Country legend George Strait has been widely loved and respected throughout his career, but there's a side to him that most people don't know -- one influenced greatly by his faith, his devotion to his wife and the loss of his daughter.
Strait's career kicked off when he signed to MCA Records in 1981. The next year, his single "Fool Hearted Memory" landed at No. 1 on the country music charts. In 1986, though, tragedy struck Strait and his wife, Norma, when their daughter Jenifer died in a car crash.
The death of their daughter devastated the parents, and it took Strait 21 years to sing about the experience. The song, "You'll Be There," appeared on his 2005 album "Somewhere Down in Texas."
"That song hit home for me for obvious reasons. I'm a religious person. I honestly believe we will see each other in heaven someday. I wanted to do the song badly. The writer, Cory Mayo, held that song out because he knew I wanted to do it, and he waited until I had the chance. It was kind of him to do that," he told USA Weekend in 2007.
Strait grew up in a religious household, and his faith has been central to his life ever since childhood. He spoke of his religious upbringing in a recent interview.
"My dad, of course, raised my brother and me on his own, and he raised us in a real religious atmosphere," he said. "We're all Baptists, and he always told me that the Lord would tell me what he wanted me to do with my life; and I kind of believe that's really true. So I didn't worry about it much, didn't think about it that much."
Strait and his wife have been married for 45 years, and Strait says that they're still as in love as ever.
"We love each other, and we still like each other. We're so blessed that we were able to experience this life together, to support each other through everything, good times and bad," he told The Boot, FaithTap reported.
"Think of losing your arm, your leg, your eyesight, any and all of those things can't compare to losing your child. The loss is heart wrenching, gut wrenching, mentally and totally you wish you could have taken their place. You live on, and they miss so much . I am grateful George Strait could pour his heart, and all he is into his music. Honored man," one Shared reader commented on the site's Facebook page in response to Strait's story.
"He's the wonderful man I always knew he was. The fact that he puts the Lord first will always bring him blessings,not only in his work but always in his marriage," another added.
"Never knew he had such heartaches. We all agree, a glorious day when we meet again," another added.