Inside Loretta Lynn And Patsy Cline's Deep Friendship

Loretta Lynn will forever be remembered as one of country music's biggest stars, but she didn't get there alone. Fighting a male-dominated industry at the beginning of her career, Lynn found support from other female singers, including best friends Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline. As the singer once said, "Best friends are like husbands. You only need one at a time" (via Cleveland.com).

Lynn's friendship with Cline, in particular, became that of country legend. They first met in 1961 when they were both 29 years old. Cline was a few months older than Lynn, and Lynn looked up to her as a mentor (via Biography). They quickly became incredibly close, discovering that they had dozens of things in common, including their record label and producer.

The singers only knew each other for a short while, as Cline tragically died in a plane crash two years after they first met (via American Songwriter). However, those two years felt like a lifetime for Lynn, who has described their deep friendship in detail.

Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline met just as Lynn's career was taking off

Patsy Cline was the first to reach out to Loretta Lynn (via Biography). They met after Cline heard Lynn perform one of her songs while she was in the hospital recovering from a car accident that nearly killed her. Having heard the news of Cline's accident, Lynn dedicated the song to her. Cline asked her husband to arrange a meeting with Lynn, and the two clicked immediately.

As Lynn was still learning what it was to be a country singer, Cline took her under her wing. "She taught June Carter, Dottie West and me so much," Lynn told People. "She taught us everything about singin', about how to act onstage, how to stagger the numbers, how to dress." Speaking on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" in 2016, Lynn also recalled how Cline would cook for her whenever she visited and would root through her closet for clothes. "She'd load me down before the night was over," she said. Cline even taught her how to drive and shave her legs (via ABC News).

Cline helped Lynn build her confidence as a singer

In her memoir, "Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn wrote that Patsy Cline "put the stamp of approval on" her when other singers were jealous that she was regularly performing at the Grand Ole Opry despite being relatively new to the business. Cline gave her the confidence she needed to make it in the industry, as she explained to Nashville Scene. "After I met Patsy, life got better for me because I fought back. Before that, I just took it ... later on, I started speakin' my mind when things weren't right."

So, when Cline suddenly died after flying home from a benefit concert in 1963 (via American Songwriter), it hit Lynn like a ton of bricks. "When I heard that morning Patsy was gone, I said out loud, 'What am I going to do?'," she told People. "It was like a rug had been pulled out from under me. She was my friend, my mentor, my strength."

Lynn wrote a memoir in 2020 about her close bond with Cline

A year after Patsy Cline's death, Loretta Lynn gave birth to twin daughters — naming one Patsy in honor of her close friend and mentor (via Biography). Lynn regularly spoke about Cline during interviews, but she decided to share more intimate details of their friendship and bond in her 2020 memoir "Me & Patsy Kickin' Up Dust." In the first chapter, Lynn describes how she hasn't "stopped loving Patsy or thinking about her and talking to her" and that "she changed [her] life forever."

Lynn told Sounds Like Nashville that she often found herself thinking about what Cline would be doing if she were still alive today. "It would be something else. I can't even imagine," the singer said. "It's too bad we weren't together more and longer. We would have tore up Nashville for sure." As for the effect she wanted the book to have on its readers, Lynn said she hoped, "the girls that read this book get good friends like me and Patsy was. If you've got a good friend, you've got everything."