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December 15, 1979

Alan Jackson was hardly a country superstar when he married his high school sweetheart, Denise, on Dec. 15, 1979, in Newnan, Ga. In fact, the young man was fixing and selling cars while trying to decide on his future career path. But Alan was clear on one thing - Denise was the girl he wanted to marry. Alan had proposed to her on Christmas Eve of 1978, when she was only 18. She was taken totally by surprise, because Alan, then 20, hadn't seriously approached the subject of marriage. Then on the big day, Alan pulled another surprise. In front of 200 guests, the fidgety groom stopped shaking long enough to sing "The Wedding Song" to a teary-eyed Denise. "I believe I was more nervous about singing that day than I have ever been on a stage," Alan once recalled. Alan and Denise had their share of tough times, including a brief separation. But their marriage survived, and this year they'll celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple has three daughters - Mattie, 14, Ali, 11, and 7-year-old Dani.