Move Over, Alan Jackson: Wife Denise Has Fans to Greet

06/08/2008 at 04:30 PM EDT

Move Over, Alan Jackson: Wife Denise Has Fans to Greet
Denise and Alan Jackson on June 6
Tony R. Phipps/WireImage
For the first time in 10 years, country icon Alan Jackson came out to sign autographs at the CMA Music Fest exhibition hall Friday, drawing nearly 1,000 screaming fans – but he had to share them.

Wife Denise Jackson also had set up shop, to sign her best-selling 2007 book, It's All About Him, in which she traced her marriage's ups and downs, including infidelities. So on Friday, it was her husband who tagged along for the ride.

"It does take the pressure off of me because he doesn't do very many signings anymore," she said, jokingly. Recalling their first joint signing recently in their hometown of Newnan Ga., she says, "People had [my] books, but they literally ran straight to him!”

Her husband, however, remembers things a bit differently: "There were a lot of women, guys too, who'd come up and just sit there staring at her like they were in awe of her," he said. "I'd be sitting right there and they'd never even look at me. After they got through signing, they'd say, 'Hi,' and walk off. It didn't hurt my feelings. I thought it was great. ... Plus it makes it a lot easier on me because she's much more personable and she can talk and I don't have to say much."

Jackson, who with Denise signed photos, baseballs, T-shirts and guitars for more than 320 fans, did offer a little advice to his wife: "Don't talk so much; just sign.” He adds, "I'm not being rude, but you've got a lot of people. She'll sit down and write a paragraph!"

The couple, who greeted fans for more than two hours, were also still glowing from their eldest daughter Mattie's high school graduation last month. The teen, who will attend Wake Forest University in the fall, was the class valedictorian.

"I got choked up," Alan admitted of the ceremony. "But I've actually gotten used to it with her because she's always done so well. I used to get choked up watching them play soccer."

Added Denise: "She was so confident in her speech – when she was little, she was very reserved and shy and to see her blossom like that was wonderful."

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