In Perfect Harmony: Vince Gill & Amy Grant
At Home Together
Vince Gill is strumming his guitar in a rocking chair on the back patio of his Nashville home with his wife, Amy Grant, smiling and lolling on the porch swing next to him. And despite the fact that they're there for our photo shoot and the limestone patio is filled with people, they are in their own happy bubble. It's like watching a love song play out in front of your eyes.
"She's really easy to love," Gill, 49, said earlier that day, in his soft Oklahoma-by-way-of-Tennessee twang. "I got lucky. Real lucky." We're now sitting in a warm den-like room on the side of their five-room brick Georgian house. Every surface is covered with awards -- Grammys, Country Music Awards, ones I'm guessing are golf trophies, Gill's other passion. It reminds me that in addition to his 17 Grammys, Vince Gill has won more CMA awards than anyone else, ever. When I admire the room, where Gill spent the last year or so working on his four-disc, 43-song collection of new music, These Days, he chuckles and says he's about to gut and redo whole thing.
"We just keep tweaking and tweaking," he says. "I like messing with stuff more than Amy does. We start cuddling up in a room and she sees me start to look around and just says, 'Don't, don't start. What are you going to change now?'"
Grant, joining the conversation, readily agrees. "I hate change. He'll come in after staying at some hotel with a bed he thought was comfortable or with chairs he thought were great and look around and go, 'What do you think if we...?' I go, 'Stop!' Sometimes I get grumpy about it, because I don't want anything to change."
It's perfectly understandable; she has already had enough change for a lifetime. In 2000 her world turned upside down when she, the Queen of Christian Pop, and he, the King of Country, got married, leaving behind first spouses and their fans' mountain of expectations. Together they went about quietly creating a new home for their new blended family.
"When we came into this marriage, we hoped that there would be times that everybody would be together," Grant says. "Vince had Jenny, who was 17 then, and I had three kids, Matt, Millie, and Sarah, who were then 7, 10, and 12. And we knew we wanted to have a child together. This sprawling house was what we needed. And even here, Corrina, our baby, slept in our closet for her first 18 months. When Jenny went to college and Corrina, who's now 5, finally got a room, it was a big thing -- she's finally coming out!"
"The beautiful thing is that Corrina gave us all something in common," Gill says. "A blended family can be awkward. Amy's kids' father is very much a part of their lives. I told Amy, when we first got together, 'They'll see for themselves, in their own time, who I am and how I treat you.' And time has been a great healer for everybody."
"There was a time when our life was in upheaval, which is hard for any child, and then it settled again," Grant, now 46, adds. "If you break a bone, and it's reset properly, it's actually stronger. I wouldn't wish anybody a broken bone, but if you use the situation to your advantage, you can have a lot of honest conversations about what you've learned. Our children don't look at their parents as being perfect."
Their home seems almost perfect, though, in a wonderfully relaxed sort of way. As we sit down for a long chat, their friends and children and two dogs roam in and out of rooms -- just normal family life in this big brick house with gloriously flowering gardens and lots of comfy spots to relax, inside and out.