This love story might not be as great as Johnny Cash and June Carter’s love story, but it is as wonderful as any love story can be. Patty Loveless and her husband Emory Gordy Jr. met in an elevator at MCA Records, but at that time, it was not love at first sight.
“… He had on some white overalls and I thought, ‘THIS guy is a producer?’” Loveless recalls. She thought Gordy Jr. looked more like a painter … and he wasn’t necessarily struck by Loveless either, thinking, “This mousy little thing is an artist?”
Nevertheless, Loveless and Gordy Jr. began to date secretly and he proposed in 1987. However, it didn’t go exactly the way he’d planned.
“He wanted to take me shopping. So afterward, we went out to eat, and he was looking at me, and from what I hear, he was practicing what he was going to say to me,” Loveless says. “But, he was looking at me and said, ‘Look. I’ve got something to tell you. And I really want to tell you this. I think in love with you, I think I’m falling in love with you.’
“And the only thing I could come back and say to him was ‘I’m flattered!’” Loveless adds with a laugh.
Loveless and Gordy Jr. ran away and got married on Feb. 6, 1989, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., but unlike most newlyweds, they didn’t tell anyone that they were married … for a year and a half! The lovebirds wanted to show others that Loveless could stand on her own two feet and wasn’t relying on her new husband to make it big — but Loveless recalls that secretive time as very trying.
“It was so difficult for me. Especially with him — our musician friends would say … ‘We heard that you guys …,’ and we’d go, ‘Oh, nah, nu-uh, no …,’” Loveless remembers. “It was so difficult! But we wanted people out there to know that I was standing on my own.”
The couple moved to the Georgia countryside to be closer to Gordy Jr.’s family in 2001. Their home is on 170 acres in such a remote area that cell phone reception is hard to come by — and Loveless often hikes with a gun in hand due to bears and coyotes.
“I had to say goodbye to 20 years in Nashville,” Loveless said. “Goodbyes are hard, but life is about changes.”
Gordy Jr. is the sole producer of Loveless’ records, and Loveless maintains that he does a good job of knowing when to treat her like his wife — and when to treat her like an artist.
“We’d come home, and I’d fix dinner, and then I would try to bring up a conversation on what was going on with the label that day, with management, whatever. He’d say, ‘Excuse me, my office is closed.’ And I’d look at him and go, ‘Oh, okay, got it,’” Loveless explains. “But that’s us. It’s the same for me: If he goes on and on [about] something, I’m going, ‘Honey, my office is closed, sorry.’”