Joey Martin Feek was born Joey Marie Martin on September 9, 1975 in Alexandria, Indiana, to Jack and June Martin. She was the middle child of five children: 3 sisters (Jody, Julie, Jessie) and 1 younger brother, Justin, who in 1994 died in a car accident very close to the Martin family farm. She was encouraged by her father, who played guitar, to start singing and performing at an early age She moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1998 to pursue a career as a Veterinarian, and established connections with LeAnn Rimes's father, Wilbur, and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. At a Songwriter night, she met Songwriter Rory Lee Feek, whom she married in June 2002. She sang backing vocals on Blaine Larsen's 2004 album Off to Join the World, which her husband co-produced. Joey was signed to Sony Nashville and recorded an unreleased solo album in 2005 titled Strong Enough to Cry, but due to change in management and restructuring at Sony, her album was shelved. The album, retitled If Not For You, was eventually released by Farmhouse Recordings on April 7, 2017.
In 2008, a friend suggested that Joey and Rory try out for Can You Duet, a talent show airing on CMT with the purpose of finding the next great country duo. They made an audition tape and came up with the name "Joey + Rory," and finished in third place on Can You Duet. The duo were signed to Sugar Hill/Vanguard Records, who released their first three studio albums. The duo released eight albums overall and charted a Top 30 Hot Country Songs hit with "Cheater, Cheater". Feek co-wrote many of the songs on the albums with her husband.
A few months later in May 2014, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After surgery and treatment, she was declared cancer free and did not receive any radiation or chemotherapy as her Surgeons declared the surgery to be a success with the cancer removed with clean margins. In June 2015, after the family had finished filming their movie, Josephine, Joey was not feeling well again and sought medical advice. After undergoing further medical testing, it was discovered that the cervical cancer had returned and metastasized to her colon.
On November 9, 2015, Rory announced via his blog THIS LIFE I LIVE that Joey had entered hospice care and they had decided to focus on living the time that Joey had left and not focus on the doctor's timeline for her survival. In November 2015, she began receiving home hospice care at her mother's home in Alexandria, Indiana, where she started to rapidly decline. Concerned that she did not have as much time left to live as the doctor's had given her, Joey asked Rory if they could remain in Alexandria so she could die in the family home she was born in. Joey's older sister, Jody, a registered nurse, provided end-of-life support for her sister in conjunction with home hospice. In a November 2015 interview with The Tennessean, Joey stated that she was not angry with God, but was disappointed that after undergoing radical gynecological surgery to eradicate the cancer, it had returned as inoperable, unresponsive to treatment, and terminal.
On what would have been their 14th wedding anniversary, Rory Feek announced that as an anniversary gift to his late wife he had decided to make a film about her, To Joey, With Love. On his blog, Rory Feek shared that he had accumulated 9 terabytes of video footage from the last 30 months of their lives together, and that watching this footage helped him to remember what his life was like when she was full of life and not sick with cancer. Along with a small team of his creative partners, Rory Feek managed to finish the film during Spring and Summer 2016, and it is scheduled to play in select theatres across the United States on September 20, 2016, with some cities planning an additional showing for early October 2016.