Talk about being aptly named. Despite humble beginnings as the adopted daughter of a factory worker and bank teller and taking the stage immediately after a tobacco spitting contest at an early gig, this Mississippi musician, who taught herself to play guitar, had the confidence to pursue her dream to sing in the country music capital by 19. Of course, reality is usually harsher than fantasy so she spent a few years selling T-shirts and working as a receptionist until she was signed in 1991. She didn’t release her first CD, Take Me As I Am, until 1994. But her first single, “Wild One,” was a hit out of the gate, spending a month on the Billboard country chart at No. 1, making her the first female singer to accomplish that feat in 30 years. She opened for Tim McGraw on the 1996 Spontaneous Combustion tour and sparks flew backstage as well as the two crooners married the same year. (She had previously been married from 1988 to 1994 to music publishing executive Dan Hill.) The twang twosome now have three daughters: Gracie (born seven months after the wedding), Maggie (born 1998) and Audrey (born a preemie in 2001). She crossed over to pop audiences after appearing on VH1 Divas Live ‘99, filling in at the Oscars for a spaced-out Whitney Houston, singing the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXIV and releasing her two No. 1 albums Breathe and Cry. Most of the time she’s the celeb least likely to appear in tabloids, but became an internet sensation after chastising a fan for grabbing McGraw’s crotch, appearing in a bikini at 41 on Shape magazine and after her mock horror at Carrie Underwood besting her at the CMA Awards was mistaken as genuine shock and disgust.
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