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Maren Morris and Boyfriend Ryan Hurd Met While Penning a Song for Tim McGraw: ‘There Was Always This Writing Chemistry’

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John Shearer/Getty Images for CMT

Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd’s love story is like a Nashville plot line.

Before they began dating, the four-time Grammy nominee and her singer-songwriter boyfriend were friends for years, having met in 2013 during a songwriting session shortly after Morris moved to Music City, where she scored a publishing deal.

“We were both at different publishing companies, and our publishers’ job is to fill our calendars up, so they just randomly put us together on a write one day,” Morris, 26, says.

That writing session culminated in “Last Turn Home,” a country ballad Tim McGraw heard and then decided to record the very next day.

We trade off being groupies.

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on

“It was the start of a wonderful writing relationship,” the Arlington, Texas, native Morris adds of the love song. “It’s one of my favorite songs that we’ve ever been a part of. It’s just crazy to look back on that moment where we were both just songwriters, solely, and that song has held so much weight over the years. The meaning behind the song actually means more now to me and Ryan, in a weird way — years later, it sort of hit us what the song meant.”

Indeed, the pair didn’t reveal they’d begun dating until last year. But their creative history laid the groundwork for their relationship.

“We had been friends for only a couple of years, but there was always this writing chemistry in the room, and eventually, the timing of it was undeniable. We had such a foundation built off writing so many songs over the years that we were like, ‘Why are we avoiding this?'” Morris says.

  • For more on Maren Morris, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

Since they met, both Morris and Hurd have evolved from songwriters behind the scenes to recording artists. Morris’ hit “My Church” and breakthrough album Hero helped her secure four 2017 Grammy nominations — including Best New Artist — and Hurd, 30, released the music video for his new single “Hold You Back” on Wednesday.

“It’s been amazing to go through this very crazy journey with someone at the same pace and lean on each other through all of those sometimes scary moments,” says Morris, who will embark on her first headlining tour on Feb. 2. (Click here for a complete list of tour dates.)

“Our schedules are essentially opposite of one another unless we’re doing a show together or there’s an award show or something. But the upside is that you get to grow with someone,” she says. “You need someone there that gets what you’re going through. I’m lucky that he does.”

The 2017 Grammy Awards will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.