Joy Williams Reveals the Real Reason Behind Civil War's Breakup

Joy Williams

Singer and songwriter Joy Williams started her career as a Contemporary Christian artist.  She released 4 Christian albums and received 11 Dove Award nominations.  Later, she met her musical counterpart in former duo partner John Paul White.  Together, they form the rootsy pop duo Civil Wars. Civil Wars won 4 Grammys and they were awarded a gold album.  However, the duo broke up in last year. 

Williams' husband, Nate Yetton, served as the duo's manager.

Recently, Williams returned back to music as a solo artist when she released her deeply spiritual album "Venus."  An album that received lots of critically acclaim and it features the lead single "Woman (Oh Mama)."

For the first time since the breakup of Civil Wars, Williams reveals the status of her relationship with White: "I'm sad, because we don't speak anymore. And, yeah, I feel like I'm looking at a ghost in a way," she says. "And I think rumors, rumors, rumors, so many rumors were, you know, circulated ...

"And I think that, a lot of times, that's what people, I think, are gravitated to, on top of the music itself, was this sort of fascination of, 'But they're not married, but there's this ... there's this creative connection that's very strong,'" Williams continues. "And it was very strong. Until it wasn't."

Managing her marriage to Yetton and her artistic relationship with White was a balancing act for Williams.

"'How do we stay connected as a couple in order for that to not be something that gets in the way or gets in the middle?' And that was something that we worked really hard on in our marriage throughout the existence of the Civil Wars," she explains of her marriage. "... Saying yes to something means saying no to something else. Saying no to something means saying yes to something else. You have to weigh ... you have to weigh those questions very deeply. And um ... that happened for me."

Once the Civil Wars broke up, things got worse in Williams' and Yetton's relationship as well.

"When the family business of, you know, of the Civil Wars, when it collapsed, it collapsed on multiple fronts for me and for Nate, and ... and we almost gave up. We almost quit on each other," she says. "We didn't make any grand declarations that we would stay together. We kind of took that off the table. I went to, you know, a therapist on my own, and then Nate and I went to couples therapy, and it was huge. It was huge for us."

In the time since, their relationship has healed, and Williams says that she's made big strides in not only appreciating her husband more but giving herself more grace as well.  "God, I'm so much more in love with the man sitting across the dining room table than I have ever been," she says. "And I think I'm more loving towards myself. And ... man, we ... I mean, God, do we know each other's ins and outs."

Venus is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.


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