Alan Jackson’s wife, Denise Jackson, is the living proof of the famous line, “behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.”
Long before Alan Jackson became one of the industry’s biggest stars we know today or before he even started his career at all, Denise was that one particular person by his side. In fact, she is more than that. She’s actually the one responsible for kickstarting Alan’s career.
Denise Jackson used to work as a flight attendant in her early years. One lucky day, she ran into country singer Glen Campbell in the Atlanta airport. She approached him and told him about Alan’s dream, about how he wanted to get into the country music business. Denise successfully caught Glen’s attention.
He gave Denise his music publishing contact, Marty Gamblin. Two weeks after that, Alan Jackson was already in Marty’s office, and Marty agreed to be Alan’s manager. Alan and Denise Jackson packed their belongings right away and moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
Denise’s Tough Times in Nashville
The first few months were tough for Denise and Alan Jackson.
“Alan and I both knew that Nashville wouldn’t exactly welcome us with open arms and a key to the city, but still, our early days there were pretty depressing,” Denise recalled.
“We stayed in that dank little apartment for two months, which was exactly two months too long. Drug deals were going down in the hallways; strange men came and went at all hours of the night. I wasn’t comfortable going to the laundry room if Alan wasn’t home. There was a fire in one of the apartments, and then a domestic shooting in another.”
Paying gigs for Alan Jackson hardly paid their expenses. Things were just plain tough for the couple. “I remember paying our bills only to discover that there was nothing left, except two more weeks before the next paycheck would come,” Denise said.
Meanwhile, Alan Jackson continued writing songs for Glen’s production company while Denise continued her job as a flight attendant. They gave themselves five years to make it in Nashville. “If things didn’t work out, then we really would go back home. Life there would be different from our big dreams, but it would still be good,” Denise admitted.
But luck was definitely on the couple’s side. Soon enough, Alan’s music gained popularity, and he started traveling the country, lavished with attention.
As Alan’s career began to gain traction, the couple happily welcomed their first daughter, Mattie, in 1990, daughters Ali and Dani followed in 1993 and 1997.
However, after their third daughter was born, Alan told Denise he wasn’t happy with their marriage anymore. After Christmas that year and being married for almost 18 years, the couple separated.
Denise and Alan’s Four-Month Separation That Made Them Even Stronger
Denise Jackson was devasted that the man she married at 19 told her he was moving out of the 19,000 square-foot dream house they had just built for themselves in Tennessee, most especially that they have three young daughters.
Alan Jackson also admitted that he had been unfaithful.
“Over the years, he had become my foundation,” Denise said. “So when he left, there was nothing left for me to depend on.”
But one day, Alan Jackson stopped by the house. Though he didn’t say a word during his visit, he called Denise the next day and asked her for a date that weekend.
After four months of separation and couples therapy, the couple reconciled. Alan Jackson moved back into their home. They had to rebuild trust, and Denise had to learn to forgive.
“For each of us, the struggle will be individual,” Denise said. “But what I found in the long run, was that forgiveness was the key to real freedom in my life.
The couple renewed their vows during their wedding anniversary in December of 1998 and remained to have an unbreakable bond and unwavering love for one another.
“We learned that if a relationship’s going to be good, you have to make it a priority,” says Denise.
Denise Appeared In One of Alan’s Music Video
In 2004, Denise Jackson appeared in Alan’s music video for his hit song, “Remember When.” During the instrumental break in the music, the couple can be seen slow dancing and sharing a kiss while images of them were playing over the screens in the background.
The song was written by Alan Jackson himself as a reflection on his life with Denise. It described how their love has grown through the years and how they will look back on their relationship someday and say, “remember when?”
Denise Gave Alan the Surprise of His Life
While Alan and Denise Jackson were dating, the highschool sweethearts could be seen riding around in Alan’s white 1955 Thunderbird convertible. Alan took Denise out on their first date in that car, and it came to symbolize their relationship.
But when they needed to buy their first house, Alan Jackson had to sell his prized possession so that they could settle the downpayment.
Years later, when Alan’s music career began to take off, Denise tracked down that car and repurchased it for Alan. She knew how much he loved it and what a sacrifice it was for him to sell it.
“As the garage door comes up, he sees that it’s a ’55 Thunderbird,” Denise recalled in an interview. “And he says, ‘Oh, you bought me a car like mine!’ And I said, ‘No, actually Alan, that is YOUR car.’ The man broke down and cried.
Denise Is Tough Enough to Survive Cancer
In 2010, Alan Jackson’s spouse turned his life upside down with three words: “I have cancer.”
Denise Jackson was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
“When I found out it was squamous cell carcinoma, to say that it was the shock of my life is an understatement,” Denise said. “I eat a healthy diet. I exercise. I never dreamed that a doctor would tell me that I had cancer.
Denise had to go through 30 days of radiation and underwent two four-day rounds of chemotherapy. After two months of treatment, Denise was finally cancer-free.
She Is Stepping Out of Her Husband’s Shadow
Denise Jackson is stepping out of her husband’s shadow with her book “It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life,” she co-wrote with author Ellen Vaughn. It was released in 2007 and topped the New York Times bestseller list.
In it, Denise Jackson unfolds the ups and downs of what seems to be her fairytale marriage, including how she forgave her husband’s infidelities. Denise hopes her story will inspire others and help other couples struggling with the same situation.
In 2008, she released another book, “The Road Home,” which turned her into a highly sought after public speaker.
Today, Denise and Alan Jackson spend quieter moments, watching sunsets from their stone patio as they prove what’s meant to be, will be.