A Lasting Love
Country star Brad Paisley and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley have a love story for the ages — and it’s one that’s still being written. For their wedding anniversary each year, the couple, who are featured on one of PEOPLE’s covers this week, write out their favorite memories from the past year in a special journal.
“Our greatest hits,” Kimberly, 49, told PEOPLE in the pair’s cover story. “We record the meaningful moments, the best laughs. That’s a big part of our relationship — focusing on the laughter and keeping a sense of play.”
How They Met
The couple, who share sons Huck, 14, and Jasper, 11, have been married since 2003. But Paisley has been smitten for far longer, first noticing his future wife in the 1991 film Father of the Bride. A decade later, the two finally met when the singer, now 48, asked Kimberly to star alongside him in his music video for “I’m Gonna Miss Her.”
Twenty years later, the “No I in Beer” crooner and the actress are still as in love as ever. Asked what they love most about each other, their replies were swift: “You keep our house afloat — seeing you give birth to two kids and raise a third is amazing,” Brad said to his wife, playfully counting himself among their sons. “And you try to do the right thing all the time.”
Still, 2020 was a test of all relationships, forcing couples into close quarters amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. “She’s used to three days a week at minimum that I’m gone, so we’ve learned a lot about ourselves this year,” shared Brad. Luckily for them, “I figured out I really like being around you!” he said with a smile.
Whether they’re having a low-key date night or going all-out for Halloween (like in this throwback shot Brad shared on Instagram), the couple love spending time together.
“A lot of married couples would rather do anything but spend the evening together,” he told PEOPLE. “That’s not the case in our house.”
The Simple Things
Kimberly shared a sweet tribute to her husband at the start of the pandemic last year in celebration of their 17th anniversary: “There’s no one I’d rather be social distancing alongside. (FYI we do not look like this currently cuz #pjs and #nomakeup and #socialdistancing so 🤷🏻♀️). But I love this guy. Happy anniversary @bradpaisley! Thanks for doing the dishes last night, making me laugh today, and always putting the seat down. #17years ❤️❤️❤️”
Building a Non-Profit
Just before the pandemic hit, the couple opened The Store, a free referral-based grocery store in Nashville that works with Belmont University, offering health and legal aid as well as music therapy to customers dealing with food insecurity. “This has been our dream,” Kimberly said. “People will be able to come and shop with dignity and make choices for their family.”
Soon after opening, The Store pivoted to offering pick-up service for families and grocery deliveries to seniors in order to comply with safety regulations. More than 350 volunteers, including Kimberly and Brad, have pitched in to help in the past year, ultimately delivering 1.3 million meals worth of free food.
For Father’s Day 2020, Kimberly echoed Brad’s joke that he’s a kid at heart with a photo of him drinking a juice box on Instagram.
“He’s a great dad to the kids because he IS one of the kids. We love you @bradpaisley. Life wouldn’t be nearly as fun or exciting without you! Happy Father’s Day!! ❤️❤️❤️ #captainamerica #fathersday,” she wrote on Instagram.
Brad joined the ranks of husbands-turned-hairstylists during the pandemic, helping his wife touch up her roots in April 2020.
“This is going to ruin everything I’ve worked towards in my image,” he quipped in a video of the experience that Kimberly posted on Instagram.
“Thank you for doing this. I love you,” she replied.
“Shut up. No, you don’t. You’re using me for my talents,” he joked before revealing the final (and gorgeous!) product.
For Kimberly, Brad’s “gigantic heart” is what she still admires most. “You care about all creatures, great and small,” she told PEOPLE, pointing to a recent flood around their Nashville-area home that prompted Brad to run outside at 2 a.m. to see if a nest of goose eggs was okay. “They weren’t,” he admitted. Added Kimberly, “But it’s so sweet how much you care.”
Here, the actress shared a sweet black-and-white throwback shot of the couple for Valentine’s Day.
They Get Silly (for a Cause)
Kimberly, whose mother suffered from early-onset dementia, has been a longtime Alzheimer’s advocate, and throws an annual ’80s-themed “Dance Party to End Alz.” Here, she and Brad showed off their looks ahead of the 2018 event, benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association.
The country crooner shared a sweet birthday message to his wife in September 2020. “Happy birthday @kimberlywilliamspaisley !! I love your sense of adventure and everything you are. I know this year has not been what anyone expected, but don’t look now, there’s a beautiful butterfly that just landed right behind you.
I love you.
The Early Years
#TBT! Brad shared a throwback shot of him and Kimberly with his mom after the birth of the couple’s first son in celebration of Mother’s Day. “The day new mom @kimberlywilliamspaisley brought our first rugrat home, standing next to the best mom I’d ever known prior to that.
In these times, it’s amazing to watch these moms adapt and become exactly what is needed. It’s not easy, but it’s so appreciated. I love you #happymothersday,” he wrote on Instagram.
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