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The Most Heartbreaking Moments In George And Tammy

Some genres come and go, but music biopics never seem to be out of fashion in Hollywood. There's been a spate in recent years, with the likes of Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" proving that the appetite for them remains high. Showtime got in on the act with Abe Sylvia's "George and Tammy," a six-part miniseries based on a memoir by Georgette Jones, daughter of country music super couple George Jones and Tammy Wynette. The show tells the story of George (Michael Shannon) and (Jessica Chastain) as they carve out a place in country music history.

However, it wasn't just their music that George and Tammy were known for — the two stars had a troubled six-year marriage plagued by scandals, domestic abuse, and addiction. "George and Tammy" provides a sincere portrayal of how their passionate romance interweaved with their professional life over the years. We've compiled a list of the most heartbreaking moments the series has to offer. Spoilers ahead.

This article contains discussions of addiction and domestic abuse.

George acknowledges Tammy's talent

In Episode 1, Tammy and her band become the opening act for George on his 1968 tour, and the two slowly get to know each other. During one of their early interactions, Tammy offers to wash George's hair since she was a hairdresser before becoming a full-time musician. He can't help himself and starts flirting with her, but the conversation quickly turns serious when George mentions his second wife doesn't want him back anymore. Tammy attempts to change the subject to lighten the mood and begins talking about performing. George doesn't waste a second to compliment her voice and says he loves the way she sings. This clearly catches Tammy by surprise because she's suddenly overcome with emotion. With teary eyes, she replies that she's waited her whole life for him to say something like that.

It's only a fleeting moment, but Jessica Chastain superbly conveys the hardship with her eyes and a single facial expression. We feel what it means to Tammy to be acknowledged by a successful musician like George Jones. Despite barely knowing her, it's clear that he deeply respects her as a woman (and as a mother), which comes across beautifully in this scene. He understands her struggle because he saw the pain in her eyes when she sang during a rehearsal. It's an emotional moment that assures the viewer there's more to come.

George gets emotional watching Anthony Quinn

In the second episode, Tammy and George are having a quiet night after a gig behind closed doors. George watches Ralph Nelson's "Requiem For a Heavyweight" on television when Tammy joins him in bed. The movie stars the late Anthony Quinn playing a boxer who once fought against Cassius Clay (later and more famously known as Muhammad Ali), but now he's nothing but a burned out athlete whose better days are behind him. George explains to Tammy that this guy was the best, but now he's only a sideshow. Then George likens his fading career to the character and reveals his fear of having the same fate in life — he nearly chokes up sharing these deep-rooted feelings.

It becomes apparent that he's terrified of being forgotten as a singer. Making music is everything to him, even if he often considers show business a toxic and unhealthy environment. The scene is poignant because Michael Shannon aptly conveys the humanity of it all, making us consider that big stars are just people with fears and anxieties. He channels all the insecurity and inner worry that eat at George's soul as his star begins to fade.

The first time George gets aggressive with Tammy

Later in Episode 2, George gets upset over a board game he plays with the band and Tammy while drinking heavily. He becomes so drunk that he needs to be carried to his room, where he passes out. Upon waking up, he notices that Tammy is standing at the door, smoking. Still intoxicated, he thinks Tammy is about to leave him, even though she tells him several times she's not going anywhere.

After stumbling around to put his pants on, George becomes enraged and aggressive and lashes out at his wife — he shoves her to the wall, and, when Tammy tries to run away, he chases after her. This is the first time we witness the violence that Shannon's George is capable of when he has one too many, getting upset over trivial things and misunderstandings. His suppressed anger gets the better of him, and he hurts the person who loves him the most in this scene. It's a shocking and moving moment.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Tammy tells George about her shock therapy

When Tammy returns in the morning, George apologizes and says it won't happen again. She replies by sharing a devastating story about the first time she tried to leave a man. She recounts how her mother took her kids and put her in a hospital where she underwent shock therapy — which we see in painful detail in the episode's cold open. At the time, she was four months pregnant, and as a consequence, her daughter was born too early and almost died at birth.

