Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires were one of country music’s biggest power couples before they ended their decade-long marriage in February 2024.
Isbell saw Shires play for the first time in 2003 and met her at one of her gigs the following year. The two shared a meet-cute as Isbell sat front-row to watch her perform with a group called the Thrift Store Cowboys. “Now in hindsight, that seems really creepy, I would never do that,” Isbell joked to Rolling Stone in October 2018.
Shires, for her part, asked Isbell to sign a Polaroid picture, which Isbell told the outlet they kept in their home bathroom.
Continuing to keep in touch, the pair began dating in 2011 and tied the knot in 2013. They expanded their family with the birth of their daughter, Mercy, in 2015.
Over the years, Shires shared the stage with Isbell as a part of his band, The 400 Unit, in addition to releasing her own solo projects. The group took home their second Grammy for Best Americana Album for Weathervanes days before news of the couple’s split broke.
Us Weekly confirmed in February 2024 that Isbell filed for divorce from Shires two months shy of their 11th wedding anniversary.
Keep scrolling to see Isbell and Shires’ relationship timeline:
Shires told Rolling Stone in October 2018 that she had not heard of Isbell or his former band, Drive-By Truckers, at the time they met. “I had two friends at that show, and one of my friends said, ‘That’s Jason Isbell of the Drive-By Truckers band. He’s famous.’ I was like, ‘Cool,’” she told the outlet.
Isbell, for his part, was unaware that Shires’ friend had hyped him up, stating, “I was not that famous. But at the Caledonia Lounge in (2005), I guess I was.”
The same year she and Isbell began dating, Shires appeared on her first album with The 400 Unit, Here We Rest.
After spending a few weeks on the road performing, Isbell returned home to surprise Shires by popping the question. “Happiest day of my life. @amandashires said yes!” Isbell tweeted at the time.
The couple said “I do” after around two years of dating.
Shires recalled helping Isbell quit drinking and enter rehab in the early days of their relationship. “The last night before, because I think he knew he was going to go to rehab, he wanted to do every drug, drink every thing, drink the moonshine, all the late-night stuff, it was crazy,” she explained in a interview with WNYC Studios. “It started out like a cool night, you know, and ended up being the worst night ever, ever ever ever. At that point I was not having any more to do with him. Because I was so mad the next morning.”
Isbell noted that he got sober “right before” he and Shires decided to move in together, stating that he knew their relationship was “in jeopardy” prior to him entering rehab.
“So as nervous as I was, and as scared as I was that she might not be there when I got out, I still was looking for a way to make it work out,” he added. “And focusing a lot of energy on that. And some part of me thought it would be alright. But I didn’t know for sure.”
Isbell and Shires welcomed their first and only child together, daughter Mercy. “So happy and grateful to have Mercy Rose Isbell in the world. 📷,” Shires captioned a photo of her then-newborn daughter via X.
Isbell opened up about how he and Shires balance parenthood with their music careers. “As a team, our family is a collaborative effort, and we really want to get the best out of everybody,” he told NPR. “I don’t want to do something that’s gonna prevent Amanda from doing what she’s best at, because as long as we use our strengths, the team is gonna get stronger and the family’s gonna get stronger. If I were to say, ‘I would rather you stay home and watch the baby while I’m out touring,’ that wouldn’t be allowing her to do what she’s best at.”
Isbell detailed his and Shires’ marital struggles in an interview with The New York Times. “At one point, I said, ‘It’d be easier if somebody had cheated.’ Then we could say, ‘You did this,’ or ‘I did this,’ and ‘Somebody needs to be real sorry,’” he shared. “But it was more like, ‘We don’t know each other right now. We’re not able to speak the same language.’” The two eventually overcame a rough patch after Shires spent alone time at a hotel for 10 days.
That same month, Isbell shared a sweet photo of Shires picking flowers with their daughter in honor of Mother’s Day. “Happy Mother’s Day, @amandapearlshires. We’re so lucky,” he captioned the Instagram pic.
Shires was inspired by her and Isbell’s relationship struggles while writing her seventh studio album, Take It Like a Man. “All of us have had turmoil within our respective marriages, and it was definitely coming from a place of vulnerability,” she told Nashville Scene. “In one word, that’s how I would describe how I picked every song for the record. You have the choice to be vulnerable or not. However you handle yourself, it’s all about choice.”
Isbell praised Shires’ latest work via Instagram at the time, writing, “My brilliant wife @amandapearlshires has made a truly great piece of work with her new album ‘Take It Like A Man.’ I’m proud to have helped out and grateful to be part of her creative life. It’s out today! Rejoice and listen!”
The former couple’s relationship ups and downs was one of the main focuses of the HBO documentary Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed, which followed the making of Isbell and the 400 Unit’s 2020 album Reunions.
“Happy ten years, @amandapearlshires. Every day I wake up and fall in love with you again,” Isbell captioned a slideshow of Instagram pics in celebration of his and Shires’ relationship milestone.
Shires celebrated the anniversary with her own Instagram post, writing, “Cheers to all of the laughing, talking, laughing, traveling, dancing, laughing, growing, laughing, learning, laughing, loving and making music, a family and a life together. I love you very much.”
Us confirmed that Isbell filed a petition for divorce in Tennessee in December 2023. The split news came the same month the duo were set to celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary.
#Jason #Isbell #Amanda #Shires #Relationship #Timeline