Thomas Rhett’s Mom Says He Helped Make It ‘Cool’ for Country Stars to Be Wholesome
An upcoming new podcast tells country stars' stories from a whole new perspective — their moms — with sit-down interviews from the mothers of Luke Bryan, Lauren Alaina and many more. Called Got It From My Momma, the podcast series is hosted by Jennifer Vickery Smith, who — as the mom of Conner Smith — knows firsthand what it's like to have a child in the country music business.
First up in the interviewee's chair is Paige Lankford, mom to Thomas Rhett. In this exclusive sneak peek, Lankford shares her perspective on Rhett's faith and public image as a family man, and how prioritizing those values helped him change the face of today's country music.
Her perspective is especially unique because of her experience with the business in the '90s. At the time, Rhett's dad, Rhett Akins was at the height of his career as an artist, and Lankford said that the genre looked very different than it does today.
"Back then, it was more like, 'We don't want you to appear married. Take off your wedding ring.' It wasn't the wholesome, family-oriented, God-loving thing that it is now," she explains.
Rhett has previously said that some members of his musical team weren't so sure about his decision to get married to Lauren Akins when he was 22 years old and just breaking into the country mainstream. The couple had their fair share of naysayers, but it was Luke Bryan who ultimately put Rhett's mind at ease, encouraging him to follow his heart if he was truly in love.
Not only did Rhett's marriage last — he and Lauren celebrated their 10th anniversary in October — but his status as a happily married man, and eventually, a father, became a core part of his identity as a musical artist.
Songs like "Die a Happy Man," "Life Changes" and "To the Guys That Date My Girls" helped solidify his family man status with fans, and even earned Lauren a large fanbase in her own right.
According to Lankford, Rhett's unabashed love of family and faith affected the rest of the genre, too.
"I feel like Thomas Rhett has had a lot to do with that [move toward country music becoming more wholesome, family-oriented and faith-focused]," she continues, stressing that her son helped make it "cool to love your family," both augmenting his own success and paving the way for other artists to adopt a similar model.
"And that has a lot to do with Lauren, too," she concludes, "Because not everybody could get out there and stand strong in her faith like she has."
The Got It From My Momma podcast launches on Nov. 29.
See Country Stars With Their Moms