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17 Years Ago: Trace Adkins Makes Opry Debut

Trace Adkins
Rusty Russell, Getty Images

Happy anniversary to Trace Adkins. It was on this date 17 years ago (Nov. 23, 1996) that the singer made his Grand Ole Opry debut, performing ‘Every Light in the House’ from his freshman ‘Dreamin’ Out Loud’ album.

The date undoubtedly stands out to the Louisiana native for another reason. After he sang his first song on the famous stage, Adkins dropped to one knee and proposed to his then-girlfriend, Rhonda Forlaw. The couple wed in early 1997 and have three daughters together, in addition to Adkins’ two daughters from a previous marriage.

The singer-songwriter is clearly still smitten with his wife. “She was a really independent, and still pretty much is, an independent, strong-willed, intelligent lady who doesn’t need me,” Adkins recalls to the Morning Call. “Our relationship began as a friendship. And it went on that way for several months. It was strictly a friendship thing, and I think there just came a point where we both realized that something a little deeper was starting to happen. And I was happy about that, and I found out that she was, too.”

The 51-year-old, who became a member of the Opry in 2003, says he feels a reverence for the venue. “It’s a special place,” he tells The Boot. “That’s the thing I like: there’s a spirit in the Ryman, it’s almost palpable. I enjoy going there. A little dab will do you in the Ryman, though, then I like to go back to the big house.”

Next: The Top 10 Trace Adkins Songs

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