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Remember When Brooks & Dunn Announced Their Split?

brooks-and-dunn-breakup
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Brooks & Dunn were not only country music’s most successful duo, they were as close as brothers — or so fans believed until Aug. 10, 2009, when the superstar duo abruptly announced their split after 20 years together.

“After 20 years of making music and riding this trail together, we have agreed as a duo that it’s time call it a day,” Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn said. “This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed … We owe it all to you, the fans. If you hear rumors, don’t believe them, it’s just time.”

They released one final album,  #1’s … And Then Some, on Sept. 8, 2009. Brooks & Dunn set out on their farewell Last Rodeo Tour and performed their last show on Sept. 3, 2010, in Nashville, and despite their claims that there was no animosity between them, they admitted that compromising had often been tough, with the end of the act almost coming a decade earlier.

The tension between Brooks & Dunn became so strong in the late 1990s that they recorded songs for an album in different studios and with different producers.

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“Looking back, we should have just taken a break and let all the dust settle under us,” Dunn told USA Today in 2009, with Brooks admitting, “There have always been hurt feelings. There have always been opinions.”

The end finally came over more disagreements about song choices.

“We both knew this was probably it,” Kix says. “He called back the next day and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ And I was in agreement. I really was. I was willing that day to try and work it out, but when he said, ‘This is it, I really think it is,’ I said, ‘I think it is, too’ … I was and still am totally at peace with it. It’s a good time for us to stop.”

Though neither has come close to the radio success of Brooks & Dunn, both performers have gone on to significant solo success. Brooks released New to This Town in 2012, and Dunn released a self-titled solo album in 2011, followed by Peace, Love and Country Music in 2014. Dunn has placed two Top 20 singles, “Bleed Red” and “Cost of Livin’,” while Brooks hosts a hugely popular national radio show and has worked extensively in film.

The duo reunited in 2015 for a Las Vegas residency with Reba McEntire called Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas, which has been so successful that it has been extended through 2017, and Brooks appeared on “Damn Drunk,” a single from Dunn’s most recent album, 2016’s Tattooed Heart. But the two appear to be happy with that flexibility, so far not revealing any plans to reunite for a new album or tour.

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