Randy Travis and Elizabeth ‘Lib’ Hatcher were together for 30 years, married for 19. In 2010 Randy filed for divorce, which was granted in October 2010. Things became nasty when their professional relationship failed as well. After a massive stroke, Randy slowly recovered and married Mary Davis.
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30 years together – romantically and professionally
When Randy Travis met Elizabeth ‘Lib’ Hatcher in 1977, he was a young boy of 17, in trouble with the law, and she was a married woman, 16 years his senior. Randy was about to be sentenced to 5 years in prison for breaking and entering a convenience store. But somehow Lib persuaded the judge to release him into her custody.
She took him in, letting him live with her and her husband Frank, who managed a music club where Randy would sing and wash the dishes to earn his keep. Lib recognized his talent and decided to become his manager. Eventually, she also had to decide between Randy and Frank. Her then-husband asked her to do just that.
Whilst Lib denied that Randy was the reason for her divorce from her first husband, Randy certainly served as a catalyst. She got ‘out of a bad situation’, which was clearly overdue anyway.
Randy and Lib moved out of her marital home and into a new one. They became a couple in 1979, though they kept it secret for over a decade. Lib wanted him to concentrate on his career and didn’t want the public to be distracted by their relationship. After all, there was the age difference, but Randy was also much more attractive to a young audience by appearing unattached.
It was no secret, however, that the two were living together and many rumours regarding the relationship swirled around.
In 1991, the two married in secret at one of their homes in Hawaii, with only the preacher and two strangers in attendance. If Randy hadn’t introduced Lib as his wife at a concert a few days later, nobody would have been any wiser.
Divorced and suing each other
For 19 years Randy and Lib were considered to be one of country music’s power couples. Their age difference seemed immaterial and Lib was the constant powerhouse behind Randy’s career. The two seemed happy.
But in 2010 Randy filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Rumour has it that he had fallen for someone else: the wife of his dentist, Mary Davis. The two are even said to have embarked on an illicit affair, which consequently ended his marriage to Lib.
The divorce was finalized in October 2010, though any details of the settlement are under lock and key. Considering their long business partnership and relationship, one is inclined to assume that there was no prenup and that Lib got half of everything Randy has ever made and was likely to make in the foreseeable future.
After their divorce, Lib remained Randy’s manager. At least for a time. Apparently, in 2011, Randy decided to sever their business relationship as well. Lib’s contract was about to run out anyway and would, therefore, have been up for renewal, but she later accused him of breaching their contract five months early, showing up with moving trucks at her offices to remove all papers concerning his business.
Randy filed a countersuit, accusing Lib of bad-mouthing him and ruining his career. Lib fired back that he had ruined his own career and filed for damages against him, because he had, in fact, caused her to lose income after damaging her reputation.
As it stands, we have no idea how their suits and countersuits were settled, or not, because in 2013 Randy’s medical issues took centre stage.
Struck down by a stroke
In July 2013 Randy was hospitalized after suffering from viral cardiomyopathy. Complications led to his admission to the hospital, which is not unusual, considering that the disease weakens the heart muscle and can lead to heart failure.
After undergoing surgery only a day later, his condition remained critical and eventually worsened considerably when he suffered a massive stroke whilst still recovering. For a while, it was touch and go whether he would even survive. But he pulled through and remained in the hospital for nearly six months.
The road to recovery was a slow one. Most of his bodily functions had been impaired by the stroke. He was unable to communicate, his memory was affected, his muscular control. By the time he was released home, Mary, who was still with him and by then his fiancée, wheeled him out of the doors, happy about every bit of progress he made. It was unclear whether he would ever fully recover.
A slow recovery and marrying Mary
It’s a testament to the strength of their relationship and Mary’s love of Randy that she stayed with him in these trying times. She had no way of knowing how long the recovery would take and if he would ever be fully restored. She prayed for it and stayed with him.
The road was long and arduous, and scars remain to this day. A full recovery after such a massive stroke is nearly impossible and every bit of improvement borders on the miraculous. But Randy prevailed and so did Mary.
In 2015 he had recovered enough to marry her. The small ceremony took place in March, which was the around the same time he made a surprise appearance at the Academy of Country Music Awards, where he sang parts of his song “Forever and Ever, Amen”.
Mary and Randy credit the power of music and God with his recovery. Nowadays he’s back producing music, not just for himself, but upcoming new musicians, and he remains happily married to Mary.