George Strait Almost Lost out on the Chance to Date His Wife: ‘I’m Missing the Boat’

Though country star George Strait has been married to his wife, Norma, for more than 50 years, he said there was once a time he almost let her slip away. When did he realize he was “missing the boat” by not seeing her? Plus, how long has the famous country couple been together now and how many kids do they have?

George Strait in a cowboy hat and his wife Norma smile for a picture during the 2007 Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony
Norma and George Strait | Ed Rode/WireImage

George Strait married his wife, Norma, in 1971

As reported by CMT, George and Norma Strait celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2021. He marked the date during a show in Las Vegas, shouting out to Norma who was watching from a box seat.

“So I was 19 years old,” Strait shared of the beginning of their relationship. “And I knew this girl, Norma. She was 17, really hot. So we fell in love.”

“We went to Mexico and eloped … 50 years ago today,” he shared before serenading his sweetheart with “I Cross My Heart,” a song he recorded in 1992. And as a fun side note, that tune was also featured in Pure Country, a film in which Strait starred alongside Kyle Chandler.

Based on such a sweet display, some fans might be surprised to hear Strait almost missed his chance with Norma before their romance started. But he revealed they stopped seeing each other for a while after their first date.

George Strait felt like he was ‘missing the boat’ without his wife, Norma

According to Strait, things could have turned out differently for him and Norma if he hadn’t realized what a mistake he was making. But he said he “never really even thought anything about her” until he asked her out one day.

“We knew each other forever, growing up in a small [Texas] town,” he shared, as reported by Taste of Country. “… One day I asked her out and we went on a date. We didn’t see each other for a long time after that,” he explained. “Then one day, I thought, ‘I’m missing the boat here,’ and we started dating again.”

Fortunately, he caught that boat in time. As he mentioned during his Vegas show, they were married in Mexico on Dec. 5, 1971. But they also had a hometown church wedding to satisfy their parents a few weeks later. Following the couple’s marriage, Strait enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1971 and was eventually stationed in Hawaii. After Norma joined him there, they had their first child, Jenifer, in 1972.

Strait started his music career performing with an Army band. After he left the military in 1975, he posted an ad for a country singer looking for a band (per People.)The couple’s son, George Strait Jr, was born in 1981 — the same year the iconic country star released his first album, Strait Country.

George Strait and his wife, Norma, mourned the death of their 13-year-old daughter in 1986

Though Strait and his wife have one of the most famous romances in country music, they have also suffered one of life’s greatest tragedies — the death of a child. In 1986, when Jenifer was 13, she died in a car accident near her family’s home while out with friends.

Through the years, the Strait family has remained private about their loss. However, the country star mentioned it to People in 2012, simply stating, “We were blessed to have been able to spend 13 years with our beautiful daughter, Jenifer.”

Strait also mentioned he and Norma received the “biggest blessing” of that year in the form of a grandson, George Harvey Strait III — their first grandchild. Strait gushed. “He’s so special, you just have no idea until it happens.”

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