How She Met The Okie from Muskogee
Merle Haggard used to be married to Leona Hobbs, Bonnie Owens, Leona Williams, and Debbie Parret.
Merle married his first wife, Leona Hobbs when he was only 19 years old, and the couple ended up having four children together. Wife number two, Bonnie Owens, was a fellow country singer who Merle credited for his start in country music. Leona Williams, on the other hand, met Merle when she replaced Bonnie Owens as a backup singer with Haggard’s band.
Finally, after a series of failed marriages, financial boom and bust, and struggles with gambling and drug use, the “If We Make It Through December” singer found the happiness at home with wife Theresa Ann Lane.
“I guess I have to believe in miracles,” Merle Haggard once said in his 2000 interview of a life filled with second chances. “I know I’ve had more prayers answered than any man that ever lived.”
Country music legend Merle Haggard met his fifth and last wife when Theresa Ann Lane’s mother convinced her to come and see Merle perform, even though she was more of a ZZ Top fan. As soon as Merle saw her, he knew she was something special.
After the show, the two got the chance to get to know each other, and they became pretty inseparable ever since then. “I went on a month tour with him, and we were pretty much together,” Theresa said.
The happy couple married on September 11, 1993, and Merle said that marrying Theresa was the best decision he ever made. They had two children together, Jenessa and Ben.
Theresa didn’t believe she could have kids, so she considered it a blessing when she got pregnant in 1989. “It was a blessing.” They named their daughter Jenessa. The name came to Merle in a dream. The small family then moved off the houseboat to the ranch full time in Northern California.
Three years later, Theresa gave birth to Benion. Baby number two was named after Benny Binion, the colorful, criminal owner of the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, whom Merle said was like a father to him. Ben Haggard has followed the footsteps of his legendary dad.
Theresa Ann Lane and Merle Haggard lived a happy marriage. Theresa sometimes even perform on stage with Merle. She developed a great appreciation for the music he created over his career.