Lee Greenwood says his life with Miss Tennessee Kimberly Payne is “blissful.”
The “farm boy from California,” 77, and the pageant queen, 52, have been married since 1992.
“My wife and I share a wonderful life, and I couldn’t ask for more,” the “God Bless the U.S.A.” singer recently told Closer Weekly.
Greenwood shared that one of the secrets behind their lasting marriage of 27 years is ditching Hollywood.
“One of the key things is getting out of Tinseltown — we live in Tennessee,” he explained. “And our creativity about love and passion for our life is what keeps us so solidly together. We shared all of the ups and downs of raising boys. Now we’re empty nesters and reach out for things to do to keep our love alive. There’s no limit on things that my wife likes to do, and I love that.”
While Greenwood is best recognized for his perennial hit, the outlet noted he has scored over 30 songs on Billboard’s country singles chart, including 20 in the Top 10 and seven No. 1 hits.
However, the singer/songwriter is still proud of the decades-long success of “Bless the U.S.A.” The song was originally released as a single in 1984.
“I hadn’t traveled much until I left home at 16 and went to Nevada,” Greenwood recalled on what inspired him to write the song.
“I was exposed to so many different people from all over the world,” he continued. “After I moved to Nashville in 1979, I wanted to write a song that identified my entire country with who I was. The first line, ‘If tomorrow all the things were gone I worked for all my life,’ was about my grandparents and their farm, where I was raised in Sacramento, Calif.”
“We were sharecroppers,” Greenwood continued. “Farming got to be less profitable, and as I left home they were moving from farming to renting apartments. And not to forget the military, of course, because my father served in the Navy in World War II and survived it.”
Greenwood shared that it’s not so much the song, but people’s reactions to it that continue to inspire him over the years.
“You can’t help but be moved by a soldier that’s lost two legs, who told you the reason they joined the Army was that they heard my song, or singing it off an aircraft carrier for so many in the military. Then you do a July 4 show where the citizens are waving flags and lights as you sing a tribute to the country.”
The song has also granted Greenwood the opportunity to perform it at several presidential inaugurations.
“I sang at the Lincoln Memorial for George Bush and Donald Trump, and at parties at several others,” Greenwood explained. “When the Reagan Library opened [in 1988], sitting behind me while I was singing were Nixon, Carter, Ford, Bush, Reagan, their wives and Lady Bird Johnson. And recently at a Texas A&M event that raised money for hurricane relief, I sang for Obama, Clinton, Carter, Bush [Sr.] and Bush… In 1988, we did our fifth or sixth USO Tour with Bob Hope — eight shows around the world in eight days. That was tremendous.”
Greenwood said he doesn’t have many regrets in life. Instead, he’s determined to continue hitting the road and touching the lives of fellow Americans. The artist also revealed he’s “just about finished” recording a new album, which is set to be released sometime this year.
“Prior to meeting my great manager of 33 years, I wasn’t intent on watching the business, so that’s a regret,” said Greenwood. “But I like to do something every day that helps someone. I’m 77 and I’ll perform as long as I can because I think it’s necessary to have people be uplifted, and that’s what music does.”