In many ways, it was Barbara’s father who pushed and encouraged her to make herself a name in the music industry. He would later become her manager as well. The family moved to country music capital Nashville in 1968 and soon the success was realised. Barbara got a record contract and it wasn’t long before her records topped the charts.
It was also thanks to her father that Barbara met her future husband, Ken Dudney. The couple first met when Barbara’s dad hired Ken to be the drummer of the Mandrell Family Band.
She was then 14, while Ken was 21.
Both immediately fell in love, but there was a big problem – Ken was engaged to another girl at the time. After a while, he decided to break off the engagement. Four years after Barbara and Ken first met, the couple married on May 28, 1967.
”He was smart enough to be kind and polite but cool. When I fell, I fell hard. We went together all through high school. We were very much in love, and we very much wanted to get married. I very much had to graduate from high school first,” Barbara told CBN.