Kenny Chesney is one of the most famous and successful country singers in the world. From hits such as “Don’t Blink” and “You Had Me From Hello” to 20 studio albums and sell-out tours worldwide, he has gained millions of fans worldwide and has become one of the most familiar faces popular genre.
But it’s not just his music and talent that has had the world talking all these years—it’s the whispers about the behind-the-scenes drama in this talented singer’s life, most notably around his romantic relationships.
Let’s take a look back at this singing superstar’s rise to fame and the secrets of his love life along the way.
A Star is Born
Kenny Chesney was born Kenneth Arnold Chesney on March 26, 1968, in Knoxville, Tennessee, to parents Karen Chandler and David Chesney. Karen was a hairstylist in the local area, and his father, David Chesney, worked as a teacher in the elementary school.
Together with his younger sister Jennifer, the young Chesney showed from an early age that he had an unusual talent and charisma—but no one could have predicted just how much of a star he would become.
You may think that someone as talented and successful as Kenny Chesney would have always shown a great appreciation and aptitude for music from a young age. But the truth is, even though the young Chesney was exhibiting star qualities, it wasn’t in music that these first came out.
In Chesney’s early years, he was a big sports fan, playing football and baseball in high school. It wasn’t until he was 18 years old that Chesney picked up a guitar for the first time—and it would change his life forever.
The College Years
Now that Kenny Chesney had finally found his true passion and talent in music, you might think that his career path would be clear and set out. But the truth was, even though he was so in love with music and writing songs, the young Chesney did not view it as a career choice.
Instead, he enrolled at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, studying for a degree in advertising. However, he kept playing and writing music throughout his studies, and by the time he graduated, he knew for sure that his destiny lay in the world of music.
Finding His Way
Finally, now that he was done with his college education, it was time for Kenny Chesney to pursue his music career in earnest. Being an independent spirit and free thinker, the ambitious young Chesney decided to release the album himself.
He promoted the album on his own, selling it at local clubs where he was performing.
The record sold around 1,000 copies—not quite platinum-level sales, but enough to make Chesney enough money to buy himself a new guitar.
Not only that, but it gave him his first taste of life as a musician—and he loved it.
As Chesney began to become somewhat of a local star in his area, Chesney knew that if he wanted to make it big in the music industry, he needed to live in a place where big things were happening. There was more of a scene around him—that way, he could increase his chances of being spotted by a possible talent scout from a record label.
So, in 1990 he upped his stakes and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, known worldwide as “Music City,” the epicenter of the country music scene—and his adventures were about to begin truly.
As Chesney settled into his new life in Nashville, he knew that he had to get himself noticed by playing as much live music as possible and making his mark on the industry scene.
As luck would have it, he landed a job at a rowdy downtown bar known as The Turf. Chesney began working there regularly as the resident performer for its partying customers.
The talented singer knew that this would be his ticket to stardom—but he had no idea of the journey ahead.
As Chesney had hoped, his regular performances at The Turf began to catch the attention of big names in the music biz. Eventually, he found himself on the receiving end of a pretty exciting phone call.
From BMI, Clay Bradley wanted to set up a meeting between Chesney and Troy Tomlinson, from Opryland.
Tomlinson immediately saw Chesney’s talent and potential and signed him up for a songwriting contract.
Chesney was finally on his way—but he was in for a bumpy ride before making it big.
A Great Sign
Sure enough, Chesney’s growing exposure was about to land him a deal that would make him a real-life singing star and change his life forever in a moment.
This moment came when he attended a songwriting showcase for Capricorn Records. This independent record label had recently expanded its remit into a country music division right there in Nashville.
Thanks to his incredible performance in the showcase, Capricorn signed him to their label—and Chesney was now an official recording artist.
Dreams Come True
Not long after signing to Capricorn Records, Chesney began creating an album of country music songs. The country superstar-to-be released his debut album in 1994, entitled My Wildest Dreams.
And the album certainly lived up to its name from his perspective—it sold 10,000 copies. Though not quite the mega sales he would one day enjoy, this was ten times the units he had shifted of his first offering!
It seemed that Chesney’s career was rising to greater and greater heights—but something was about to happen that would dash his dreams unexpectedly.
It seemed that Kenny Chesney was on top of the world. He had finally got himself signed to a record label and released his debut studio album, reaching a massive level of sales compared to his previous record.
