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AMY and VINCE GILL: Is there romance in the air?
Why Amy Grant Kept Her Divorce Plans A Secret

THE UNTOLD STORY

Singer Amy Grant and hubby Gary Chapman delayed announcing the end of their 16- year marriage until after Christmas -- to spend one last holiday as a family with their three young children.

The popular Christian songbird and Chapman, host of TNN's "Prime Time Country," revealed their split the day before New Year's Eve.

Now insiders predict a relationship will blossom between Amy, 38, and her next-door neighbor, divorced country heartthrob Vince Gill.

"Amy and Gary almost divorced right after they married because of his drug problems," said a close pal of Chapman, 41.

"He went through treatment and rehabilitation to save their marriage. But it's eroded over the years for several reasons, including long separations while Amy tours and changes in their personal interests.

"Amy tried to keep the marriage going for religious reasons and for the sake of their children -- Matthew, 11, Millie, 9, and Sarah, 6.

"Eventually, she sought comfort from her next door neighbor Vince Gill, who was having marital problems of his own.

"Vince and Amy became best buddies, spending hours together talking and laughing. They played golf, appeared on the same stage at charity events and cried on each other's shoulders.

"Vince and his wife Janis divorced last April. That changed Vince's life. Now Amy's life is changing, too."

A Nashville insider added: "Until now Vince and Amy had to be discreet in where and how they were seen together. With Vince's divorce nine months behind him and Amy on the way to becoming free, they can hold their heads high -- and maybe forge a life together."

Amy climbed to superstar status 20 years ago as a gospel singer, then crossed over to pop and country. One of her first hits was "Father's Eyes," written by Chapman.

"Amy and Gary announced their separation after Christmas so they could get through the holiday without putting pressure on their children," said a source close to her.

"Papers are expected to be filed later this month.

"Amy is worth about $75 million, so it could be a very expensive divorce.

"No one knows how her Christian fans will react -- and no one will be surprised if she starts dating her close pal Vince publicly very soon."

-- BENNET BOLTON




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