Kellie Pickler Returns to the Stage for First Time Since Husband’s Death: ‘I Know He Is Here’

For the first time since the death of her husband last year, Kellie Pickler returned to the stage Monday night to perform at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for a tribute concert to Patsy Cline.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was not incredibly nervous right now,” Pickler said when she hit the stage. “It’s the first time I’ve been up on stage in a while.”

Kyle Jacobs, a songwriter/producer and Pickler’s husband of 12 years, died by suicide in February 2023. He was 49 years old.

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On Monday night, according to a TikTok video posted by Music Mayhem magazine, Pickler performed her song “The Woman I Am,” from her 2013 album of the same name, which she co-wrote with Jacobs.

“My husband and I actually wrote this song together, gosh, over a decade ago,” Pickler said onstage. “The last time I was here in the Ryman Auditorium was with him on a date night, and I know he is here with us tonight.”

Watch Pickler’s return to the stage below:

Jacobs’ songwriting credits included Garth Brooks’ Hot Country Songs chart-topper “More Than a Memory,” as well as songs recorded by Trace Adkins, Clay Walker and more. Jacobs also produced several Lee Brice hits, including “I Drive Your Truck,” “Hard to Love,” “Rumor” and “Drinking Class,” and was a producer on Brice’s 2020 album Hey World.

Jacobs and Pickler got married in January 2011 and previously starred together on the reality show I Love Kellie Pickler. Pickler competed on American Idol in 2006 and finished in sixth place, later earning a Country Airplay top 10 hit with “Best Days of Your Life.”

Pickler broke her silence following Jacobs’ death in a statement to People magazine last August, writing: “One of the most beautiful lessons my husband taught me was in a moment of a crisis, if you don’t know what to do, ‘Do nothing, just be still.’ I have chosen to heed his advice.”

If you’re thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours, at 988.