Skip to main content

After country music star Tammy Wynette‘s untimely death, her daughters sued her doctor. They also named her last husband in that suit, alleging both individuals might have contributed to their mother’s deadly deterioration.

What peculiar circumstances led Wynette’s daughters to believe those close to her played a part in her death? And what outcome came from their $50 million lawsuit? Read on to learn more.

Tammy Wynette is pictured on her bus in 1971. Tammy Wynette's daughters sued for $50 million following her death.
Tammy Wynette | Al Clayton/Getty Images

An overview of Tammy Wynette’s 5 husbands and 4 daughters

Born Virginia Wynette Pugh in Mississippi in 1942, Wynette married for the first time when she was 18. They eventually had three daughters, but her first union fell apart. She married again to a musician and ultimately took her stage name, Tammy Wynette.

After her country music career blossomed, she met George Jones. They were both married upon their first encounter, but he eventually professed his love to her. And the adoring feeling was mutual. She left her second husband, who reportedly took and sold nude photos of her without her consent (per Biography).

So, Jones became Wynette’s third husband, and they had one daughter. Their marriage is one of the most famous in country music. But their bond didn’t survive Jones’ notorious drinking habit — also one of the most famous in country music.

Jones later confessed to some questionable antics but denied one of Wynette’s more damning accusations from their relationship. She claimed in her autobiography that he once drunkenly chased her around their home with a loaded shotgun, which he asserted was untrue.

After their divorce, Wynette dated Burt Reynolds and eventually married a fourth time, again briefly. But her fifth husband, George Richey, was her last. They married in 1978 and remained married until her death 20 years later.

Tammy Wynette’s daughters sued for $50 million after she died at home

Wynette died in her home in 1998, and no time of death was established because no autopsy was performed then (per MTV). Richey was home with her, and other people came and went in the hours after. Her physician chartered a plane to determine her cause of death was a blood clot based on her presentation and history.

In a memoir titled Tammy Wynette: A Daughter Recalls Her Mother’s Tragic Life and Death, Wynette’s daughter, Jackie Daly, claimed that the National Enquirer was alerted to the news before proper authorities.

Wynette’s four daughters later alleged that she was on a dangerous regimen of pain medications due to medical ailments through the years. According to them, she required a permanent catheter placement because of the poor state of her veins from years of receiving injections.

A year after Wynette’s death, her daughters filed a $50 million lawsuit against her doctor. They also named Richey as a person who played a part in the singer’s deteriorated condition (per MTV). They alleged that both individuals contributed to the death of the “Stand By Your Man” singer by maintaining her addiction.

Notably, they separately accused Richey of abusing Wynette. According to them, an assault at his hands led to a news story in the ’70s about a violent kidnapping. Some people even blamed that alleged abduction on Jones.

The crime against the country star puzzled investigators and went unsolved. And according to her daughters, the story was made up to cover domestic violence at the hands of Richey, whom she’d recently married then.


Tammy Wynette’s Last Husband Was Removed From Her Crypt

Tammy Wynette’s daughters sued her doctor but dropped her last husband from their lawsuit before settling

Wynette’s daughters eventually dropped Richey from the suit when he agreed to an exhumation to answer some lingering questions. After that, they succeeded in coming to an undisclosed settlement with the physician, whom they claimed grievously mismanaged their mother’s ailments (per Billboard).

But the disagreements in Wynette’s family didn’t end there. After Richey’s family changed the marker on Wynette’s crypt to read her married name instead of her stage name, her daughters fought to have it changed back.

Richey died in 2010 and was initially interred in Wynette’s crypt. However, his remaining family chose to have his body moved. The marker again reads Tammy Wynette, a name Reba McEntire once argued set the standard for heartbreak in country music.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.