It looked like things were only on the up for the budding star until he received some news that would rock his world—and spell doom for his career. In 1994, not long after his album release, his record label Capricorn announced that they were shutting down their country music division.
It looked like Chesney was back to square one—a jobbing musician looking for a record deal.
However, Chesney was not back to square one. Sure, he no longer had representation and was looking for a new record deal, but he had something very different this time around—a debut studio album with about 10,000 sales.
Because of this, Chesney was better armed to find himself a new record deal. And eventually, he did sign with a label—one even bigger than the previous one.
Chesney’s new deal was with BNA, the country music subsidiary of none other than Sony.
Now that he was signed to a major record label, Chesney knew that he had the means and exposure available to him to hit the big time. All he needed now was a record to live up to the confidence that had been invested in him—and to see that confidence reflected in sales.
Sure enough, in 1995, Chesney released All I Need to Know. Would it live up to the expectations of his brand new record label?
It certainly did, with three of its singles hitting the Billboard Top 40. Chesney was well and truly on his way.
The Big Time
With the success of All I Need to Know, Chesney had proved to both his record label and the world that he was a force to be reckoned with when it came to country music.
So it was no surprise that his next two albums would go on to become even bigger hits and firmly cement his position as a bona fide star.
His 1996 album Me and You hit the country top ten and was certified gold, and in 1997, he released I Will Stand. This saw Chesney receive his first number-one single with the song “She’s Got it All.”
With these two albums’ success, Chesney had cemented himself as a bona fide star in the world of country music.
He followed these up with his next album No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems, which again went straight to the top of the country charts—as did the leading single from the album, “The Good Stuff.”
This single-focused on the story of a man arguing with his wife and eventually realizing how much he loves her despite this.
The song’s lyrics resonated with Chesney’s fans in a new way—and spoke to a hidden desire in the singing star’s personal life.
By this time, Chesney had established himself as one of the biggest stars in country music. But next, he would reach star status as a pop star across all genres, and even non-country music fans were about to see and appreciate his talents.
In 2004, he released the album When the Sun Goes Down, which hit the no. 1 spot on the Billboard charts—and not just the country charts, but the overall cross-genre charts!
His single “There Goes My Life” also reached number one in the country charts, staying there for a whopping seven weeks.
Chesney was on top of the world—but he didn’t see the disaster that was coming next.
In 2007, Chesney appeared in South Carolina on his Poets and Pirates tour. He made a dramatic entrance onto the stage, being lifted out through a lift—but things suddenly took an even more surprising and severe turn.
The lift malfunctioned as Chesney was rising to the stage—trapping and crushing his foot in the system.
Miraculously, Chesney managed to free himself and even managed to continue performing through the pain of his injury.
“I took one look at those fans, and there was no way I wasn’t going on,” he said in a statement after the show. “Sometimes, the energy and the adrenalin pull you through.”
Matters of the Heart
People were amazed by the brave and professional way that Kenny Chesney had pulled through from this horrific shock and managed to continue the show despite the great pain he was in from the on-stage injury.
Not only was he super dedicated and in love with music, but he also knew how much it would mean to every fan to be able to continue with the show.
But behind the scenes, there was another great love that Chesney was secretly yearning for in his life—of a more romantic nature.
The truth was, even though he was one of the most successful and beloved stars in the world, Kenny Chesney yearned for the adoration of someone a little closer to home—a romantic partner that he could share his life with.
And in 2004, it seemed that he had struck gold when he met the love of his life—and fellow celeb—Renée Zellweger, star of the smash hit Bridget Jones movies.
The two met while helping out at a tsunami relief event and bonded over their mutual desire to help others.
They had no idea about the turbulent relationship that was about to follow.
It seemed to indeed be happy ever after for Kenny Chesney and his new love Renée Zellweger. After about a year of dating, the couple cemented their love for one another by announcing their engagement, and they tied the knot in a beautiful beach ceremony in May 2005.
After years of singing heartfelt love songs and winning the hearts of fans across the globe, it seemed that Chesney’s heart had now been won—and he had found his one true love.
Unfortunately, the couple’s happiness would prove to be short-lived.
Sadly, not more than four months after their fairytale wedding on the beach, Kenny Chesney and Renée Zellweger announced that their marriage was coming to an end.
Rumors abounded as to what might be the reason for the sudden and unexpected split. What could have gone wrong so quickly after their wedding?
