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Sammy Kershaw and Lorrie Morgan are "finally happy"

Story by Wendy Newcomer - Photo by Chuck Jones

They said it wouldn't last. Some are saying it still won't last. But after more than a year of marriage, Sammy Kershaw and Lorrie Morgan are still together. "I want all the doubters to know that I'm not staying married to Lorrie just to prove everybody wrong," declares Sammy, sitting beside Lorrie at their farm outside Nashville. "I'm staying married to her because I love her."

"We heard people on Music Row were taking bets on whether we're gonna make it," reveals Lorrie. "It's just because people are so bored with their own lives that they have to make fun of or talk ugly about others. We don't have time to do that. We try to be what we can be for each other and our children.

"There are days that it hurts my feelings," admits Lorrie. "Sure, we might have been married three, four or five times - whatever it is. I've forgotten, I've lost track by now. But other people are sitting in a marriage where they can't stand each other. They're living a lie. That, to me, is just as bad, if not worse, than trying to get your life straight and be happy."

In 2000 Sammy and Lorrie's relationship was at the center of Sammy's divorce, which played out in the nation's newspapers like a soap opera. When the two entertainers married on Sept. 29, 2001, they began the challenging task of blending their two families. The couple has seven children from past marriages, five of whom live either with Lorrie and Sammy or in the Nashville area.

"The kids all have their own personalities that they bring to the table," says Lorrie, "and their own schedules. It's hectic and pretty stressful, with us trying to keep up with everything. But it's very entertaining."

Sammy shakes his head in agreement. "We've got good kids. We're very lucky. There's no drugs and they don't run with bad crowds. That's one thing I can say about all seven. My kids respect her and her kids respect me. It's hard to ask for any more than that."

A typical day at the Morgan/Kershaw household begins with a lot of coffee and an early rise and shine. "Really early," clarifies Sammy, "about 5:30. If Lorrie has somewhere to go, most of the time I go with her. But it's hard for us to make plans because we never know when the phone's going to ring with one of the kids. And they all have cellphones - every damn one of 'em," he adds with a smile.

"We share a lot of the chores - I normally point and he does it," notes Lorrie, winking at Sammy. "He does a lot. He's constantly working in the yard or fixing something around the house. And Sammy helps me in the kitchen after I'm done cooking. Even my mom is amazed by this.

"We normally play board games after dinner with the kids a few nights a week," explains Lorrie. "But Sammy doesn't just sit there at the table and think it's the girls' deal to clean before we play. He's in the kitchen helping, scrubbing pots. And he knows I'm a real stickler about the house smelling good, so he's always spraying air freshener around for me and lighting my candles."

Sounds like wedded bliss. But as Lorrie and Sammy candidly admit, not everything is smooth sailing.

"We have our days," confides Sammy.

"We have our weeks," corrects Lorrie. "We have some knock-down, drag-outs."

Find out what keeps Lorrie and Sammy so engaged with each other in the first 20003 "Newsstand Issue" on sale now!