Maybe it's those starched shirts and perfectly creased Wranglers. Or that shy smile peeking out from under the shadow of his wide-brimmed Resistol. When George Strait steps onstage, the response is powerful enough to stun even Superman. "The effect he has on women is mind-boggling," says actor Dean Cain, whose fiancée Mindy McCready has toured with Strait. "It's almost like a drug. They go insane. If he turns around and they can see his butt, they go crazy." But the attraction is more than physical, says fellow country star Patty Loveless, who is impressed by Strait's "Yes, ma'am, no ma'am" manners: "George is the gentleman cowboy we all used to dream about."
A two-time Country Music Association entertainer of the year, Strait, 45, saves his own dreams for Norma, his wife of nearly 27 years and the woman he calls "the first girl I ever loved." Growing up in tiny Pearsall, Texas, "we knew each other forever," he told Country Weekly
magazine. "Then one day I thought, 'I'm missing the boat here!' so I called her up. Before long, we were married." Together they've weathered the ups and downs of fame and even the death of their daughter Jenifer, 13, in a 1986 car accident. (The couple also has a son, George Jr., 16.) And in a business where "D-l-V-O-R-C-E" is more than just a song title, that enduring devotion has only added to Strait's appeal. "It's hard to be on the road and away from your spouse," says Loveless. "To me, it says a whole lot when a couple stays together that long."