Did Thomas Rhett’s wife Lauren Akins actually propose to him first?
It seems that way.
Rhett told SiriusXM’s Exit 209 with Storme Warren Podcast that he had been in love with Lauren since he was 16 years old when they finally started dating. They were friends for years first, and that one day, about three months into their romantic relationship, she looked at him and said: “So when are we gonna get married?”
The answer was October 12, 2012, but the path there was nearly a lifetime in the paving.
“I remember seeing Lauren for the first time in second grade, and I don’t know how much in love you can be as a second-grader, but I just remember being like, ’She is extremely attractive,’” Rhett told Warren. “And then moving forward, I think the first time we ever actually really hung out was at church camp in sixth grade. There’s a hilarious photo on her Instagram page of us standing there, and I’m like a whole foot and a half shorter than her. I’ve got braces. I dyed my hair black that summer for church camp. She was always just a really kind person.”
Church also allowed Rhett to ask his wife on their first date. She didn’t exactly say yes. It was more of an “if nothing better comes along,” he recalls.
“We were Church of Christ,” he said. “We weren’t really allowed to dance, so we had banquets. And I remember asking her to the banquet, and she was like, ’Well, I’m actually banking on someone else asking me, but if he says no, then we can definitely go together.’ And so that was like my first little smidge of heartbreak.”
By the time they got to high school, they were such close friends that even their parents thought they should date. They tried it when the singer was 15 years old, and Rhett takes the blame for it not working out.
“I think I was a little bit too needy of a boyfriend,” he said. “I just think I wanted her to realize that we were going to get married. Like that’s just not an option. She was like, ’I’m gonna go date a lot of other people,’ before all this other stuff.”
He thinks that was the best thing that ever happened to them. Both he and his wife went on to have long-term relationships with other people, which gave him the opportunity to grow up and figure things out.
“There was just something that wasn’t full like it was with Lauren,” Rhett said of his other romantic relationships. “She called me one day and was like, ’I’m coming home for my sister’s graduation party. And by the way, me and this guy that (I) was dating for like five years just broke up.’ I wanted to be like, ’I’m so sorry.’ But I was like, ’Yes.’”
That night Rhett confessed that he was still in love with her. He told her he had just signed a record deal, and he didn’t know if she would enjoy such a life, but they should give dating another try so he could “check it off my list.”
“Because I can’t really be friends with you,’” he remembers saying. “’We’re either gonna date and get married, or we’re moving on.’ So, we started dating for like three months, and I just knew.”
The rest is a country song.
Rhett’s new album “Where We Started” will be available on April 1.