Country music fans are well familiar with crooner Thomas Rhett Akins, Jr., professionally known as simply Thomas Rhett. Son of the legendary country singer and songwriter Rhett Akins, it’s easy to say that music runs in the family. Rhett stormed onto the music scene in 2012 with his hit “It Goes Like This”, and has been a constant presence on the country charts since. He is now a two-time Grammy nominee and a three-time CMA award winner.
Fortunately for him, his relationship with wife Lauren Akins, formerly Lauren Gregory, has been just as constant. In one of the most beloved celebrity love stories, Rhett and Akins have captured the heart of fans and hopeless romantics alike.
Their love story began in Tennessee. The two kids met in kindergarten and became great friends. All through Rhett and Akins’ early years, they remained so. Rhett, however, realized his love for Akins far earlier than she did; it took her years to finally reciprocate. As he sings in his hit song “Life Changes”, he has been “waiting on [Akins] since the second grade.”
Briefly dating sophomore year of high school, Rhett and Akins tested their chemistry. Rhett embarrassingly shared that they even had a cringe-worthy kiss on a trampoline. While Rhett was over the moon about his budding relationship with her, Akins decided that the pair was better off as friends.
Rhett’s friendzone lasted for years. From 10th grade through college, they went about their separate ways, pursuing different dreams and dating different people. The distance between the future lovers did not help either: Rhett went off to Lipscomb University and Akins to the University of Tennessee. Rhett even recalls that both of them were nearly engaged to other people. However, both of these relationships ended before the pair finally got together.
At Akins’s sister’s graduation party, Rhett was chatting with her father and happened to mention that he was in love with Akins. Rhett’s future father-in-law figured it was time to step in. He later called Rhett and threatened to expose him and his feelings to Akins: if Rhett did not call Akins and confess his feelings for her, Akin’s father would do it himself. This lit quite the fire underneath Rhett; he could hardly wait to tell Akins how he felt. After he heard Akins had ended her previous relationship, Rhett made his move. He kissed her on her porch the same night he told her how he felt. They stayed up for hours afterward, talking about their future. One could say the rest is history!
Six months later, Rhett proposed to Akins in her favorite restaurant. While facing some criticism for their young age (22 at the time), nothing could stop the reunited lovers. They were married in October 2012 — notably when Rhett truly burst onto the music scene! Perhaps Akins was his lucky charm. The newlyweds enjoyed their honeymoon in Hawaii, where they later returned to shoot the “Die a Happy Man” music video.
The couple has been happily married for seven years now. They adopted their oldest daughter Willa from Uganda in May 2017, while Akins was having trouble conceiving. Imagine their surprise that in the process of Willa’s adoption, Akins found out she was pregnant! They welcomed another daughter Ada in August of the same year.
More recently, their third daughter Lennon was born in February 2020.
Thomas Rhett most certainly does not have the scandalous dating history that may follow some other celebrities. Instead, his story is heart-warming, hopeful and a perfect romantic backdrop for his country love songs.