Eyebrows across the world were raised even further when Zellweger announced that the reason behind their split was due to “fraud” on Chesney’s part.
Tongues began to wag even more—what could this fraud possibly entail?
After Zellweger had used the word “fraud” to describe Chesney’s behavior and the part he had played in their marriage, fans and media outlets worldwide were keen to work out just exactly what that meant.
But eventually, Zellweger herself cleared up the mystery—explaining that it wasn’t anything untoward on Chesney’s part.
“The term ‘fraud’ as listed in the documentation is simply legal language,” she said to ETonline.com. “And not a reflection of Kenny’s character.”
And Chesney himself was about to get even more honest about his behavior in their marriage.
After much speculation, Chesney opened up about the truth behind his split with Renée Zellweger. He admitted that he had, in a sense, committed fraud—as he had had a completely different idea of what marriage would be like, and didn’t realize what sort of life they would be living together.
“I didn’t have any clue as to what true marriage meant. I was so used to committing to one thing—music—and then I had to commit to a second thing, marriage totally,” he said to Playboy. “I didn’t know how to commit to both of them. It was a scary moment for me.”
End of an Era
It was clear that the writing was on the wall for Chesney and Zellweger as they began the complex legal proceedings to end their marriage—or so they thought.
The truth was that their union’s ending turned out to be simpler than they had expected—due to the reasons behind their split.
Once the two saw the reality of married life and what it entailed from each other, it was clear that it was very different from what they had signed up for.
With all their cards on the table, for that reason, the pair didn’t even need to get a divorce—their marriage was annulled.
The truth is, many people had suspected that Chesney was keeping secrets from his girlfriend and brief wife, Renée Zellweger. Had he lied about his feelings, or was he engaging in secret relationships without her knowledge?
Chesney later opened up that this couldn’t have been further than the truth—and that actually, he struggled to have any success meeting women or dating in general.
“I was the guy in college who never got [girls],” he said to Playboy.
However, all that was about to change once he had become a major star.
Once Chesney had become a country music superstar, he found himself having a lot more luck with the ladies. He once even confessed to Playboy that he had over 100 romantic encounters over his lifetime.
“I’m such a free spirit,” he said. “I feel more alive when I’ve got somewhere to go. I can stay on my boat for a few weeks if I have a guitar and a girl and a Bob Marley CD. After that, I’ve got to move around.”
But it turns out there was long term love that Chesney was fully committed to.
After years of speculation, Kenny Chesney revealed to the world that he was in a fully committed relationship, one that no other woman could ever compare to.
So just who was this mysterious love of Chesney’s life?
The answer was, of course—his love and commitment to making music.
“It’s interesting to date when you’ve already got a mistress,” he said to ABC News. “And my mistress is music,” he said.
However, that didn’t mean that it was the end of Chesney’s romantic life.
Despite his heartbreak from his marriage to Renée Zellweger not working out, Kenny Chesney knew that nevertheless, he couldn’t let himself give up on love.
Sure enough, Chesney found himself falling in love once again—with burns victim nurse and former beauty queen Amy Colley.
Chesney and the former Miss Tennessee reportedly met through mutual friends. The pair seemed pretty loved up before long, even being spotted on holiday together in glamorous holiday spots such as Malibu and the Bahamas.
After being spotted on romantic getaways together, fans and media outlets alike began to get excited when it seemed that Chesney and his new girlfriend were taking things to the next level—meeting the parents. That’s right, as well as their vacations for two, the pair was also papped on holiday with each other’s families!
But perhaps even more significant was that Colley had been sighted at the wheel of Chesney’s beloved pickup truck—a vehicle he famously never let anyone else touch.
Could this mean marriage number 2 for this singing superstar?
It seemed that Kenny Chesney had finally found the right person in Amy Colley, and she held the secret to keeping his heart happy while also honoring his free spirit and sense of adventure.
But sadly, after dating for around two years, the couple eventually parted ways.
Once again, the rumor mill began whirling, suggesting that Colley had ended things due to Chesney cheating on her with another woman.
Neither Chesney nor Colley responded to the rumors, but all eyes were on him to see what would happen next.
The world was overseeing Kenny Chesney see what would happen next in his romantic life and if he and Colley were still on or if another woman had stolen his heart.
Though he kept quiet about the truth of the details, the pictures spoke for themselves when he was spotted on yet another romantic vacation—but this time with a different woman.
