Who was Loretta Lynn's husband? Inside a 50-year marriage marked by cheating, fighting and love

'He broke my heart lots of time but that woulda broke the kids’ hearts, wouldn’t it?' Loretta Lynn once said in an interview

Who was Loretta Lynn's husband? Inside a 50-year marriage marked by cheating, fighting and love
Country music legend Loretta Lynn was married to Oliver Vanetta Lynn Jr for 50 years and raised six children together (Erika Goldring/WireImage, Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: One of the most celebrated and defining voices in country music, Loretta Lynn died on Tuesday, October 4. The legend lived a rich life, which was full of highs and lows. Among them, Lynn’s commitment to make her marriage work ‘no matter what’ won her many admirers. She was married to Oliver Vanetta Lynn, Jr, for 50 years and raised six children together. 

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Lynn's family stated, “Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills." Being a mother-of-four when she started her career, Lynn acquired the reputation of being "fiercely tough". Her writings about sex and love, unfaithful husbands, divorce, and birth control frequently infuriated radio broadcasters.

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(Michael Ochs Archives, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
Loretta Lynn earned recognition by creating her first single, ‘I’m a Honky Tonk Girl’, during the early 1960s. (Michael Ochs Archives, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

 

Who was Oliver Vanetta Lynn Jr?

Oliver Vanetta Lynn Jr was born on August 27, 1926, in Butcher Hollow, a coal-mining town in Kentucky and went on to serve the country during World War II. Nicknamed ‘Mooney’, he was of Irish descent and later became instrumental in Loretta Lynn’s success in country music by turning himself into a talent manager. 

The loving husband mustered a $17 Harmony, Loretta’s first guitar, and that was the beginning of her memorable career. She earned recognition by creating her first single, ‘I’m a Honky Tonk Girl’, during the early 1960s, and since then Oliver had always been on her side as she traveled across the country and globe. He played his professional role with great enthusiasm and commitment, and Loretta’s first performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville had been a hit largely because of him.

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However, we can’t say the same for their marriage as it was full of booze, cheating, and abuse, as later revealed by the 'You Ain’t Woman Enough' singer. It was later found that while Loretta was on road performing live across the nation, Oliver used to invite several women into their home in her absence. He was always physically abusive as he drank a lot and was hardly sober.

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'I had to think of my kids'

Nothing stopped her though, she knew how to take a stand for herself and their children, and responsed in the same manner. “Doo was a good man and a hard worker. But he was an alcoholic and it affected our marriage all the way through,” she revealed in her autobiography 'Still Woman Enough'. She wrote in 2002, “He was also a womanizer. Cheating husbands have been all over the news talk shows for a few years now. Lots of women say they don’t understand why women stay with the dogs. My story is about one who did—me.”

In an interview to CBS News, Loretta had said, “He never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice. I had to think of my kids. I can’t be that selfish,” she said. “He broke my heart lots of time but that woulda broke the kids’ hearts, wouldn’t it?”

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