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Country music star Tammy Wynette claimed a masked gunman abducted her at gunpoint from a parking lot in the late ’70s. It was after her divorce from George Jones, a quickie fourth marriage to and divorce from a man she hardly knew, and her final wedding to her fifth husband.

Some people accused her of making the terrifying story up for publicity. However, Wynette clapped back by saying she could think of better ways to get some attention that wouldn’t leave her bruised up and scared to leave her home — namely, hitting the town for all-night dancing.

Tammy Wynette, who denied faking her abduction for publicity, poses for a portrait in 1984.
Tammy Wynette | Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Tammy Wynette claimed someone abducted her while she was shopping in Nashville

In a 1978 interview with The Washington Post, Wynette shared some details of the violent abduction she alleged a masked gunman carried out by forcing her to drive 80 miles at gunpoint. The “Stand By Your Man” singer said she walked away feeling lucky to be alive, even with a broken cheekbone and shifted teeth.

Still, she had regrets and questions. “I wake up and think, why didn’t I just ram the car into an empty car in the parking lot? I think of a hundred things I could’ve done,” she confessed. “But then again, I think, well, I’m alive. If I’d done that, he might’ve shot me. They’d have caught him, but still — I’d be dead.”

Tammy Wynette said accusations of a staged publicity stunt ‘broke her heart’

Tammy Wynette poses for a portrait circa 1967. She later said accusations she staged an abduction as a publicity stunt broke her heart.
Tammy Wynette | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Wynette expressed frustration to The Post about people who didn’t believe her abduction story. She pointed to an article in People magazine that suggested she was covering up an affair, even though the information was also discredited.

“It says all those things were discounted because ‘Tammy was seen doing this’ or ‘Tammy was seen doing that,’ but a lot of people won’t even read that line,” she complained. “They’ll get just so far down and quit. ‘Ah, hah, she did it herself.'”

She added that it didn’t “make sense” for her to set it all up, noting, “I don’t know any woman who would want her face damaged.”

“If I wanted publicity, I’d go down to Possum Holler and dance all night,” she declared, referring to a club that once belonged to Jones.

Notably, police never identified the masked assailant Wynette described.

Tammy Wynette revealed her alleged abduction was part of a series of scary incidents, not a publicity stunt

Photo of Tammy Wynette, c. 1970.
Tammy Wynette | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tammy Wynette Once Said ‘Cranks’ Who Disbelieved Her Kidnapping Story ‘Broke Her Heart’

According to what Wynette told the Post, the scary abduction story wasn’t a tall tale or an isolated incident. She said she’d been dealing with someone’s terrifying harassment for some time.

The Post shared that the First Lady of Country turned her Nashville home into “a fortress against the unidentified enemies who have made phone threats, painted X’s on the doors, planted warning notes in her dressing room, walked over the roof, wiretapped the phones, [and] set fire to the house (three times in one night, causing $100,000 in damages),” leaving her under close watch 24 hours a day.

“It just seems to be a never-ending thing. But it’s got to end somewhere,” Wynette lamented. “I just want it to before somebody’s really hurt badly.”

She said she wanted “to live as much of a normal life as possible,” noting, “I guess I’ll just increase security again, if necessary.”