SHORT TAKES : Wynette Broke Pact, Judge Rules

Country singer Tammy Wynette breached a contract to perform on a cruise ship but promoters can’t collect damages because they replaced Wynette with a hotter singer, a chancery judge ruled.

Wynette’s lawyer, S. Ralph Gordon, argued that Wynette, “whose career had peaked some years prior, was replaced with the hottest female artist on the country music charts,” Reba McEntire.

But promoters who said they lost more than $250,000 in the deal filed a lawsuit against Wynette, whose hits include “Stand by Your Man” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”

Wynette’s husband-manager, George Richey, agreed in April, 1985, that Wynette and her band would perform on the cruise ship Emerald Seas in December, 1985, in exchange for 13 cabins, food and drink for the band and $2,000.


Richey later decided that Wynette should instead appear at that time in Las Vegas for more than $100,000. He testified before Chancellor C. Allen High that he made the Vegas deal only after trying to reach promoter Kelly Albert for more than two months. Richey said he assumed the cruise had been canceled.

In July, 1985, the promoters signed McEntire.