Alan Jackson Biography: His Struggles with Illness and More

Alan jackson biography
Country music star Alan Jackson performs his song "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," at the Pentagon during the Sept. 9 broadcast of ABC's "Good Morning America." Jackson said the song came to him fully formed with music and words when he awoke one morning a few days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Photo by Joe Burlas, September 2002. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Last updated on June 18th, 2023 at 06:07 pm

Alan Jackson is one of the most prominent and beloved singers in country music history. He’s known as the neo-traditionalist with his honest lyrics and classic country sound, delivering number-one hit after number-one hit.

Just like Loretta Lynn was for the women in country music, he has been influential for the men, including Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, and more. The girls have also been inspired, as even Carrie Underwood has named his as the very first concert she ever saw. 

Everyone loves him, but what about the man behind the music? Who is Alan Jackson when he’s off the stage?

Read everything there is to know about Alan Jackson’s biography below.

Alan Jackson Birthday

Alan Eugene Jackson was born October 17, 1958.

Alan Jackson Age

Alan Jackson is 64 years old. 

He’ll celebrate his 65th birthday this year, and we think he looks fantastic for his age.

alan jackson age
Alan Jackson in 2012. Image by Joe Bielawa on Wikimedia Commons.

Alan Jackson Height and Weight

Alan Jackson is long and thin.

How tall is Alan Jackson? Alan Jackson is a whopping 6 foot, 4 inches tall, and a fit 185 pounds.

Where is Alan Jackson From?

Alan Jackson was born in Newnan, Georgia, a small town about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta.

What was Alan Jackson’s Childhood Like?

Alan Jackson was the youngest and only son of Eugene “Daddy Gene” Jackson and Ruth Music “Mama Ruth” Jackson.

With four older sisters born before him, the family of seven lived modestly in a small home built out of and around an old toolshed that belonged to his grandfather. 

The house remained the home of his parents until his father’s passing in 2000 and his mother’s death in 2017.

While he grew up listening to mainly gospel music, he started taking an interest in country music when a friend introduced him to artists such as Hank Williams Jr and Gene Watson. 

Thank goodness for that, or we may have never been gifted with his many notable, classic country music hits.

Where Did Alan Jackson Go to School?

Alan Jackson attended Elm Street Elementary and Newnan High School in Georgia.

Instead of going to college, the future “Tall, Tall Trees” singer began his musical pursuits after graduation, joining the band Dixie Steel.

What Did Alan Jackson Do Before He Became Famous?

Alan Jackson has held many different jobs over the years. He started working at the tender of 12 in a shoe repair shop. He has also been a forklift driver at K-mart.

When he and his wife left Georgia for Nashville in the mid-1980s, he didn’t make it in music immediately. 

As he took the time to hone his songwriting skills, he worked in the Nashville Network mailroom and as a demo singer for various labels.

What Religious Affiliation is Alan Jackson?

Alan Jackson was raised a Christian and on good old-fashioned gospel music, and he has never failed to portray that in some of his most well-written and remembered songs, such as the Grammy Award-winning “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” that he penned after the events of September 11, 2001.  

In 2012, at his mother’s request, the country music superstar recorded a full-length gospel album called Precious Memories, which featured many old-time gospel hits, including “Old Rugged Cross” and “Blessed Assurance.” 

He released the follow-up, Precious Memories Volume II, in 2013.

alan jackson wife
Alan Jackson, wife Denise, daughters Mattie, Dani, and Ali at the Alan Jackson induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, CA. 04-16-10. Image from Shutterstock.

Alan Jackson’s Wife

Alan Jackson is married to his high school sweetheart, Denise Jackson.

Is Alan Jackson still married? Yes. He and his wife have been going strong for 44 beautiful years. They will celebrate 45 years on December 15, 2023.

How old is Alan Jackson’s wife?

Denise Jackson is the same age as her country superstar husband. She is 64.

Why was Alan Jackson Separated From His Wife?

Alan Jackson and his wife, Denise, haven’t been without issues. 

They separated for several months when Jackson’s career strained their marriage in 1998. He had also been unfaithful to his wife during that time.

Thankfully, the couple was able to reconcile, proving that love is strong enough to overcome anything. It makes the two of them sweetly dancing in the country music video for his 2003 hit, “Remember When,” even sweeter to watch.

In 2007, Denise Jackson wrote a best-selling book about their relationship’s ups and downs called It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life

In the book, which topped The New York Times Best Seller list, Denise also talks about her newly revitalized commitment to Christianity.

Alan Jackson’s Daughters

Alan Jackson and his wife are the parents to three daughters – Mattie Denise Selecman, born on June 19, 1990; Alexandra “Ali” Jane, born on August 23, 1993; and Dani Grace, born on August 28, 1997.

Alan Jackson’s Son

Alan Jackson and his wife did not have a son of their own, but their two oldest daughters have given the couple sons-in-law, but they haven’t been without heartache.

What happened to Alan Jackson’s son-in-law?

Tragically, Jackson’s first son-in-law Ben Selecman, the husband of his oldest daughter Mattie, with whom Jackson had a close relationship, passed away in 2018 after sustaining a traumatic head injury when he fell from a dock. 

It all happened while Selecman, who was only 28, was being a Good Samaritan, helping a woman onto a boat.

In May 2021, the “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” singer spoke about the tragic death in an interview with HITS Daily Double. He said: “When [Selecman] died, I was kind of pissed off at the world. I just wasn’t feeling right about anything.”

