‘American Idol’ Alum Honors Late Husband in First Performance Since His Death

Kellie Pickler was hit hard last year when her husband, Kyle Jacobs, died. Understandably, the American Idol sixth-place finisher stepped out of the public eye to grieve on her own terms. On Monday (April 22), Pickler took the stage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for her first public appearance since February 2023. The “Red High Heels” singer no doubt felt her husband’s presence, and she took a special moment to honor him before she began singing.

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Kellie Pickler Pays Tribute to Patsy Cline, Late Husband

Pickler joined an all-star lineup for “Walkin’ After Midnight: The Music of Patsy Cline.” The artists — including Tanya Tucker and Wynonna Judd — celebrated the life and work of the late, great Patsy Cline. The “Crazy” singer was just 30 when she died in a 1963 plane crash in Camden, Tennessee.

Taking the stage in a bedazzled black-and-white dress, Pickler admitted, “I would be lying if I didn’t say I was not incredibly nervous right now.”

“It’s the first time I’ve been up onstage in awhile,” she continued.

Pickler performed “The Woman I Am,” the title track from her 2013 studio album. The song nods at Cline’s influence on the 37-year-old North Carolina native’s musical career: Sometimes I cry at night / I fall to pieces with Patsy Cline.

It was already the perfect tribute to one of country music’s biggest trailblazers. But that night, the song was equally poignant for a different reason.

“My husband and I actually wrote this song together, gosh, over a decade ago,” Pickler revealed. “The last time I was here in the Ryman Auditorium was with him on a date night. And I know he is here with us tonight.”\

It was clearly a meaningful night for the “Best Days of Your Life” singer, and fans were happy to see it. “She sounds better than she ever has vocally, she looks amazing,” one TikTok user wrote. “and she sang that like she wanted her hubby to hear her..Just beautiful.”

Remembering Kyle Jacobs

Jacobs passed away at the age of 49 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an autopsy confirmed. The couple was together for more than 15 years. They got engaged in June 2010 and wed in January 2011.

[RELATED: Lee Brice Remembers Songwriter Kyle Jacobs: “He Was One of the Best People”]

Jacobs was a hit songwriter and producer based in Nashville. He produced several of Lee Brice’s albums, including the chart-topping I Don’t Dance in 2014. Jacobs was also the co-writer behind such hits as Garth Brooks’ No. 1 “More Than a Memory” which he wrote with Brice, and “8th World Wonder” by Kimberly Locke.

Featured image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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