Tammy says that what helped her recover — mentally and emotionally — was Jones' music. She listened to his albums on her mom's record player and followed his voice to Nashville. After what happened only minutes earlier, this confession is especially heartbreaking. The scene also speaks volumes about the pedestals that people often put their heroes on without knowing what kind of people they are in real life.

The birth of George and Tammy's first child

Episode 3 begins with George and his band waiting in the hospital to welcome his first child, Georgette Jones. When the doctor takes him to see Tammy and their daughter, he also tells George that there were complications during the birth. They had to perform a hysterectomy. Understandably, George is worried about his wife when he steps into the room, but Tammy quickly assures him that everything's fine — she won't let what happened to her ruin this lovely moment.

Tammy tells George to come and meet his daughter. He's clearly overcome with a bundle of emotions and calls Georgette a miracle. The scene is heartbreaking because, while they both immerse themselves in happiness due to the arrival of their first child, this is also the beginning of a long battle against pain for Tammy. She will suffer from the repercussions for the rest of her life. Her assorted health problems " led to a decades-long addiction to painkillers and contributed to her early death at age 55," according to Country Living.

George shares a childhood memory with Tammy

After bringing Georgette home, Tammy and George lie in bed having a tender conversation. George opens up about his childhood for the first time, revealing that his cruel father used to beat him and force him to sing. One day he ran away to his sister's place and stayed there for a while to hide from their dad, he says. His sister's spouse was a cotton farmer who got George to help him in the field. He was supposed to spill some poison to save the cobs against insects, but he made a mistake and ruined the entire area.

Expecting a beating, George tried to run away, but he wasn't fast enough. His sister's husband caught up to him, but instead of beating or scolding him, he just hugged the young boy. Thanks to Shannon's delicate delivery, we really feel like we're there. The actor is great at playing the masculine side of the country legend, but he nails the sensitive side, too. This scene is a truly happy-sad moment and one of the most intimate in the series.

George thinks nobody wants him happy

After failing to show up in Las Vegas for a huge gig — on account of another drunk episode and getting arrested — George arrives a day late in Nevada. Understandably, Tammy is really mad at him. He tries to explain his way out of the mess with a vague excuse, saying he didn't want to come in the first place because performing for a Vegas audience is a monkey show. George protests that their love shouldn't be on display for everybody else, but Tammy doesn't buy it this time. She tells him that he let her down and stood her up before a big crowd that paid so much to see them both.

By this point, Tammy has come to realize that George simply can't bear happiness, something she said of him in real life. In the show, George responds with, "Nobody wants me happy." With tears in her eyes and a tremble in her voice, Tammy replies, "I do." This scene is a testament to Tammy's unrelenting devotion to George. Even when he's a self-destructive, selfish, and resentful man, hurting everyone around him, she can't stop loving him. And he knows that no one else would put up with these flaws and accept him despite them. It's a deeply felt moment that reveals the fragile, flawed, yet unbreakable connection between the two.

George goes on a drunken rampage

It's Christmas in Episode 4 of "George and Tammy," but it's not a merry one. When George comes home drunk from a local bar, it spells trouble. He can barely stand when he steps into the living room and sees Tammy and her girlfriends playing cards. He wants to join the game but passes out like a bag of bricks. They have to carry him up the stairs and put him in bed to sleep it off.

While Tammy is trying to take his pants off, he wakes up and knocks her so hard that she falls on the floor. She tries to escape, but George grabs her legs and attacks her. He's clearly delusional, talking without making any sense. Tammy manages to fight him off and get away, but before she can leave the house, George grabs his shotgun and begins shooting up the place. Fortunately, Tammy manages to get out the door with her friends with no injuries.

