George Jones and Tammy Wynette's Daughter Honors Parents for Dad's Birthday: 'Thankful to Be Part of You Both'

Georgette Jones, Tammy Wynette and George Jones
Georgette Jones, Tammy Wynette and George Jones

Georgette Jones Lennon, Tammy Wynette and George Jones

Country legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette had a stormy six-year marriage that was packed with enough highs and lows to fill several chart-topping albums' worth of country songs. Married from 1969 to 1975, the Nashville version of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton worked hard - as husband and wife, they recorded a string of hit duets, including "We're Gonna Hold On" and "Golden Ring" - and they sometimes fought harder.

Jones' well-documented struggle with substance abuse led to their divorce in 1975, and in celebration of what would have been his 91st birthday on Sept. 12 (the "He Stopped Loving Her Today" singer died in 2013 at age 81), his and Wynette's only child, singer-songwriter Georgette Jones Lennon, 51, is paying tribute. Her 2011 memoir The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George is being made into an upcoming six-episode Paramount+ limited series starring Oscar winner Jessica Chastain as Tammy and two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon as George.

Lennon composed a song called "I Hope You Knew" for her mother on Mother's Day in 1999, one year after the "Stand by Your Man" singer died at age 55. She calls it a "very special and emotional song for me." In honor of her father's birthday, Lennon wrote a letter to both her beloved father and mother exclusively for People. In it, she expresses what she wishes she could tell them now.

Georgette Jones daughter of Tammy Wynette and George Jones - photographed April 2016
Georgette Jones daughter of Tammy Wynette and George Jones - photographed April 2016

Alan Mercer Georgette Jones Lennon

Dear Mom and Dad,

I miss and love you both more than I ever knew was possible.

Mom, you would've turned 80 this past May 5th. You were only 55 when you left so suddenly. I was just 27 and was completely lost without you. But you gave me the most important gift I ever received: unconditional love.

I never doubted you'd love me and have my back no matter how badly I might mess up. You never questioned the path I chose or judged me and you always encouraged and supported all I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

You also amazed me with your bravery. Absolutely nothing scared you. You once flew with the Blue Angels and the pilot told me you were not only his first civilian not to be sick, but also to laugh and ask to do the "tricks" again. I saw you stand up to many people even in situations that seemed impossible.

You always said, "If it's important, sink your teeth in like a bulldog and don't let go." It's because of your love, strength and never give up attitude that I learned not only how to survive, but how to truly live.

George Jones, Tammy Wynette & Tamala Georgette Jones; 1975
George Jones, Tammy Wynette & Tamala Georgette Jones; 1975

George Jones, Georgette Jones Lennon and Tammy Wynette

Dad, you'd have been 91 this Sept 12th. Our story is a little more complicated, but I do know how much you loved me.

When I was very young and you were struggling, you wanted to protect me from that. I didn't understand then, but years later my Memaw told me you used to come by our house often while I was at school, and you'd stay in my room for hours while holding my picture on my bed and cry. I never told you I knew that because I knew you wouldn't want anyone to see you were vulnerable to emotions.

When Mom died, you were there for me when I needed you most. My anger and pain melted into your loving arms and we mended our hearts like they were sewn together. That meant everything to me. All I ever wanted was my Dad and I finally had you in my life.

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I'm so grateful for the time we had, and no words or person can ever take that away from us. I hope I have your sense of humor as you always made my sons and me laugh. But, most of all, I hope to have your passion and determination to realize a dream.

Both of you had more than your share of hard times, pain and heartaches, but through all that you taught me to stand back up after each time life knocks me down. One day when my time here is done, I know I'll get to see you both again and that knowledge fills my heart with joy and anticipation.

Until then, I'll be forever thinking of your love and how thankful I am to be part of you both.