It was the best of times and the worst of times for these country stars in 2014.
For stars like Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan, their songs took on new meaning this year through the triumph and tragedy that goes hand-in-hand with country music. Below, see which singers' real lives mirrored the music in 2014.
PICS: Flashback! Country Stars Then and Now
1. Luke Bryan, “Drink a Beer”: Tragedy struck the Bryan family yet again this year, as the country singer's brother-in-law Lee passed away at 46 years old. The loss comes years after Bryan lost both his siblings to unrelated, tragic circumstances. Bryan’s sister Kelly, Lee’s wife, passed away mysteriously in 2007 at 39 years old. Years earlier, Bryan’s brother was killed in a car accident. Bryan recorded his heartbreaking hit “Drink a Beer” in their honor, and after Lee’s death -- when he was forced to cancel an appearance at the CMT Artists of the Year honors – Lady Antebellum stepped up to perform the song and pay tribute to the family on live television.
2. Miranda Lambert, “Platinum”: Her latest album may not have been certified Platinum (yet) but this blonde is on a roll. Lambert stepped out looking better than ever on her album publicity tour early this year, nabbed her first No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200, and closed out 2014 with four GRAMMY nominations. “Platinum represents a lifestyle for me,” Lambert said this year. “It’s the color of my hair, wedding ring, my airstream trailer, so it’s just a natural fit for the name of my new album and it’s why we decided to name to tour Platinum, too.” Lambert’s Certified Platinum Tour will continue to roll through 30 cities in the New Year.
3. Jason Aldean, “Show You Off”: Just one year after filing for divorce, Aldean made it official with girlfriend Brittany Kerr – the same girl he was caught kissing back in 2012 while he was still married. Aldean and Kerr made their red carpet couple debut in March of this year at the CMT Awards and in September, the pair announced their engagement. Don’t like it? Aldean boldly told his relationship haters to “get over it” in an interview with Billboard magazine. Safe to say the 37-year-old is happy to be “showing off” his new fiancée.
WATCH: Aw! 2014 Cutest Country Serenades
4. Garth Brooks, “People Loving People”: The returning country icon practiced what he preached this year, putting his fans first and making headlines with feel-good, positive stories that restored our faith in goodness. To wit: Brooks’ tearful interaction with cancer patient and lifelong fan Teresa Shaw, after her sign reading “Chemo this morning. Garth tonight. Enjoy the dance” caught his eye at a Minneapolis concert. Brooks re-lived the “beautiful moment” days later when ET surprised him with a visit from Shaw on our set. ET was also with Brooks this year as he joined social media in an effort to create a more direct, meaningful connection with his fans.
5. Brantley Gilbert, “17 Again”: This year, the 29-year-old made it official with an engagement to his longtime love, Georgia teacher Amber Cochran. In interviews with The Bobby Bones Show and People, Gilbert confessed that he and Cochran had been “on-and-off” for a decade and that she had inspired songs like “More Than Miles” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.” Speaking with Taste of Country, Gilbert revealed the story behind what could be one of the most country proposals ever. “She thought I was huntin’,” he said, explaining that decoy allowed him to surprise her with a ring and a song in the church where they first met.
Though 2014 has been big for Gilbert with his Let It Ride headlining tour and an American Music Award for Favorite Country Album, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the singer. Just last year, Gilbert broke off a high-profile engagement to fellow country star Jana Kramer and in 2011 he sought professional help to battle his alcohol addiction.
WATCH: Behind the Scenes of Carrie Underwood's Epic New Video
6. Carrie Underwood, “Mama’s Song”: Underwood’s hit track may not be new this year, but it is featured on her newly-released Greatest Hits: Decade #1 album. And of all the songs we love from the 31-year-old, it’s “Mama’s Song” that suddenly became the most poignant when Underwood announced her pregnancy in September. We can’t wait to see that little baby when he arrives in 2015!
7. Ty Herndon, “Lies I Told Myself”: Though his latest album hit shelves in 2013, the 52-year-old sat down with ET in November of this year to reveal the biggest lie he ever told himself: “That I couldn’t be gay in country music.” Herndon made the brave decision to come out on national television this year, prompting fellow country artist Billy Gilman to also come out in a video confessional on YouTube. “Traditionally in country music, we don’t see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that’s changing so much,” Herndon told ET. "Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] 'follow your arrow, wherever it points' and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song."
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