Thomas Rhett + Lauren Akins — Country’s Greatest Love Stories
On Oct. 12, 2012, Thomas Rhett blissfully wed Lauren Gregory (now Lauren Akins), whom Rhett has known since the first grade. Their love story starts way back, but it took two tries to get it right.
Rhett, whose legal last name is Akins, told Taste of Country that the couple dated for six months when they were 15 — and it didn't work. However, the two remained friends and had several separate relationships.
“I don’t think she really noticed me ’til we were 16,” he admits -- but he certainly noticed her. The singer shares, “When I heard that she had ended her other relationship, I moved in for the kill. We kissed, and that was it."
Even though he was certain that Akins was the one he was to marry, Rhett certainly didn't skimp on the engagement. He popped the question inside his love's favorite restaurant in Nashville, Giovanni's. In a private room, Akins' mom helped stash flowers, candles and the main ingredient: wine.
“There was a [wine] bottle, and with a silver Sharpie, I wrote ‘Marry me?’ on the bottle, and she wrote ‘Well, duh, yes’ on the bottle,” Rhett recalls. “Somebody cued "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra, and we danced in this little cigar room. It was pretty awesome.”
Rhett's father, Rhett Akins, recalls the hesitation some felt about the singer and his fiancee marrying at the young age of 22.
“Everybody told him no, this is not what he should do — except Luke [Bryan],” Akins tells Country Weekly. “He called Luke three or four times, and Luke was like, ‘Buddy, if you’re in love and you want to get married, then do it.’"
However, any of the naysayers were silenced during the wedding ceremony, says Akins.
“When I saw them stare at each other the entire 20 minutes they were saying their vows, it’s like these two people are meant to be together. They are beyond in love,” he reminisces. “Everybody there that had doubted or wondered if they were too young, all the doubts are gone now.”
Rhett and his gorgeous wife have a story of true love -- and they work hard at sustaining it. As with any marriage, it can be difficult, given the artist's busy and demanding schedule, and there are lots of temptations along the way.
“Being backstage at a lot of different places, there’s a lot going on, and you gotta be 100-percent honest with the other person,” Rhett explains. “That’s what we’ve tried to master. It’s definitely helped us. When [Lauren's] out here, it’s not really an issue. When she’s at home, we try to talk a lot. We try to talk at least three or four times a day. Just to kind of let her know what’s going on and vice versa.”
In addition to open communication, Rhett has set one important ground rule: not getting up close and personal with the women cast in his music videos.
"I was just very adamant with the record label and with my video producer, just saying, ‘Look man, it’s not a big deal. It’s just not really me to be all over some girl in a music video,'" he says. "Even if they are the nicest people in the world, it’s just not really what I do.”
With that kind of mindset and the spark that ignited their love in the first place, Rhett and his wife's love is rock solid.