Amy Grant and Vince Gill cozy up on the February cover of Good Housekeeping. Gill, 52, a country music icon, and Grant, 49, a pop and Christian singer, are about to celebrate 10 years of marriage. And while their union seems picture-perfect now, the musical couple have navigated through divorce, a media firestorm and blending their families.
On bringing their 4 kids together as a family: "It was a long haul to feel like a family again," says Grant (Gill's daughter, Jenny, was 17; and Grant's three children, Matthew, Millie, and Sarah, ranged in age from 12 to 7 when they first got together). "The parents have made a choice, but none of the kids have made the choice. And wherever it's going to wind up, you're not going to get there quickly. You just have to give people their space. There have been a lot of hands-down, pivotal turning points, with a lot of words and tons of emotions."
On the birth of their 8-year-old daughter Corrina: "[Corrina's birth was] a great blessing for us," says Gill. "All of a sudden, we all had something in common. And we didn't know it at the time, but it really provided a sense of glue."
On not giving any specific examples of how the children struggled with coming together as a blended family: "When I went through my divorce, there were some things [printed] in certain magazines, and I despised the way it made my kid look," Gill said. "So as a parent, there's a side of you that just builds a wall and says, 'You can ask all you want, but you're not gonna get any of that stuff.'"
On meeting at the right time in their lives: "He has a quick temper," Grant says, "and I'm as stubborn as the day is long. Through our early lives, we came to understand that you make the choices you make, and if those screw up, then you learn to make new choices. Somebody who has been in a very bad wreck is going to be very conscientious about not speeding through a yellow light....You just learn so many good lessons when you go through a failed marriage. If we had married at 21 and 24, it would have been completely different."
On the media firestorm that surrounded them when they first got together: "I don't mean this in a flippant way, but I was so unconcerned by what somebody who I would never meet wrote in a rag," Grant says. "I felt like I had flipped a car over three medians and I was trying to figure out if my children — if we all — still had a pulse. I could not imagine going through life not by Vince's side. [Then I'd] hear people saying, 'I heard so-and-so say they're not playing your records anymore.' I had to trust that eventually everything was going to be OK."
On acknowledging the past: "The one thing we never tried to do is to say that life began for us the moment that we said, 'I do,'" Grant says. "A whole lot of life had gone before that, and it was worth, in time, integrating in a healthy way."
On still having to deal with their controversial past: "From time to time it still comes up, and you want to say, 'Come on, we've beat this into the dirt,'" Gill says. "But we just dismiss it in a way that is respectful." The country superstar recalls a day when a man approached him in a guitar store. "I'd never met him and he said, 'I owe you an apology. When you and Amy got married, I told my children that you were wrong. And now I'm going through a divorce.'" At that moment, Gill said he was glad he didn't lash out at any of the critics. "Not all Christians feel and act and do things exactly the same," he said. "If you always try to take the high road, then everybody has a chance to benefit."On making their marriage work: "You can laugh together easily. And trust each other. And spend lots of time together. And have great fun in bed! Yes! A fabulous sex life!"