10 Great Southern Love Stories
By Caroline Rogers for Southern Living
Romance is sweeter in the South.
Our Southern love stories are the stuff that fairy tales are made of. From country music stars to star-crossed lovers from our favorite books, there’s nothing quite like a Southern love story. We love to look back on Southern love stories because they teach us about the power of persistence, commitment, and kindness. They are stories we’ll never forget. They are relationships that make us simply starry-eyed with nostalgia. Let’s revisit the dreamy love stories of Elvis and Priscilla, Johnny and June, and Allie and Noah. These are the stories that make our hearts flutter, and for good reason. A romance played out on a Southern stage, walking underneath the mossy oaks, talking on the front porch, sharing a glass of sweet tea in the parlor…we just can’t think of anything to top that. Enjoy these Southern love stories and don’t forget to tell your Valentine just how much you love them.
June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash
This Southern love story is a fairy tale fit for country music royalty. These two country singers seemed destined to be together—and not just because they could harmonize so well. Johnny and June met at the Grand Ole Opry in the 50s, fell in love on the road, and got engaged onstage in 1968. Their marriage lasted decades, until June passed away in May 2003 and Johnny followed three months later.
Allie and Noah from The Notebook
Nicholas Sparks gave us two of our favorite Southern characters in The Notebook. Allie and Noah fall in love as teenagers then, after being separated for years, find lifelong love again in South Carolina. It is a story of lasting love that we’ll never tire of.
Janie Crawford and Vergible “Tea Cake” Woods from Their Eyes Were Watching God
This masterpiece by Zora Neale Hurston follows the journey of Janie Crawford through the seasons of her life. Contained and constrained in every relationship, Janie eventually meets Tea Cake, who emboldens her to embrace her life. Their love story ends in tragedy, but it illuminates in Janie the strength she needs to tell her story and live boldly.
Dolly Parton and Carl Thomas Dean
This couple values their privacy—which is probably why their marriage has lasted so long. They’re going on 51 years as husband and wife, and it couldn’t be sweeter. These two married in 1966 as 20-something lovebirds. If you want to bask in some nostalgia, check out the duo’s wedding dress and suit preserved at Dollywood.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
Faith and Tim are two of the most respected names in country music, and their love story is just as strong. Twenty years after saying “I do,” the two are still going strong, touring, and raising a family through the adventure of life in the spotlight.
Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind
Margaret Mitchell wrote two of the most memorable characters in Southern literature, and their love story is one for the ages. Scarlett and Rhett have a rocky relationship riddled with hardships and tragedy, but their love story demands revisiting again and again—either on the page or through the characters brought to life by Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Swoon.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter
This love story took Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter all the way to the White House. These two married in 1946 in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. Seven decades later, they have proven their devotion to each other, their family, and their country.
Priscilla and Elvis Presley
This rock ‘n roll wedding celebrated ‘round the world was bedecked in Southern charm. Elvis was from Memphis, after all. Elvis and Priscilla met when they were kids and—after courting for eight years—married in 1967.
Ada Monroe and W.P. Inman from Cold Mountain
We love these characters from Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, but we also love them in film version, brought to life by Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. Their love story, set against the backdrop of the Civil War, sees Inman desert the fighting and travel back to meet his love, Ada, who is trying to keep the family farm going amidst the turmoil. The two prove star-crossed, but their love story still transcends many miles, battles, and hardships.
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman
These two actors are know for their Southern roles (Joanne Woodward was also born in Thomasville, Georgia), and they met while filming a film adaptation of “The Long Hot Summer,” which was filled with influences from William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. Their marriage lasted for 50 years, and Woodward left us this piece of wisdom about their love story: “Beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat.”
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!