Gwyneth Paltrow, Country Strong

Screen Gems

I'm a country girl—born and raised in Eastern Washington State, where there are rodeos and ranches, cowboys and Wranglers. When I was 18, I left it all behind for the big city of LA—Rodeo Drive and palm trees and movie stars and Prada. I tried desperately to fit in, sometimes even pretending to be someone I wasn't. And I had one really big secret.  A secret I barely told my closest friends out of fear I might be ridiculed and laughed at.  

I was a country music fan.

I know, I know. Country music is cool. Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood are two of the biggest stars out there. But no, I was a country fan when country wasn't cool. And especially in LA. "Country music?  That's lame."  And so I'd listen in the seclusion of my own home or listen in my car to the one country music station in L.A. but only when the windows were rolled up. When my favorite artists came to town—finding someone to go with me was difficult.  It wasn't until I converted my once nay-saying best friend into a bonafide country fan that I finally had a country music ally.  

Then I moved to Texas where country music was everywhere. I didn't have to pretend anymore. I was free to be the twang-loving, toe-tapping, fiddle-listening country fan I wanted to be and I was in heaven.

I've come a long way from those days of shame. I just spent the last three days in Nashville—the most glorious place for country music—interviewing my favorite country artists and geeking out like the true fan that I am—and I did it all on national television for everyone to see.

And now I can declare this proudly, "I am a country music fan!"  

Check out my CMA Awards interviews right here!

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