PICTURE OF PERFECTION

Sara Evans sings that life doesn't have to be perfect - but hers is about as close as you can get!

When she wrote her latest hit, "Perfect," Sara Evans looked no further than her own life for inspiration. The song, which praises a gloriously imperfect life, was written after Sara and her husband, Craig, went on vacation with Craig's newlywed sister, Melody, and her husband, Jason.

"Craig and I had been married about eight years then," recalls Sara. "Melody and Jason were walking down the street, holding hands, saying, 'Are you hungry? Can I get you anything? I love you. Blah blah blah blah blah,' " says Sara, giggling at the mushy memory.

"I remember thinking at the time, 'That is so irritating.' I got all defensive and told Craig, 'You know, I like our relationship better because we don't have to constantly ask each other if we're OK, because we just know each other so well.' So I decided to write a song about relationships not having to be perfect. No relationship can stay in that mode they were in.

"I'm sure Craig and I were once in that mode," admits Sara, "but we've really gotten to the point where we accept each other for who we are. We love each other unconditionally. I can tell just by the look on Craig's face what he's thinking and feeling. I swear, I love him more today than I did when we first got married."

Craig and Sara recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary, and they're the proud parents of a son, Avery, 4, and daughter, Olivia, 1. But while Sara's learned that things don't always have to be perfect in her marriage, she admits she still hasn't found a way to apply that philosophy to her career.

"If only I could feel that way," she sighs. "I'm so competitive and driven. I wish I could be more of a diva. You know how divas and some artists, they show up late, they don't care, they miss interviews? I just can't do that - and sometimes I wish I could. But I think about a tour not going well or an event that I have to go to. I really stress about my career.

"I want to just chill out and not care," she continues. "It's very hard for me to take time off. I think it's because you kind of start over with each single you release. There's no security whatsoever. But it's not like it plagues me, because I'd be totally happy if it all went away tomorrow."

However, with "Perfect" still climbing the charts, Sara's career isn't likely to disappear any time soon. She's just finished a mini-run of the west coast and will tour heavily throughout the summer and fall. And before this spring is over, she and Craig will have made a house in Missouri their third home. (They also have homes in Tennessee and Oregon.)

"We're really excited about it," says Sara of the new addition. And true to her nature, she will be busy in the next few months trying to bring the house up to her high standards. "All of my friends call me 'Monica' [from the hit TV series Friends] because I'm so competitive and so, 'Take your shoes off before you walk in my house!' and 'Put that back!'" she says.

"Everything has to be ...," she pauses, then laughs, "perfect!"

-- Story by Wendy Newcomer

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