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Sara Evans and Ex Craig Schelske’s Marriage Counselor Set Her Up With Now-Husband Jay Barker

Sara Evans and Ex Husband Craig Schelske s Marriage Counselor Set Her Up With Now Husband Jay Barker 418
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Sara Evans and her now-husband, Jay Barker, don’t have a typical meet-cute story.

“Jay and I were introduced by a marriage counselor,” Evans, 53, explained on an episode of Tori Spelling’s podcast “MisSpelling” on Tuesday, April 30. “He and his [then]-wife were separated. [My ex-husband] Craig [Schelske] and I were going through marriage counseling because I didn’t believe in divorce.”

Evans and Schelske, 60, were married from 1993 to 2007 and share son Avery, 24 and daughters Olivia, 21, and Audrey, 19. One year after her divorce was finalized, the country singer tied the knot with Barker, 51. (Barker was previously married to Amy DiGiovanna from 1995 to 2007 and the twosome share children Andrew, Braxton and twins Sarah Ashlee and Harrison.)

The “I Could Not Ask For More” singer went on to share that Evans and Schelske attended the same marriage counseling as Barker and his ex-wife – and ultimately the therapist, Joe, set Evans and Barker up despite usually wanting to keep couples together.

Sara Evans and Jay Barker relationship timeline

Related: Sara Evans and Husband Jay Barker’s Relationship Timeline

“Joe calls me and says ‘I’ve never done this before because I’ve spent my life trying to keep marriages together, but I don’t think you should stay with Craig because there’s a lot of problems and I have someone I want you to meet,’” Evans recalled to Spelling, 50, noting that at first she declined because she wasn’t keen on marrying again. However, Joe was persistent. “He said, ‘Listen, when your divorce is final, you’ll call me, we’ll meet and I’ll tell you who the person is.’”

When Evans ultimately found out that the person was Barker, a former professional football player, she decided to message him.

Sara Evans and Ex Husband Craig Schelske s Marriage Counselor Set Her Up With Now Husband Jay Barker 417
Ron Wolfson/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli

“I put the kids to bed one night, I was doing the dishes, I went into my office at home and I emailed Jay, went back to the kitchen and I heard the ding on my computer and I’m like ‘He’s been sitting here waiting for me to email him,” she joked, adding that after his initial message the twosome just started talking “nonstop” and the twosome had a “very fast courtship.”

After their whirlwind romance, Evans ended up moving to Mountain Brook, Alabama to live with Barker.

“We raised our families together,” Evans gushed, noting that Barker’s kids would spend every other week with them while her kids were there all the time because Schelske, who she admitted she never “truly loved,” just “hightailed it out of town” and hasn’t seen them since 2014. “Thank God they had Jay. Jay stepped in and raised them, took care of them,” she said.

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While Evans and Barker are happily in love now, the twosome have been through their own bumps in the road.

In August 2021, Evans filed for divorce from Barker, citing “irreconcilable differences” and “inappropriate marital conduct” on Barker’s part.

Nearly five months after the divorce was filed, Barker was charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was accused of attempting to hit a car Evans was riding in with his own vehicle. Barker later entered a “best interest” plea to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment and received one year of probation.

Two years following his arrest, Evans shared that she and Barker “tiptoed back to each other” and reconciled.

“We’re so happy now, but I don’t want anyone to think that I’m advocating staying in a relationship where you are ever, in your gut, you know that you need to exit the situation,” she said on her “Diving in Deep” podcast in March. “Every woman needs to follow her gut on that and do what is best for her. I believe and I hope that I’ve done that.”

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