Chely Wright, at the Grand Ole Opry, August 10, 2019
“I played the Grand Ole Opry for the first time 30 years ago this year. I was introduced and brought on stage by the King of Country Music, Mr. Roy Acuff. And as I walked offstage, full house, flashbulbs were going off, I thought to myself, if I never get to do anything else again, if I never make it in Nashville, I just played the Grand Ole Opry.
And I got lucky. I got to get out there and have a career, have some hit records, make some albums. And the journey has not always been easy, the journey has not always been hard, but it’s been my journey. And a lot has changed over the years. Almost 10 years ago in 2010, I walked on to a show called The Today Show on NBC, and I came out of the closet as an openly gay woman. In this dress. And my life changed in many, many ways.
And now I’m a mom of two identical twin boys, I’m a wife. And I’m out here today because I’m so grateful to folks at the Grand Ole Opry for having me back after all of this time. I’m so grateful to be back here for the 48 year-old me. But I’m also here for the 18 year old me who stood on this stage.
And what I was really thinking that day when I walked off stage waving at the crowd, saying goodbye to Mr. Acuff, what I thought was, if I never get to do anything else in Nashville again, if they find out who I am and I never get to come back or make a record or have my shot in country music, I just did it. And I’m back here tonight for the 48 year-old me, and the 18 year old me to say to her, you are finally home.”