Thomas Rhett has worked his way through the country music ranks for the past 10 years, becoming one of the most successful artists in the genre. The singer has been a trailblazer in the genre, debuting his one-of-a-kind, pop-influenced music early in his career and turning back towards traditionally leaning country later. Rhett is also an artist who isn’t afraid to share his personal life with fans. His songs are often highly personal, and he shares much of his life with wife, Lauren, and their four children, on social media. However, there still may be some lingering facts the average country fan doesn’t know about the Georgia-born artist. Here are 10 things you may not know about Thomas Rhett.
- He has a famous dad.
The majority of country fans most likely know this about Rhett, but it’s still an interesting fact worth bringing to attention. Rhett is the son of country singer, Rhett Akins, who had a successful artist career in the ‘90s and still writes hit songs today. Due to his father’s fame, Rhett grew up knowing other country artists like Tim McGraw, and he got a front row view of the music industry as a child.
2. ‘Thomas Rhett’ isn’t his real full name.
One could probably surmise this fact after reading the first fact on this list, but ‘Thomas Rhett’ is not the singer’s real first and last name. His full name is Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. and his dad, Rhett Akins, is Thomas Rhett Akins Sr. Some may believe he chose ‘Thomas Rhett’ as his stage name to differentiate himself from his country singer father, but in actuality, it’s a nickname that has been used for years.
3. He promised his mom he wouldn’t go into music.
Rhett’s parents divorced when he was young, and he has shared that his father’s demanding career was one of the reasons for the split. Due to this, Rhett promised his mother, Paige Braswell, that he would never pursue a career in music. However, it soon became apparent that his journey was leading him down a road in music, and although he had to break his promise to his mother, she still became his biggest fan.
4. He dropped out of college.
Although Rhett grew up in the music industry and formed a band in high school called the High Heeled Flip Flops, he still wasn’t committed to pursuing music when he went to college. Rhett attended Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, majoring in Communications. While he was in college, however, he got the music bug, and he eventually decided to drop out to pursue country music at age 20. Luckily, Rhett’s risk of dropping out paid off when he signed a publishing deal with Big Machine Music Group.
5. He got his start writing song for other artists.
Once Rhett got his publishing deal, he didn’t become an instant star. Instead, he made a name for himself in the industry by writing songs for other artists. Most notably, Rhett wrote “I Ain’t Ready To Quit” and “1994” for Jason Aldean, “Parking Lot Party” for Lee Brice, and “Round Here” for Florida Georgia Line. All these songs led to Rhett soon earning a recording contract of his own with Big Machine Label Group. After the release of Rhett’s first hit single, “It Goes Like This,” both Rhett and his father had co-writing credits on five of the Top 10 songs on the Country Airplay chart.
6. He me his wife in first grade.
Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren are one of country music’s cutest couples, and some may be surprised to learn that they met all the way back in first grade. The two knew one another throughout elementary school, but they didn’t become friends until they were teenagers. They dated briefly when they were in 10th grade, but they later split, went off to college and dated other people. The couple reunited a few years later, and they were married in October 2012.
7. Luke Bryan offered support and advice in Rhett’s marriage.
Rhett and Lauren were only 22 years old when they tied the knot, which, Rhett remarked, some people thought was too young. However, fellow country singer Luke Bryan encouraged Rhett, saying if he and Lauren were in love, they shouldn’t wait to get married.
“Everybody told him no, this is not what he should do…except Luke [Bryan],” Thomas’s dad once told Country Weekly (quote via The Boot). “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.’”
8. They adopted their first daughter from Africa.
When Thomas Rhett and Lauren decided to have children, they initially had trouble getting pregnant, so they adopted their first daughter. Lauren had often done missionary work at an orphanage in Uganda, Africa, and she had an immediate connection with the little girl who would become their daughter. They adopted the child, whom they named Willa, in 2017, and she is now big sister to three others.
9. Rhett wasn’t the first person to find out Lauren was pregnant with their second daughter.
While Rhett and Lauren were going through the process of adopting Willa, they found out they were pregnant with their second daughter, Ada. However, Rhett wasn’t the first person to find out Lauren was pregnant. Lauren was traveling in Africa with Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and his wife Hayley when she took the pregnancy test, so they were the first ones to know about Ada’s impending arrival.
10. They give back to the orphanages in Uganda.
Much of the charitable work Lauren Akins has done in Uganda has been through non-profit organization, 147 Million Orphans. Lauren has traveled to Uganda to work hands-on with the orphans, and in 2018, she shared the story of an orphan named Frances, who was saved by the organization. Lauren has also donated money, in addition to time, to the cause.