For most of his early life, George Jones was a gifted artist with a drinking problem and self-destructive bent, but there's nothing like the love of a good woman to turn a guy around.

"She saved my life," the singer says of wife Nancy (nee Sepulvedo), whom he married in 1983.

His wife admits she had her doubts about getting into a relationship with the legendary artist.

"I'd heard the horror stories," Nancy Jones comments in People, "but I'm of the opinion you don't believe it 'til you see it. I ended up seeing plenty of it, but we just clicked. I saw a lot of good in a man who was being totally destroyed."

Nancy Jones helped the country legend quit drinking and put his career back on track, and they were able to celebrate 30 years of marriage before his death.

Jones passed away at the age of 81 on April 26, 2013, but his devoted wife is ensuring that his memory is not forgotten. A special monument was erected in Jones' honor at his grave site, and Nancy Jones planned an event celebrating his life one year after Jones' death.

This story was originally written by Deborah Evans-Price, and revised by Christina Vinson.