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The Biggest Stories
From Carrie's Big Day and Tim's New Movie to Wynonna's Weight Loss and Brooks & Dunn's Goodbye, Here's a Look at What Had Country Fans Talking This Year
Amid 3,000 roses, Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher took their vows on a steamy July night in Georgia.
CARRIE & MIKE GET MARRIED
Country's all-American girl says 'I do' to her Canadian Prince Charming
Sparkling with 5,000 crystals, Carrie Underwood's wedding to hockey player Mike Fisher was a fitting affair for the woman Fisher calls Princess. On July 10 the couple said their vows beneath a white tent at Georgia's Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation resort in front of 250 guests-including the singer's rat terrier Ace, who was dressed in a crystal-encrusted pink tuxedo. In her "girlie, dainty" silk organza gown by Monique Lhuillier and a 40-carat tiara, Underwood "looked stunning," Fisher recalls. "It's something I'll never forget." Equally unforgettable? Ace's eruption when the newlyweds went in for their first kiss. "He was barking like mad!" Underwood says. The new family has since settled quietly into married life, although with her touring schedule and his hockey season keeping them apart and on the road, "it's not a conventional marriage," she notes. No matter, she says. "He's my best friend, and just knowing he's there makes me happy."
KELLIE & KYLE
Kyle proposed June 15 at Rosemary Beach, Fla.
"It is," Kellie Pickler declares, "the year of love!" Her beau of 2½ years, songwriter Kyle Jacobs, dropped to his knees on the beach and surprised a tearful Pickler with a ring just a month after Blake Shelton's "perfectly redneck" proposal to a camo-wearing Miranda Lambert in the woods near their homes. Both couples plan to wed in 2011.
MIRANDA & BLAKE
Blake popped the question May 9 in Oklahoma.
TIM & GWYNETH MAKE A COUNTRY MOVIE!
Country Strong opens in Nashville and L.A. Dec. 22 and nationwide Jan. 7.
HOLLYWOOD GOES NASHVILLE
Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow put the spotlight on Music City in the new film Country Strong
When Tim McGraw was asked to star opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in a film about a country singer, he didn't hesitate. He said no. Twice. "I wanted to be on another planet from that movie!" says McGraw. "It's very tough to be acting in a world that's your real work. It put me completely out of my comfort zone."
But the third time was the charm, and McGraw finally said yes to the film. "I was so taken with the quality of the movie. And it made all the difference in the world to be able to shoot all day and then come home to my kids every night," says McGraw. "I could get used to that! I wish we could shoot every movie in Nashville."
In the film, Paltrow plays a country singer with substance abuse problems, and McGraw plays her manager husband. "I've had plenty of practice playing a singer's husband," he quips. "Of course this is a singer pretty different from my wife." And McGraw gives Paltrow, who learned how to play guitar in just four months ("I practiced until my fingers bled," she says), high marks for her performance. "She did such an authentic job," he says. "Her voice had a real honesty to it, which is tough to fake in country music." It didn't hurt that she had a bona fide country diva on-set to inspire her. Says McGraw: "She hung out with my wife-a lot!"
In fact Paltrow and Faith Hill became fast friends during the two-month shoot. "It's rare that you meet somebody and feel like you've always known them, but that's how it was with Faith," says Paltrow. "We have very similar values and both just really love being moms." Though it wasn't just mom stuff these two had in common. "We'd get together and cuss and let loose," says Paltrow. "I was like, 'Come on, we're going out, girl!' I took her to all the dive bars in Nashville. I tried to get her in as much trouble as possible."
Rascal Flatts Celebrate 10 Years
The trio really are "Unstoppable." After a decade together, they've amassed 10 No. 1 hits and have had their songs played on the radio more than 3.2 million times.
After years of living outside the spotlight, the singer, who has a CD in the works, announced plans for a TV series and an autobiography in 2011.
TOBY KEITH EXPANDS HIS EMPIRE
Not content to rest on his singing laurels, Keith, 49, keeps honing his back-office talents as well. His latest gig? Principal of the merged Show Dog Universal records, which makes him boss to Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, Randy Houser and others.
WYNONNA LOSES 55 LBS.
The singer gets healthy, dropping five dress sizes and gaining a new positive outlook on life
After two health scares this year-complications from stomach surgery in March (to repair muscle damage from having children, she says) and a head-on car accident in July-Wynonna Judd realized it was time to make some changes. "I had been walking around pissed off and unhappy for so long," says Judd, 46, who says she used food to "soothe" herself. With the help of life coach Dr. Ted Klontz, she "started looking ahead as opposed to being consumed by past mistakes," says Klontz. Judd also learned the importance of portion control ("I still eat the sandwich, just half the sandwich!") and cut junk food out of her diet. "You won't see doughnuts in my kitchen anymore, because I can eat a box!" she says. Now, with a new outlook-and slimmer figure-Judd, who split from husband D.R. Roach in 2007, is gearing up to tour with mom Naomi and even dating. Says Judd: "This beats the heck out of sitting home and complaining."
BROOKS & DUNN SAY GOODBYE (AFTER 20 YEARS!)
On Sept. 2 Brooks & Dunn packed up their tour buses after 20 years and 23 No. 1 hits. "This isn't a funeral," Kix Brooks, 55, told the Nashville audience. "We showed up to party!" Added Ronnie Dunn, 57: "To the people who have paid our rent the last 20 years, all I can say is thanks."
KENNY TAKES THE YEAR OFF (NOT!)
For most, "taking a year off" would mean rest and relaxation. For Kenny Chesney, 42, it was just code for "not touring." In 2010 he cranked out a 3-D concert movie, an ESPN documentary on high school football, and Hemingway's Whiskey, his first CD in nearly two years. Some vacation!
CHELY COMES OUT
Chely Wright (who had a No. 1 hit with "Single White Female" in '99) made headlines when she announced she's gay.
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