The following year, Grant and Chapman sought divorce mediation. "Not being able to fix things took a toll," says Nuismer. "The family was fractured."
In 1999, Grant moved out. Soon after her divorce became final, she and Gill started dating. "It was hard," Gill admits. "The kids, the popularity of our lives, a lot of tongues waggin'." Luckily, the local press was kind — and at the time both of their ex-spouses refrained from discussing the split.
The relationship deepened quickly, and in March of 2000, Gill and Grant married in an outdoor ceremony on her property. From the beginning each started improving the other — Grant softening Gill's ire, which has often flared on the golf course, and Gill striving to keep Grant focused. ("She can't multitask," he says. "She'll start the bathwater and then forget it.")
Blending families was more challenging. The newlyweds returned from a honeymoon in Beaver Creek, Colorado, only to embark on a spring-break trip to hell in Hawaii with Grant's children — Matt, Millie, and Sarah, who were 12, 10, and 7 — all of whom resented the new man in Mommy's life.
"You make me sick. Put a shirt on," Millie chastised Gill when he walked around bare chested. Matt played his mom's protector, warning Gill: "If you ever hurt my mother, I'm going to kill you." Gill remained patient, content to be Grant's husband — not an authority figure to her kids. Time passed, and "I hate you" and "I don't choose you" eventually evolved into acceptance.
"All those things had been said, so when it finally turned to tolerance, respect, and, best-case scenario, love — oh, that was quite a journey," says Grant. "It's like a broken bone that grows stronger if it heals properly."
Corrina's birth in 2001 helped promote the healing. "[She's] the glue of this whole family," Gill says. "She bonded all of us in a blood way that really did connect us."
Like Gill's daughter, Jenny, 29, who has sung on her father's albums, Corrina shows a flair for music. Last year she performed with her mother at Lipscomb University. "She belted out her part like Whitney Houston, giving it everything she had," Gill recalls. "When she got done, the crowd madly cheered. She did this double-fisted pump, 'Yeah!' And I said, ' We're screwed.' "