decade, making love and music.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane back into the ’80s and see how their love story started.
1989: Sparks Flew
Wynonna Judd and Cactus Moser actually go way back to the ’80s. Moser, a founding member of the popular country band Highway 101, toured alongside her and her late mother, Naomi Judd. Moser recalled feeling that there was a ‘spark’ between them though Wynonna wasn’t exactly sure teasing him about his mullet – a popular style back then that Moser loved to call his ‘beautiful feathered hairdo.’ Aside from the mullet, Wynonna felt it was a little complicated to start anything. While touring with her mom, it was kind of hard to get a date.
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The tour ended a year later, and they went their separate ways. Moser went back to Los Angeles while Wynonna returned home to Tennessee.
2009: A Second Opportunity
Wynonna had painfully gone through two marriages and two divorces before she and Moser reconnected. She met her first husband, Arch Kelley, in 1993, married in 1996, welcomed a son and a daughter, and finally divorced in 1999. She got hitched again in 2003 with her longtime bodyguard D.R. Roach, and they were together for four years before he was arrested on child sex assault and battery charges.
Two years later, Wynonna and Moser got the chance to reconnect again. The spark was evidently still there, and they started dating each other.
In an interview they gave years later, they reminisced how Moser would always try to be Mr. Charming bringing a mixtape of something different almost every date and trying to see Wynonna’s reaction to the music. According to Moser, when he started seeing how Wynonna resonated with the music and that she loved all the same stuff he did, it felt beyond perfect. On the other hand, Wynonna was busy being so prissy and worrying over posing and making sure that Moser was catching a really good look at her perfectly lined-up lips. She was just as infatuated with him as she had been since she was 20.
Then they began listening, playing, and writing music together. Their drive home was always a music festival with Moser playing the drums, doing the guitar and the guitar licks, and singing every part. And from there, their fondness for each other grew even more.
2011: “Will You Marry Me?”
After dating for two years, Cactus Moser finally decided to get on one knee and ask the question on Christmas Eve. Wynonna tweeted, “I AM ENGAGED!!!” after their announcement went public earlier that day. There was nothing definitely sweeter than a yes on Christmas!
Meet Cactus Moser: The Country Musician Who Earned Wynonna’s Sweet “Yes”
Wynonna Judd’s husband, Cactus Moser, was born on May 3, 1957, in Montrose, Colorado, USA. He founded the country/western band Highway 101 in 1986 and was the group’s drummer. He is also a vocalist, writer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and actor popular for his films ‘Back to School,’ ‘Union Bound,’ and ‘Cassidy Way.’ According to records, Cactus Moser’s first wife is Wynonna Judd, but he has children from previous relationships – a daughter named Sunshine and two sons named Cahl and Wyatt.
He is a three-time Modern Drummer readers poll winner, a four-time CMA winner, and a three-time Grammy Award nominee. He is currently the musical director, producer, and drummer for Wynonna and the Big Noise.
2012: “I Do”
So who is Wynonna Judd married to? Did she and Cactus Moser end up together?
Yes, they did! The couple exchanged their vows on June 10 – the weekend between midweek concert dates of their band Wynonna and the Big Noise in Anderson, Indiana, and Webster, Massachusetts – in a lakeside gazebo in Wynonna’s expansive Leipers Fork farm in Tennessee.
In an interview with Us Weekly, Wynonna shared that she felt a joy that hasn’t been there before. She wore white and went shoeless, while Moser sported a tux with a vest, pocket watch, and holster. It was an intimate sunset ceremony, and present as the only witnesses were their five children from their previous relationships. According to Wynonna, she didn’t want their wedding to be about anyone but them and their children.
2012: The Brush with Death
It was a perfect day in August when the couple decided to ride their Harleys along US Route 16 with friends before they set out for their gig in Deadwood, South Dakota. Wynonna could remember the wind in her hair as she breezed on the road, riding 10 feet behind her then-newlywed husband. And then all of a sudden, she heard a tornado-like sound, and her nose was hit with the smell of two vehicles colliding. She went past him, and she had no idea if her husband was dead or alive.
As it turned out, Moser crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming car.
Wynonna then dropped her bike and ran back to Moser. She kept telling herself to be calm, and when she realized that he was still breathing (the most beautiful sound on earth, she said), she noticed that his leg was gone, and the remnants of it were all over the highway. Moser was quickly transported to a hospital, where his left leg was amputated.
To help Moser with the recovery process, Wynonna dropped everything she had going and became her husband’s nurse, cook, and driver. There were times that they felt real-down-in-the-trenches helpless at times, but they ultimately survived the devastating tragedy. And they emerged stronger than ever before, but the couple admitted that despite being almost bulletproof, they still have their dark days. But they get through knowing and accepting the fact that they live in two different realities and learning to respect that they each have their own pain.
And now, more than a decade later, they are going even stronger. And still very much in love.
Where are they now?
Wynonna Judd will be on stage on a string of dates for The Judds: The Final Tour. It will kick off on September 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and will wrap up on October 29 in Lexington, Kentucky. On January 2o23, she will be off to Mexico to party with Brandi Carlile‘s Girls Just Wanna Weekend. And we might see more of her in the years to come so stay tuned for the updates. As for Cactus Moser, there is no news yet on whether he’ll be joining his wife on stage yet again. But he is still definitely very active in the music industry as a record producer.
Cactus Moser, Wynonna Judd