Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins may have a sweet and swoon-worthy love story, but it almost didn’t happen until the country singer’s future father-in-law stepped in.
Before Rhett found fame as a Grammy-nominated artist, he had a humble upbringing in Georgia. The aspiring musician met Akins when they were in first grade, and the duo remained close friends ever since, even dating briefly at a church camp when they were young teenagers. But it wasn’t until they were dating other people after high school that Rhett realized his true feelings for Akins.
“It was a sliding-door moment, where it could’ve gone the other way,” he said in a recent interview with music critic Holly Gleason. “We were dating other people. In another world, we might have married them. But there was always something different about Lauren, and we both felt it, but we never figured it out.”
When Rhett shared his feelings with Akins’s dad, his future father-in-law gave him an ultimatum. “The night of her sister’s graduation party, we were buddies and I was there. I’d loved that girl since high school, and I told her father how I felt,” he continued. “He said, ‘If you don’t tell her, I’m going to.’ It was a total Ryan Gosling moment.”
With a boost of confidence, Rhett confessed his feelings to his longtime friend. “I said to her, ‘I just want to kiss you one time. If you don’t feel anything, we can go back to being friends.’”
The duo never did go back to being friends. They dated for about six months before getting engaged in 2011.
The couple wed on October 12, 2012 when they were both 22 years old. In May 2017, they finalized the adoption of their first daughter, Willa Mae, from Uganda. Months later in August 2017, Akins gave birth to their second daughter, Ada James.
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Everyone meet Willa Gray Akins! I can’t believe our daughter is finally home🙌🏼 We have been in this adoption process for what seems like forever and are just so filled with joy that we are all finally home together! Thank you to everyone who prayed every single day for this sweet girl. The Lord blessed us with the most amazing little girl we could have ever dreamed of and we can’t wait to watch her grow up! #daddyforreal @laur_akins
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Last night at 10:28 PM Ada James Akins was born and it was truly the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. I can’t believe that we have two daughters!! My wife @laur_akins labored almost 36 hours😳She is by far the strongest human being I have ever met and I have a new found respect for moms around the world. We are so excited that Willa Gray has a baby sister! Thank you Lord and everyone for the prayers🙌🏼 #outnumbered
In April 2019, Rhett released the music video for “Look What God Gave Her,” a song off his latest album, Center Point Road, which features his wife and daughters. “This video is full of the people I love and am inspired by daily, can’t wait for y’all to see it,” he wrote on Instagram.