“American Idol” panel judge Luke Bryan has experienced huge losses in his life and lost people who dearly meant a lot to him. His plight to raise his sister’s kids has gained him a blended family.
Luke Bryan recalled siblings' tragic deaths as he spoke out about raising nieces and a nephew. According to Today, Bryan is telling his life story in a candid new docuseries titled "Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary."
In it, he opens up about the devastating grief he suffered when he lost his brother and sister. The country music star also reflected on the heartbreaking experience in an interview on Today with Willie Geist on Sunday.
Luke Bryan attends the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry on September 14, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee | Photo: Getty Images
Bryan was only twenty years old and was about to leave for Nashville, Tennessee, back in 1996 when his older brother Chris, 26, died in a car crash.
The 45-year-old also lost his sister Kelly in 2007 from sudden death; she was 39 years old. Sadly, Kelly’s husband, Lee, followed seven years later when he died of a heart attack. He was 46.
Along with his wife Caroline Boyer, the songwriter stepped in and decided to take in the late couple's three children. Of the awful experience, Bryan told Geist:
“When you start talking about the loss of siblings and even the loss of my brother-in-law, you almost feel anxiety of telling aspects of your life that is so tragic."
The Georgia native referred to Lee as "his brother" and explained he was a part of his life since he was seven or eight years old.
Recalling the experience, Bryan shared he worried about people back home and wondered why so much tragedy and unfortunate things “have happened in my life.”
The “Country Girl” singer said his brother did not get to witness his musical career taking off, but his sister was fortunate to get a glimpse of it and even enjoyed some of it.
However, his brother-in-law was lucky enough to see it all blossom, so they all had different experiences. “It’s a moment where you’re like, ‘Man, what would it be like if they’re here?” But that wasn’t the plan. There’s a lot of people out there that’s got the same questions,” he added.
In a five-part series, which premiered on IMDb, Amazon’s premium free streaming service, on August 6, Bryan recalled how music helped him through grief.
“If I can inspire people to move on from tragedy, hopefully by my behavior, that’s what life’s all about for me,” Bryan told People magazine.
RAISING NIECES & NEPHEW
In 2019, “The Voice!” star opened up about raising his late sister’s children, nephew Tilden, and nieces Kris and Jordan in an interview with Today.
Of how he manages, he credited his wife, noting how much Boyer has supported him and the entire family. Bryan praised her for the effort she put in with the kids and said it is incredible.
"I look at her phone, and it's just pinging and vibrating and going off constantly, and it's the children," he said while admitting he could not have done it without her.
Bryan shared his beloved spouse Boyer, 41, has done such a great job with the kids so much that she has “crushed that role at being someone for them.”
Boyer spoke frankly about taking her in-laws’ children under their wing during her appearance on “Good Morning America” in 2017.
"We never thought twice about it. It was never something that Bryan and I had to sit down and talk about," she told host Robin Roberts at the time.
The couple's oldest niece is Jordan, who was born on April 7, 1995. All grown up now, Jordan is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Her Instagram page states that she has been in a serious relationship with his fiancé Clint for years. She announced their engagement in December 2020.
The second niece is Kris, born on August 3, 1998. According to her Instagram, she graduated from the University of Alabama and now runs an online boutique. In June, she announced the upcoming launch of her new clothing line, Shop Chesh, which she created with her sister.
Bryan and Boyer's nephew is Tilden, affectionately known as "Til," born on November 6, 2001. The teen loves fishing and hunting with his cousins and his uncle, as well as playing sports. According to Closer Weekly, the youngster is currently in college.
Apart from raising the siblings, the pair are also devoted parents to their two sons, Thomas, 13, whom they welcomed in 2008, and Tatum, who is ten years of age, born in 2010.
BRYAN & BOYER
While raising a blended family today, the ACM Award winner and Boyer's love story dates back to the 1990s. The two were both studying at Georgia Southern University and met while out at a local bar at the time.
Bryan was a senior, while his lovely wife was a freshman. He told the Huffington Post in March 2012 that they dated in college but broke up for five-and-a-half years.
However, after some time apart, the lovebirds eventually found their way back to each other, and after realizing their romance was something special, they tied the knot in 2006. Bryan gushed to Huffington Post that they "have been depending on each other ever since."
Boyer is a few years her husband’s senior as her birthdate is December 31, 1979, and as for Bryan, he was born on July 17, 1976. While her spouse is a music star, judging by her Instagram account, Boyer is a businesswoman.
When she is not promoting products or doing advertisements, she works at her nonprofit organization called Brett's Barn. They created the nonprofit in memory of their niece Sadie Brett Boyer.
The website states that the organization's primary mission is "to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and fund research to advance treatment options.”
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