‘George & Tammy’: Meet the Players in Showtime’s Country Biopic

George & Tammy - Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain as George Jones and Tammy Wynette
Dana Hawley/Showtime

Tammy Wynette famously sang “Stand By Your Man,” but her husband George Jones didn’t always make that easy, as Showtime viewers will see in George & Tammy.

The biopic series — which premieres on Sunday, December 4, at 9/8c with a simulcast on Paramount Network — will show how the couple’s “complicated but enduring relationship inspired some of the most iconic music of all time,” as Showtime says.

“With over 30 No. 1 country songs between them, including duets ‘We’re Gonna Hold On,’ ‘Golden Ring’ and ‘Near You,’ George and Tammy’s legacy, both musically and romantically, remains one of the greatest love stories ever told,” the premium cable network adds.

Ahead of George & Tammy’s premiere, scroll down to see the cast in character and to learn about the real-life people they’re portraying.

George & Tammy, Series Premiere, Sunday, December 4, 9/8c, Showtime

George & Tammy - Jessica Chastain as Tammy Wynette
Dana Hawley/Showtime

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Wynette

Known as the “First Lady of Country,” Wynette had recorded more than 50 albums, sold more than 30 million recordings, and charted 20 No. 1 country hits by the time she died at age 55 in 1998, according to her New York Times obituary.

Born Virginia Wynette Pugh in Itawamba County, MI, the singer worked as a beautician by day and performed at clubs at night in her 20s before moving to Nashville and signing with Epic Records in 1966. She hit the Top 10 in 1967 and reached No. 1 with the tracks “Stand By Your Man,” “Take Me to Your World,” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” the following year.

“Her voice had a husky center, with melancholy balanced by determination; she sounded like an Everywoman with unexpected reserves of strength and affection,” the Times’ Jon Pareles wrote. (For her part, Wynette once said she was “not the best singer in the world, just the loudest.”)

George & Tammy - Michael Shannon as George Jones
Dana Hawley/Showtime

Michael Shannon as George Jones

Jones, who died in 2013 at age 81, was the country singer behind hits like “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” But he was also a troubled man who struggled with alcoholism and earned the nickname “No-Show Jones” for his concert cancellations, according to CNN. “George might show up flyin’ high, if George shows up at all,” Waylon Jennings once sang. “But he may be, unconsciously, the greatest of them all.”

Growing up in an impoverished household with a violent father, Jones taught himself guitar and performed in Beaumont, TX, as a teenager. He scored a hit with 1955’s “Why, Baby, Why,” and he moved to Nashville in 1959, the year he recorded his first No. 1, “White Lightning.”

Both Jones and Wynette had already been married twice by the time they tied the knot in 1969. (The Times reported that Jones fell for Wynette as they toured together, and after he walked in on an argument between her and Don Chapel, her second husband, he upended a dining room table and professed his love for her.) But their relationship was a rocky one, and Wynette alleged that he once fired a rifle in her direction in a drunken rage. They divorced in 1975, and Jones later remarried.

George & Tammy - Steve Zahn as George Richey
Dana Hawley/Showtime

Steve Zahn as George Richey

Richey was a session musician, a music director for Hee Haw, and the songwriter behind Wynette’s “’Til I Can Make It on My Own” and “You and Me,” Jones’ “A Picture of Me (Without You)” and “The Grand Tour,” and Wynette and Jones’ duet “We Loved It Away.” He married Wynette in 1978 after her relationship with Jones, and the duo remained together until her death.

George & Tammy - David Wilson as Barnes Billy Sherrill
Dana Hawley/Showtime

David Wilson Barnes as Billy Sherrill

Sherrill was the Epic Records producer who signed Wynette in 1966 and thought up her stage name, according to the Times. He also produced and co-wrote “Stand By Your Man.” And after Jones moved to Epic Records, Sherrill produced his hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Sherrill was enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and passed away in 2015 at age 78.

George & Tammy - Walton Goggins as Earl 'Peanutt' Montgomery
Brownie Harris/Showtime

Walton Goggins as Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery

Montgomery is a singer, songwriter, and Baptist minister who played with Bob Dylan, Etta James and Patsy Cline, per the Roots of American Music Trail. He wrote 73 songs that Jones recorded, including several of Jones and Wynette’s duets.

George & Tammy - Pat Healy as Don Chapel
Brownie Harris/Showtime

Pat Healy as Don Chapel

Chapel, Wynette’s second husband, was a songwriter whose work was recorded by more than 50 members of the Grand Ole Opry, according to USA Today. He wrote songs for both Wynette and Jones, though his biggest hit was Jones’ song “When the Grass Grows Over Me.” Chapel died in 2015 at age 84.