Noting how Selecman was the first male he had around after growing up with four sisters and raising three daughters, Jackson continued, saying, “Having a son-in-law was having a boy I could fish with, work on cars and stuff with. It was tough losing him so suddenly, so jarring to all of us. I lost something I’d never had before.”

Although Selecman will never be forgotten, Mattie found love again, announcing in September 2022 that she was engaged to her boyfriend, Connor Smith, whom she met through a mutual friend the year prior.

Their upcoming marriage will make another son-in-law for Jackson along with Sam Bradshaw, whom his second daughter, Ali, married in July 2020.

Alan Jackson’s Family

Along with his parents and sisters, wife and daughters, Alan Jackson and Denise Jackson are grandparents to a four-month-old grandson, born in December 2022. The child is the first for their middle daughter Ali and her husband.

Additionally, Jackson’s nephew, Adam Wright, is a country music singer-songwriter like his famous uncle. 

Adam and his wife Shannon worked with Jackson on his twelfth studio album, What I Do, co-writing two songs and providing backup harmony vocals.

Jackson also has a famous cousin, former Major League Baseball player Brandon Moss. 

Over the course of 10 years (2007-2017), Moss played outfielder and first baseman for several teams, including the Kansas City Royals, The St. Louis Cardinals, and the Boston Red Sox.

Alan Jackson’s Friends

Along with his family, Alan Jackson has some high-level friendships, including with fellow country artists Randy Travis, George Strait, and George Jones.

Related: The 15 Best Male Country Singers: A Definitive List

Jones was even a surprise guest during Jackson’s “CMT Giants” ceremony in 2008. During the appearance, Jones thanked the “Chattahoochee” singer for his friendship.

The two remained close, and when George Jones died in 2013, Jackson honored his friend during the funeral service on May 2, 2013, at the Grand Ole Opry, with a rendition of Jones’ classic hit, “He Stopped Lover Her Today” to close it out.

alan jackson friends
Alan Jackson performing in 2012. Image by Joe Bielawa on Wikimedia Commons.

Where Does Alan Jackson Live At?

It is unclear where Alan Jackson lives with his wife currently, but the beloved couple has been known to own some significant real estate in the Nashville suburb of Franklin, Tennessee.

One included a Hilltop House.

How big is Alan Jackson’s house? The Hilltop House is a whopping 22,012 square feet, has five bedrooms and eight bathrooms, and sits on 4.29 acres.

It also includes a pool, a pool house, multiple fireplaces, a media room, an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, terraced lawns, climate-controlled garages, and more.

Alan Jackson’s Illness

In recent years, the question about Alan Jackson’s health has been a big one among fans, with many asking, does Alan Jackson have Parkinson’s disease?

It all became clear during an interview with The Today Show in 2021 when Alan Jackson answered the question the world had been wondering.

So, what disease does Alan Jackson have? He has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or CMT.

He said during the interview, “There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years. And it’s getting more and more obvious. And I know I’m stumbling around on stage. And now I’m having a little trouble balancing, even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable.”

Jackson, who inherited the degenerative genetic condition from his father, had been secretly suffering from the disease for years.

When was Alan Jackson diagnosed with his disease? He was diagnosed in 2011 when the singer was in his early 50s, a late diagnosis for most CMT patients.  

Alan Jackson Hospitalized

How serious is Alan Jackson’s illness?

Well, in 2022, death rumors began trending on the internet after Alan Jackson was hospitalized due to his neurological disorder. The disease has also caused him to have to cancel multiple performances.

In the same interview in which he revealed his disease, Jackson said, “I am aware that on stage, I am stumbling. … I’m suddenly finding it difficult to balance, even in front of the microphone. It won’t kill you. Not that I deny that I’ll be able to tour. I’ll make the best effort I can.”

What is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease is a motor and sensory neuropathy affecting the peripheral nervous system. During the disease, muscle tissues and the sensation of touch are progressively lost.

While symptoms often begin in childhood and adolescence, some people don’t start exhibiting symptoms until their 30s or 40s.

One in 2,500 people is affected by the disease.

alan jackson songs
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN / USA – February 23, 2019: Alan Jackson performs live at Van Andel Arena. Image from Shutterstock.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of CMT?

The initial sign that a person has CMT is a foot drop or an abnormality in a person’s gait. Additionally, weakness in the extremities, as well as a deformity in the lower limbs, are signs as well.

The disease might also result in painful muscle spasms that can potentially become disabling.

All these symptoms can make someone clumsier and have tremors in the extremities.

What is Alan Jackson’s Favorite Food?

In 1995, Alan Jackson showed off his love of food with the release of his “Who Says You Can’t Cook It All” cookbook. One of the meals is reportedly Jackson’s favorite – Brunswick stew and cornbread, with lemon ice box pie for dessert.

That sounds more delicious than the answer to the question, what’s Alan Jackson’s favorite sandwich? A pineapple mayo sandwich just makes our stomachs queasy.

What new things did you learn about Alan Jackson?

You May Also Like:

Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





maroon 5 band posing on the red carpet for a photo in 2011

15 Best Maroon 5 Songs: Discover the Pop Rock Mainstays

Ray Benson

Asleep at the Wheel, Joshua Hedley and Brennen Leigh Showcase Country’s Past, Present and Future at The Dakota