b. Virginia Wynette Pugh, 5 May 1942, Itawamba County, near Tupelo, Mississippi, USA, d. 6 April 1998, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Wynette is primarily known for two songs, ‘Stand By Your Man’ and ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E.’, but her huge catalogue includes 20 US country number 1 hits, mostly about standing by your man or getting divorced. After her father died when she was 10 months old, she was raised by her mother and grandparents and picked cotton from an early age. When aged 17, she married construction worker Euple Byrd, and trained as a hairdresser. She subsequently made an album with their third child, Tina - George, Tammy And Tina - in 1975. Byrd did not share her ambition of being a country singer, so she left and moved to Nashville. She impressed producer Billy Sherrill and had her first success in 1966 with a Johnny Paycheck song, ‘Apartment No. 9’. She almost topped the US country charts with ‘I Don’t Want To Play House’, in which a child shuns his friends’ game because he senses his parents’ unhappiness. It was the template for numerous songs, including ‘Bedtime Story’, in which Wynette attempts to explain divorce to a three-year-old, and ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E.’ in which she does not.
From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.