Photo: Jason KempinJust minutes before, she was ripping up the Country Music Association Awards with a no-holds-barred rendition of her spirited hit "Fastest Girl In Town." But when Miranda Lambert returned to the stage shortly after to accept the Song of the Year award with her husband, Blake Shelton, the spitfire singer was reduced to a puddle of uncontrollable tears.
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The reason was simple: The winning song she co-wrote with Shelton, "Over You," carries a deeply personal meaning to the couple. It's about the death of Shelton's older brother Richie, who died in a 1990 car accident when Shelton was only 14 years old--and whom Lambert has never met.
Shelton initially found the subject understandably difficult to talk about, even with his wife. However, after stumbling upon a TV biopic of Shelton on country channel GAC one night in which his family discussed Richie's death, the couple broke down and cried together. Shelton then opened up to Lambert all about his late brother, inspiring them to ultimately write a song together about him.
"Over You" ended up on Lambert's 2011 Four The Record set, as Shelton felt he could not handle performing the song himself. It carries direct references to her unknown brother-in-law, such as "Your favorite records make me feel better"--Shelton credits Richie with turning him on to country music, and inherited his album collection after his passing.
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The touching song attracted much attention out of the gate--not only for its backstory, but for the unique husband-wife songwriting element. Only three couples married at the time of composition had ever previously been nominated in the CMA Awards Song of the Year category, which is an award granted to songwriters, not performers.
Adding to the emotional element, Shelton lost his father to illness in January of 2012. Lambert noted in August that she was thrilled to have scored a nomination for the song with her husband. "It's awesome and such a good feeling to know we shared it. It's just a moment."
Upon winning the award together this year, Shelton first and foremost expressed tenderness toward his wife, who began to unabashedly and openly cry at his words.
"I just needed the right person to write this with," Shelton told her before the audience, before leaning in to give her a kiss. "I love you so much, baby."
The night proved to be an overall smash for the couple, as Shelton scooped up the coveted Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year awards, while Lambert scored Female Vocalist of the Year shortly after their joint victory.