It's disturbing to see George act so violently with his wife. At this point, it becomes more obvious that he has some inner demons and unresolved traumas from his childhood due to his abusive father. This uncontrolled fit of rage ends up being the last straw for Tammy, who, after this incident, decides to file for divorce. This heartbreaking scene is based on Wynette's own 1979 autobiography, in which she claimed that Jones harassed her with a rifle while drunk, something he denied.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

George records The Grand Tour

As their divorce turns final, George — anguished and lost — records "The Grand Tour," which becomes one of his biggest hits. While he pours his heart out in the studio, singing the tragically fitting lyrics, we also see Tammy in excruciating pain that almost breaks her. She goes to the bathroom and takes a handful of pills. Later, she's in a hospital where the doctor informs her producer and new love interest, George Richey (Steve Zahn), that they had to pump her stomach, and the signs suggest that she attempted suicide. He also adds that she urgently needs surgery — which she has been putting off — considering the bad condition she's currently in.

The combination of the music, the lyrics, Tammy's health, and the end of their marriage create an emotionally devastating mix of drama that tugs at our heartstrings with great potency. You can't help but feel for both of them in this situation.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Peanutt consoles George

After their divorce, Tammy and George try to get on with their lives without each other. While Tammy is becoming more successful and famous, George feels lost and aimless, drinking himself closer to death each day. He visits his great buddy Peanutt (Walton Goggins), who's an entirely new person now. He's settled down, got married, quit the booze, and found God. Even George can hardly believe his transformation.

Over a meal, George claims that he's nothing but a failure. The good things he built — such as his career, home, and family — are all gone now. He destroyed everything with his toxic lifestyle and poor behavior. Peanutt sees how much he's hurting and asks if he can pray over him. Though reluctantly, George lets him. In his prayer, Peanutt starts listing his friend's sins and how he let down everybody who ever loved him. Given his fragile mental state, George just can't take it and breaks down, weeping.

The scene serves as a reckoning. Since we saw how he wrecked good relationships and alienated nearly everyone who ever cared about him, we empathize with his pain. Although he's not absolved of his past mistakes, his regrets are pure and honest, showing that despite everything that has happened, his heart is still in the right place. And, importantly, he takes full responsibility for his actions.

Tammy and George Richey's wedding

After leaving George, Tammy starts having an affair with her married songwriter and record producer George Richey. He slowly takes control of the star and manipulates her into marrying him after he files for divorce from his wife. He becomes her full-time manager and is responsible for her finances. Their relationship is mainly built on Tammy's addiction to painkillers, which Richey discretely takes care of in the show.

In Episode 5, we see them on their wedding day. Tammy's bridesmaids attempt to talk her out of marrying Richey, but she sends them away. When she comes out of the makeup room, she's so high on painkillers that she can hardly walk. She's on the verge of crying, stumbling around, but goes through with the ceremony anyway. She even gives a devastating and depressing speech.

On top of everything, we notice that George is there, watching from afar as his true love marries a man who took advantage of her addiction, according to her daughter. "There are some people who witnessed mom saying she didn't want any pain medication, to not give her anymore and Richey would continue to inject her anyway," Georgette Jones wrote in a 2011 book (via The Boot). "There were times when she did want it because she was in pain and he refused to give it to her."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

George records He Stopped Loving Her Today

In the finale, George's producer Billy (David Wilson Barnes) stops by his bar to tell him that he's got a new song for him. It's about a man who never stopped loving a woman until the day he died. It takes some convincing, but George eventually agrees to record the melody. Jump to six months later, and we see that he still can't bring himself to do it — he says it's just too sad. Billy eventually convinces Tammy to come to the studio and help George finally record the tune. The trick works. He musters up all the energy and emotion left in him and sings "He Stopped Loving Her Today" for his ex-wife for the first time.

Other than acknowledging each other's presence, there's no interaction between George and Tammy. Yet their intense chemistry is almost palpable as Michael Shannon gives his everything to deliver a true heartbreaker of a song — especially in this context. It's tragic and beautiful at the same time, conveying all the highs and lows that they went through over the years. It's the culmination of the series and one of its most emotional moments.