When Luke Bryan met Caroline Boyer in college, it was practically love at first sight. And while their relationship has been far from straightforward, the pair have risen through the ranks to become one of country music’s most beloved power couples. Yet now Bryan has revealed a surprising secret about his other half…
Today, Bryan is known to millions as a country music star and, most recently, a judge on ABC’s American Idol. But his life hasn’t always been so glamorous. In fact, the singing sensation had a remarkably normal childhood in rural Georgia.
Born in the summer of 1976 to peanut farmer Tommy Bryan and his wife, LeClaire, Bryan grew up helping out on his family’s land in Leesburg, GA. Despite his work ethic, however, the youngster always made time for music.
And the soundtrack to Bryan’s youth actually came courtesy of his local radio station. “We were always outdoors, hunting and fishing and listened to whatever was on country radio,” he later explained to RFD-TV. “If you got lucky, Reba came to your town once every few years, and you went to see her.”
Bryan’s mom also encouraged his passion for music by getting her son to sing for her in the car when they went shopping in town. And when the aspiring singer turned 14, his parents bought him his first guitar. So from there, Bryan began to hone his craft.
Bryan then planned to move to Nashville in Tennessee at the age of 19. This is because many people consider the state capital to be the spiritual home of country music. But before the future star made it to the so-called “Music City,” his family was rocked by a devastating tragedy.
In 2013 Bryan revealed in an interview with ABC News’ 20/20, “My older brother, Chris, was unexpectedly killed in a… car accident. I’m kind of hyperventilating talking about it… You never truly… move beyond it.”
So, unable to leave his family at such a difficult time, Bryan postponed his move to Nashville and enrolled on a business administration degree at Georgia Southern University. And it was during his college studies that he would come to meet the love of his life: Caroline Boyer.
The pair actually first met in a bar in 1998. Boyer was in her freshman year, and Bryan was a senior. And it seemed that Boyer liked Bryan straight off the bat. But, because of his natural shyness, she had to make the initial move on him.
In 2014 Boyer explained to People magazine, “He was always a gentleman. We hung out as friends first, and he never made a move on me. I kissed him first! He was always so scared of making a girl feel uncomfortable. He wouldn’t cross a line.”
Yet despite his apparent coolness, Bryan knew early on that Boyer was the girl for him. “It took me eight seconds to figure it out – and it took her about eight years to figure it out,” he revealed in a 2013 interview with The Boot.
But while Bryan seemed confident that he and Boyer had a future together, he still apparently needed some Dutch courage to approach her. “I had to drink a lot before I could go talk to her, but I did,” he admitted. “Somehow I managed to ease over there and somewhat be charming.”
Referring to the first time he met Boyer, Bryan added, “It was one of those situations for me, it was like, ‘Who is that, and how do I go talk to her? And, yep, I’m going to marry that girl.’ It all happened right there at Dingus Magees in Statesboro, GA.”
So eventually – perhaps even inevitably – Bryan and Boyer became a couple. But their bond was rocky and fraught with break-ups at first. For a while, in fact, they pursued an on-off relationship. Then they eventually split for a lengthy period.
So after finishing his degree, Bryan no longer felt tied to Georgia. He therefore took the opportunity to finally move to Nashville. Then, over the course of the next five and a half years, Bryan got his music career off the ground. And in the meantime, Boyer finished her college studies and started working herself.
Describing how the pair finally reunited after over half a decade apart, Bryan revealed to HuffPost, “I was playing a little bar in Statesboro, and she just happened to kinda be in town. We kinda saw each other and talked a little bit and then started emailing back and forth a little bit.”
And after some friendly conversation, Boyer seemingly had a proposition for her then-on-off boyfriend. “She was like, ‘Hey, you want to come to my family’s Christmas party?’” Bryan recalled. So he naturally attended the festive shindig – and the pair have been together ever since.
In fact, after they’d reunited, Bryan proposed to his beloved outside of the Nashville Parthenon. The building is a full-scale replica of its famous namesake in Athens, Greece, and must have made a stunning backdrop for such an important, personal moment.
Describing the romantic proposal to World of Country Music host Michael J. in 2015, Bryan said, “We’d kind of been talking about houses and stuff, and I told her I had a house I wanted her to see. So that’s what she thought she’s gonna do… When she took the blindfold off, I was down on one knee.”
Boyer said yes, of course, and in December 2006 she and Bryan tied the knot in the Turks & Caicos Islands. They then spent their honeymoon in the mountains of Colorado, and two years later they welcomed their first son, Thomas “Bo” Boyer. A second son, Tatum “Tate” Christopher, followed in 2010.
