Rascal Flatts: Parenthood Is ‘Life’s Greatest Reward,’ But Tough on Sleep Schedule, Wallet
From their fashion sense to their perspective on songwriting, Rascal Flatts have evolved in countless ways over the course of their mammoth, 20-year career. One of the most personal developments, however, is their journeys into fatherhood.
All three bandmates -- Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney -- are proud papas today. Singer LeVox was the first of the trio to become a dad: He welcomed his oldest daughter, Brittany, right as the band was gaining steam in the summer of 2000.
"Early on, I was the only one that was married and the only one that had kids," LeVox explained during a panel the band hosted during February's 2020 Country Radio Seminar. "I would tell Jay and Joe Don, like, 'I can't be gone longer than 12 days in a row' ... Because there were certain things where it would be like, 'We gotta do Letterman.' And I'm like, 'I'm not gonna do Letterman, because it would mean being out 13 days in a row.'"
While LeVox's bandmates might not have understood at the time why he was so adamant about getting home, those priorities became clear to them once they became parents themselves. "When they became dads, they were like, 'Dude, I get it now. I really do,'" LeVox continues.
"It's probably made me appreciate what Gary went through in the early days, for sure," agrees Rooney. "It makes me appreciate my own parents more. I'm very blessed to have that anchor in my life."
While the three bandmates admit that parenthood has made every aspect of their lives even more special, they're not downplaying how difficult it is to raise kids. "These little human beings are insane. And they ruin your life. You can't do anything for yourself ever again," jokes DeMarcus.
"Your happiness is depleted, you're exhausted, you're worn out, you realize that you suck as a parent," he continues. "Everything that you've ever done comes back to haunt you."
Still, DeMarcus adds, fatherhood has increased his emotional awareness and his appreciation for the little things in everyday life. "It makes me feel things deeper. Things that didn't mean much to me before will stop and cause me to reflect on how important each moment is to enjoy and live in the moment of being there," he shares.
It can be easy, especially during a fast-paced career filled with sold-out tours and chart-topping songs, to think selfishly and prioritize working hard and a fame-filled career full of musical milestones. Having a family puts life into a completely different perspective, LeVox notes.
"It's changed everything about my life: Songwriting. The way I sing. My bank account," he reflects. "I'm probably closer to God. It really shows you where you need to change and what kind of foundation you need to lay for your kids. It puts life into perspective.
"It just really teaches you a lot about yourself and how to right your wrongs as a human being," LeVox goes on to say. "It's truly the greatest reward in life. And my wife is amazing. That's probably been the greatest reward of all of this, just hearing a bunch of girls call me daddy on a daily basis."
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