Charles Esten or more popularly known for his tortured, alcohol singer-songwriter alter-ego Deacon Claybourne on ABC’s TV show Nashville has always been the women’s man. His character’s dreamy rebel personality, five o’clock shadow, and his devotion to the long-lost love of his life, Rayna James, combined with his musical chops, it’s not that surprising that he has never run out of female attention.
But just like Deacon Claybourne, Charles Esten has eyes only for one woman – his college sweetheart and now wife of 30 years – Patty Hanson. Let’s look back through the chapters of their fairytale-like love story.
First Chapter: The Fateful Meeting
Deacon Claybourne may have a messy life, but Charles Esten has it definitely better. He has had a steady love life and family for thirty years now. And the best part? He ended up with his college sweetheart.
Patty Hanson came from a military family in Italy, and they moved around a lot. She was looking into entering university, and her priority pick was Duke in Durham, North Carolina, but she didn’t get accepted to Duke in time. In a later interview, Patty confessed that everyone else thought she was good enough. So when Duke said no to her, she didn’t give it too much of a thought and bid it goodbye. Then she ‘randomly‘ chose and attended the public research university William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
And that was where she first met Charles Esten.
The two actually knew each other before they actually met and got to know each other. Charles was in a band called N’est Pas at the time playing rhythm guitar, and they were so busy performing around town. On the other hand, Patty was in a long-term relationship. According to Bustle, they were attracted and intrigued, but the situation didn’t really work out for them.
But one fateful night changed everything for them.
Patty was in her junior year, and fresh from her breakup, she attended a campus fundraiser where N’est Pas played. Charles spotted her in the audience, called an audible, changed the song, and played Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet.” He sang the song to her, and soon enough, the two started dating (though Patty didn’t really believe at first that he was singing to her then).
Second Chapter: Biggest Fan Since 1991
Patty Hanson and Charles Esten Puskar (Charles uses Esten for his stage name) exchanged vows on November 2, 1991, at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Winter Park, Florida. And Patty Hanson finally became Patty Puskar.
In a 2015 interview with People, Charles said that he was his wife’s heartthrob before everyone else, and she has been his biggest fan since. That’s why whenever people would come over to him and tell him that they’re his biggest fan, he would nod, but deep inside, he knew that there will never be anyone bigger of a fan of him than his wife. And at the same time, Patty also knew that Charles is also her biggest fan.
According to the actor, what they have is the most real and most important thing in his life.
Third Chapter: From Two to Five
Patty first gave birth to a daughter, Taylor Puskar, who happened to be a follower of her father’s footsteps as a singer. Then came Chase, their only son, who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado Boulder is currently a research assistant at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamic Research. He is hoping to earn a master’s degree in aerospace engineering sciences. Last is Addie, a sporty girl who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was just two-and-a-half years old. Thankfully, with the amount of research done into her disease, doctors knew better how to fight it, and Addie stayed. And now, she is completely healthy.
The family used to live in Los Angeles, California, but most of Charles’ work is in Tennessee, so the couple had to split their time between the two states. But the Puskar family has since moved to Tennessee, so they’re getting the most out of every second together.
Charles Esten, Patty Hanson