This time, the lady in question was none other than sports presenter Jenn Brown.
A famous face herself, the tabloids went crazy after spotting the two together—and began to wonder if she was the reason behind his split with Colley.
Chesney, Colley, and Brown all remained tight-lipped about the truth behind any possible love triangle, but things were about to get even more complicated.
As the media interest in his personal life increased to a crescendo, more details and rumors about his dalliances began to emerge.
One particular potential dalliance was with fellow singer Sara Evans, who recently split from her husband, Craig Schelske.
Though the romance was never confirmed, they certainly would have made one hell of a country music super couple!
Long Term Lover
And that wasn’t the only rumor swirling around regarding Kenny Chesney’s love life behind the scenes. Another possible romance that many people believed was on the stage was a secret relationship with beauty pageant queen Jamie Hill, aka Miss Carolina.
And they didn’t just suspect that they were dating—but that they had been keeping this relationship secret for about ten years—since back in 2008.
Could it be true that the reason Chesney had never publicly settled down was that he had secretly done so years ago behind the scenes?
However, the more people began investigating this possibility, the clearer it became that it was not very likely to be true.
As fans and the press delved further into both Chesney’s and Hill’s social media accounts, they found something a little surprising in Hill’s Instagram—many pictures and tributes to another man.
It seemed that Hill was already married to a strapping lumberjack, so it was pretty unlikely that these rumors of a long-running secret romance with Chesney had any truth to them.
However, debunking this one rumor didn’t stop the world from obsessing over Chesney’s romantic life and who he might be dating behind the scenes.
The next woman on the list of possible new girlfriends for the singing superstar was fellow country singer Miranda Lambert.
Lambert is super famous in her own right and has joined Chesney on two of his headline tours, the Sun City Carnival Tour and Spread the Love Tour.
Could it be that Chesney’s favorite on-stage companion be his chosen special someone behind the scenes?
As Chesney and Lambert continued to work together on their tours, exhibiting a closeness and camaraderie made for a hot live show, the whispers continued to spread that there might be something more than just friendship behind the two stars.
Was it possible that Chesney had finally found his match in this equally talented and charismatic singing superstar?
The two never confirmed any romance behind the scenes, but the chemistry between them is evident for all to see.
It seemed that the rumored romance between Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert was just that—a rumor. Not only did the two of them appear nothing but professional towards each other, signs started pointing toward a very different romantic relationship for our singing superstar.
Chesney, famously tight-lipped about his private life, sparked rumors about a romance when a particular woman was spotted backstage at the 2012 American Country Countdown Awards.
Who was this woman, and was she there as Chesney’s girlfriend? The world had to know.
As time went on, it seemed more and more likely that this mysterious woman was indeed the special someone in Kenny Chesney’s life behind the scenes.
She began to appear alongside him at more and more awards ceremonies, such as the CMA Awards, even kissing him on the cheek after being awarded the Pinnacle Award in 2016.
It seemed that finally, after so many years of rumors surrounding his love life and a turbulent journey on his search for romance, Chesney had yet found his soulmate.
The Single Life
For the entirety of his career, Kenny Chesney’s private life and romantic ups and downs have fascinated the media and his fans across the world. From his high-profile marriage and then annulment to Renée Zellweger to his attempts to keep the rest of his private life private, rumors have continued to surround him and his search for true love over the years.
Chesney himself contributed to this fascination when he released the song “Better as a Memory,” which spoke about the difficulties he felt in relationships and the feeling that he might be better off single.
There Goes His Life
However, in terms of his romantic life, Kenny Chesney’s songs don’t always reflect the truth behind the scenes.
In particular, his song “There Goes My Life” talks of a teen who is devastated to learn his girlfriend is pregnant and laments the end of his life as he knows it.
But does Kenny Chesney have the same outlook towards relationships and settling down as this song suggests?
His lyrics may say one thing, but the evidence of his life points in another direction.
Looking to the Future
Though he often sings about his nature as a single man and his difficulties in relationships, in reality, it appears that Kenny Chesney has finally found the love of his life in a long-term girlfriend, Mary Nolan.
Though his song “There Goes My Life” initially seems to rattle against settling down, the lyrics later turn to the young teen realizing the beauty of a stable relationship and family life.
He may have had his difficulties along the way, but it seems that Chesney has also at long last settled into life with his soulmate.
Chesney’s determination and eternal belief in love are an inspiration to us all against all odds.