Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, the beloved couple in the country music scene, are going their separate ways. Isbell filed for divorce from Shires on 15 December, citing "irreconcilable differences." The couple, who had been married for nearly 11 years, filed for divorce just two months shy of their 11th wedding anniversary.
Isbell and Shires tied the knot in February 2013, but their musical journey goes back even further. They had been collaborating on and off for a decade before getting married, and their wedding took place just days after completing work on Isbell's solo album, Southeastern. Shires, a talented fiddle player and vocalist, has been a valuable member of Isbell's band, The 400 Unit, and also plays guitar in the country supergroup, The Highwomen. Additionally, she released her seventh solo album, Take It Like A Man, in 2022.
While Isbell publicly celebrated their tenth anniversary with a heartfelt Instagram post in February 2023, the couple has been candid about their marital struggles. These issues came to light during the release and production of Isbell and The 400 Unit's album, Reunions, in 2020. Their journey was even documented in Isbell's 2023 film, Running With Our Eyes Closed, where Shires read an email she had sent her husband discussing the possibility of marriage counseling. At one point, the couple even separated, with Shires temporarily staying in a hotel.
Shires and Isbell have an eight-year-old daughter named Mercy together. Despite their public image, Shires emphasized in a 2022 interview with People that all relationships face challenges, regardless of fame or success. She stated, "It doesn't matter if you're a quasi-famous person like Jason or me, everybody's relationships are the same; there's ups and downs, and there's good and bad, and you just try to deal with it."
Isbell, in a 2020 interview with The New York Times, confessed to feeling overwhelmed and pushing Shires away. He expressed a desire for a tangible problem, such as infidelity, so they could pinpoint blame and work towards reconciliation. However, their issues were more complex, with Isbell admitting, "We don't know each other right now. We're not able to speak the same language."
Neither Shires nor Isbell have released public statements regarding the divorce proceedings. However, representatives for both artists have confirmed the news.
In June of last year, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit released their latest album, Weathervanes. Their accompanying HBO documentary, Running With Our Eyes Closed, was released in April. Isbell reflected on the album, stating, "There is something about boundaries on this record. As you mature, you still attempt to keep the ability to love somebody fully and completely while growing into an adult and learning how to love yourself."
As fans come to terms with the news of the split, the music community sends their well wishes to Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires as they venture down separate paths.