Tabernacles & Taverns
"I apologize for being in yesterday's clothes," Grant says the next morning, entering the den of the couple's plantation-style home in an exclusive section of Nashville. "I got up early to take Corrina to school." Chances are, the Gills' 10-year-old daughter has the school's most glamorous mother. Corrina's father, comfy in a T-shirt and jeans, clearly would concur. "What's funny is I see old photographs of Amy in her 20s, and she's much prettier these days." A laugh. "She still does it for me."
Despite their attraction, Gill and Grant initially wondered if they were a match, he fretting that she might find him too rough-edged, and she worrying he'd find her too quiet. And their upbringings were different. Gill grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, the son of a judge who was, says Gill, "more red-dirt Okie than big-shot lawyer." Gill's family were party people, "very matter-of-fact." While Grant grew up in the Church of Christ, singing for God on Sunday and on Wednesday nights, Gill played beer joints, less concerned with the afterlife than honky-tonk heaven.
He was a wounded child, close to his mother and born with crossed eyes. (He had two surgeries while young, and to this day his left eye wanders when he's tired. Two years ago he began wearing glasses nearly full-time.) When Vince was 10, his older half brother, Bob, suffered a head injury in a car crash, and struggled the rest of his life. (He died of a heart attack in 1993.) Young Vince, to ease his pain, learned to hide himself behind humor or to retreat inside the sorrowful sounds of bluegrass and country music.
Grant, the youngest of four children born to a Nashville radiation oncologist and his wife, was a dutiful child, albeit with a sharp sense of humor. From the time she was a small girl, riding horses on the family farm, she knew that her great-grandparents had willed the property, worth $13 million, to the faith-based Lipscomb University. "That way, it would go to what they believed in and not to us," says Grant. "My family very intentionally taught me proactive giving."