October 4, 1978

On this day in 1978, country singer Tammy Wynette claimed that she was kidnapped from a Nashville shopping mall and then beaten and dumped by the side of the road. A local family found Wynette with a fractured cheekbone, bloody with severe bruises and in a state of shock.

The apparently motiveless brutality—her $40 in cash and 30 credit cards were untouched, and she was not sexually assaulted—was described as “very puzzling” by Nashville detectives at the time. Her daughter Georgette claimed that her mother made up the story about the kidnapping to explain the beating inflicted by her fifth husband music producer George Richey, whom she was physically and mentally abused by for years.

“He opened the door, held the gun in his left hand and dragged me out of the car. Then he hit me with his fist. I thought, Oh, God, I’m gonna die…” Tammy Wynette, People Magazine 1978.


Wynette pictured here with her battered cheek and husband George Richey.

Wynette struggled with an addiction to prescription painkillers. Wynette’s husband had taken over as her “doctor” though he held no license whatsoever. He supervised her home care and administered her drugs. She was receiving intervenes drugs such as Demerol, Dilaudid, Phenergan, and Versed when Wynette passed away in 1998.

Wynette’s hit song was titled “Stand by Your Man”, how ironic.


Wynette with daughter Georgette who claims the kidnapping was untrue.


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