Kenny Chesney has undeniably built one of the most successful country music careers of his time. The four-time Entertainer of the Year country singer-songwriter has produced over 40 Top 10 singles with 32 chart-topping hits since his 1993 debut. Not to mention that he is also one of the most popular touring acts with sold-out live performance venues.
The East Tennessee native has definitely cemented his position in an ever-changing genre. So if you haven’t heard any Kenny Chesney songs, this is the time. And if you want to get to know more about him – from his early life to his career and answers to rumors about him, then read on.
Early Life: Kenny Chesney and his guitar
Kenny Chesney was born on March 26, 1968 at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee to parents David Chesney and Karen Chandler. His father, David, was a former elementary teacher, while his mother, Karen, worked as a hairstylist. He has one sibling, a younger sister named Jennifer. Chesney grew up in the small city of Luttrell.
He attended Gibbs High School, where he played baseball and football with dreams of being a star athlete. However, when he graduated in 1986, he received his first-ever guitar from his mother, which he named “The Terminor.” He then started to teach himself how to play it and also began to compose songs.
After high school, he enrolled in East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where he studied advertising. He was also a member of the ETSU Bluegrass Program and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Then around 1987, he started performing in a small club near the campus where he gets paid $5 per hour. Two years later, he recorded a self-released demo album that sold over a thousand copies and helped him buy himself a new guitar.
He graduated from university in 1990, then Chesney headed to Nashville where he performed at several local clubs like ‘The Bluebird Cafe’ and the honky-tonk bar ‘The Turf’ in which he became a resident performer.
The Love Story Behind the Limelight: Meet Chesney’s longtime girlfriend, Mary Nolan
While Chesney enjoyed decades of career success, his love life did not exactly have the same turnout. Nevertheless, he seems to be very happy now with his girlfriend Mary Nolan, who he has been dating since 2012.
But before Nolan, Chesney had already been married after a whirlwind romance with actress Renée Zellweger. The couple first met in January 2005 in NBC’s Concert of Hope, a tsunami aid telethon. After that, they began to go out and publicly announced their relationship after five months at one of Chesney’s concerts in Jacksonville, Florida. Renée went on stage, much to the audience’s surprise, and personally delivered a margarita and a kiss to Kenny!
And just a week later, the couple got married in an intimate ceremony in St. John, which surprised fans even more. According to friends and guests, Renée waited for the right one to come into her life, and when she met Kenny, she knew it. And as for Kenny, Renée was just perfect for him.
But as fast as they both fell in love with each other, so was falling out of it. On September 15, 2005, just four months after they got married, they announced that they were annulling their marriage. The cancellation was finalized in December 2005.
Two years later, Kenny started dating Mary Nolan behind the limelight, and the couple kept their relationship very private. There was very little known about Nolan, and she was only seen in public with Chesney twice. The first one was in the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards in Nashville. And the second was in 2016 during the CMA Awards, where Chesney won the prestigious Pinnacle Award. The couple is still going strong until now, after almost a decade together.
Debunking the Rumor: Is Kenny Chesney gay?
No, Kenny Chesney is not gay.
Rumors about Kenny Chesney’s sexuality sparked after his shocking split with actress Renée Zellweger just after four months of marriage. People especially speculated with the ‘fraud’ reason for their annulment. But two years later, in a sit-down interview with Anderson Cooper, Chesney denied the rumors and explained that he chose to speak out later since he didn’t want to draw more attention to it.
They just chose to check the ‘fraud’ box as it was the least harmful out of all the reasons. Renée also clarified in 2016 that it was just simply a legal language and was not a reflection of Kenny’s character.
Career: Breakthrough Albums and Premium Rum Brand
It was in 1992 when Chesney was spotted by Clay Bradley of Broadcast Music, who then referred him to Troy Tomlinson of Opryland Music Group. His audition with Tomlinson was so impressive that it opened up a career in country music. He left the audition with a songwriter’s contract in hand.
But it was in 1995 with BNA Records that really launched his career to stardom. He released his second studio album, “All I Need To Know,” which went gold. His follow-up albums “Me and You” and “I Will Stand” both went platinum, while his 1999 album “Everywhere We Go” was certified double platinum.
By 2000, Kenny Chesney had already established his name in the industry, with legions of country music fans following him. In his 27-year long career, he released more than 20 albums with chart-topping hits. He also earned numerous awards.
But aside from being a musician, he is also an entrepreneur. He has his hundred-percent owned premium rum brand, Blue Chair Bay Rum, which boasts authentic Caribbean rum blended with natural ingredients like coconut, banana, and pineapple. Chesney worked hands-on with one of the world’s biggest rum blenders Mike Booth and master mixologist Jonathan Pogash to create rum bottles infused with flavors you’d enjoy by the beach. He launched the brand in 2013.
And just this summer, the brand teamed up with Tipsy Scoop to create four rum-infused ice cream flavors, which include Dirty Banana, Mango Daiquiri, Piña Colada, and Spiked Key Lime Pie. You can check out these flavors on their website, along with their classic flavors that you can enjoy anytime.
Living His Life: 2021 Net Worth, Earnings, and Updates
It’s undeniable that his success in the industry is by no means ending just yet, and even his net worth shows how much he has amassed over the years. While multiple sources report different net worth estimates, Kenny Chesney is way over the $150 million line in 2021, and some even say that he is already worth around $250 million. But one thing is for sure; he is earning more and more – an average of $50 million – every year.
As a self-proclaimed workaholic, Kenny Chesney is out in 2021 touring again. He just kicked off his “Chillaxification Tour” with Florida Georgia Line, Old Dominion, Michael Franti, and Spearhead in Tampa, Florida last May 1. The tour will have 23 stops before its final show on August 28, set in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
You can catch Kenny Chesney’s touring schedule (and get tickets) and other important music updates on his official website.