By that time, too, Bryan’s career had well and truly taken off. Between 2007 and 2017, in fact, the country star released nine studio albums and an impressive 14 number-one hits. And in 2013 the Country Music Association Awards named Bryan as “Entertainer of the Year.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, 2015 saw Bryan bag a million-selling album for the fourth time. And recently, in 2017, he became a TV judge on ABC’s reboot of American Idol. But while his professional life went from strength to strength, Bryan had faced further tragedy in his personal life.
Unfortunately, in 2007 Bryan lost another sibling when his sister, Kelly, died suddenly of unknown causes. Reflecting on his loss, the singer later said on 20/20, “My only older siblings, gone from the world, in a flash in two, two different, crazy, tragic manners, that we’ll never know and never understand.”
And seven years later, Ben Lee Cheshire, Kelly’s husband, also passed away. Bryan and Boyer therefore took in their nephew, Til, and helped to look after his two nieces, Jordan and Kris. The singer later revealed that he and Boyer had just acted out of instinct.
In an ABC special entitled Living Every Day: Luke Bryan, the American Idol star explained, “We never thought twice about [caring for the kids]. You know, it was never something that he and I had to sit down and talk about. ‘Should we take this on?’ We just did that.”
Yet despite the hardships that his family have faced, Bryan tries to always look on the bright side. “You know, we just stay positive. I think people expect that from me,” he told ABC News in 2015. “I have to pray that people that have had similar situations can maybe look at my family and see me positively dealing with it. I’m not saying it’s easy.”
And throughout it all, of course, Bryan has had wife Boyer at his side. In November 2018, however, the singer confessed that it hasn’t only been emotional support that the singer has received from his spouse. When he had been starting out in show business, for instance, Boyer had been the one who’d kept them both afloat.
After all, long before Bryan was worth a reported $52 million, both he and Boyer had lived off her wages when the singer had been a young, struggling star. The country sensation made this revelation on the Pickler & Ben show when discussing his early years in the music business.
Explaining the couple’s financial arrangement, Bryan explained to hosts Kellie Pickler and Ben Aaron, “When we got married, her career supported me when I was making about $10,000 a year. She was the one bringing in the dough.”
And after Bryan’s career took off, Boyer was seemingly happy to take the reins at home too. “She’s the perfect kind of stability that I need on all levels,” Bryan told The Boot. “She wakes up at 5:30 and makes the kids’ lunches and lets me sleep in.”
And it’s not just Boyer who works hard to accommodate Bryan’s thriving career. “My family still really dedicates themselves to me and works their schedules around what I have going on,” the singer revealed.
Yet while Bryan is no doubt grateful for his life, the thought of being less in-demand doesn’t bother him, either. When that moment comes, he said, he’ll let Boyer take the lead again. “I look forward to one day when maybe those roles will change a little bit,” he revealed.
So it’s clear that Bryan values all that Boyer has done for him. And in 2016 – on the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary – he repaid his wife with a brand new engagement ring. “Ten years with me feels like a thousand,” he joked in an interview with People in 2017. “It was certainly the least I could do!”
But while Boyer had no doubt been pleased with her new rock, Bryan insists that she has little interest in his fame or money. She focuses instead on her family. In an interview with The Boot in 2015, the singer explained, “We have fun with this career; we have fun with our kids.”
And because they’ve come from humble beginnings, Bryan believes, it’s made all the success they’ve enjoyed even more sweet. “We look back at our little 900-square-foot house we had at the time, and we had some fun times there, and we’re still having some good times,” Bryan told People.
So do they have the perfect marriage? Well, while it may seem that way from the outside, Bryan confessed that they’re “normal.” By that he meant that he and Boyer’s relationship has had its ups and downs, but they have always managed to work things out.
In 2015 Bryan told The Boot, “We get into it. We fight. We figure it out. But at the end of the day, we understand that there’s a lot of stuff that comes at us that makes us all crazy, too. So we just try to be normal and enjoy the ride of this.”
And they’re still firmly on that ride. In December 2018, in fact, Bryan and Boyer celebrated the 12th anniversary of their wedding. The country singer marked the occasion with a sweet video on Instagram. In the clip, he even announces that he and his wife are “day drinkin’” in celebration.
Later that month, Bryan also released the video for his new song, “What Makes You Country,” on YouTube. The clip was actually filmed on location at the star’s farm. And what’s more, it features numerous members of his family, including his two sons and his adopted nephew, Til.
The video is arguably further evidence of just how much his family means to Bryan. And in the years to come, he hopes his children will look to him and his wife as an example of a positive relationship. “We want them to know Mom and Dad are happy and that’s what a marriage should be,” Boyer told People in 2013.