2021 CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Combs has been in a relationship with his now-wife Nicole Hocking Combs since before his meteoric rise to stardom… so, how did they first meet?
The couple shared the story behind the start of their relationship when they appeared as guests on the podcast Couple Things with Shawn Johnson and Andrew East.
Luke and Nicole moved to Nashville around the same time and it wasn’t long before they were in the same circle of friends. They were both seeing other people when they met through mutual friends, so it never went past that for the time being.
However, the tide turned when they were both single and ran into each other at a songwriters festival in Florida in 2016. Nicole was working for BMI, which hosted the festival, and Luke was one of the performers. “I didn’t have anything going on when we met,” said Luke. “I didn’t have a record deal or a publishing deal or anything.”
Nicole decided to make the first move. “I was leaving a songwriters round and he was walking up late to it and I was just like, ‘hey, come hang out with us, why are you by yourself?”
Luke laughed at the memory, adding, “Yeah, I looked bad too… I was wearing camo gym shorts from Walmart… classy, classy stuff. And like the oldest t-shirt that I owned, probably.”
The pair started hanging out after that night and were soon dating. About three months after they started dating, Luke nervously played a song for Nicole that he had written about her. That song was “Beautiful Crazy,” which became Luke’s fifth number one hit on the Country Airplay chart in March 2019.
By November of 2018, Luke had decided to pop the question, but it didn’t exactly go according to plan. Nicole and Luke shared the hilarious story during their chat with Shawn Johnson and Andrew East.
The couple had just spent the day moving from their apartment to their new home when everything went awry. Their stressed out cats got sick, which threw a hug wrench into Luke’s proposal plan. He’d gotten new collars for the cats with their new address on them, and had planned to put the engagement ring on the collar of Nicole’s cat. To make matters worse, Nicole was picking up her parents from the airport the next morning and Luke had already told them he was going to propose that night, so he couldn’t delay the proposal. So what did Luke do?
“I pretty much just told her what I was gonna do,” said Luke.
Nicole detailed how he gave her the engagement ring, including her stunned reaction. “He was like, ‘I got these collars for the cats… Oh and I also got you this.’ He pulls it out, gets down on one knee, does the whole thing. I black out, I don’t remember this. I was like ‘my ears are hot’ what’s going on? … I wasn’t expecting it all… especially in that moment.”
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Even though the proposal didn’t go as planned, Nicole said yes and they tied the knot on August 1, 2020. A rep for Luke told People, “Luke and Nicole were married at their home in southern Florida with family on Aug. 1. Despite the threat of a hurricane, the couple had a lovely intimate ceremony and will be celebrating with friends and family in the new year.”
Video footage from the special day was even used in the official music video for Luke’s song “Forever After All,” which Luke wrote about Nicole.
Luke may release even more songs about Nicole in the near future. In December, Luke hinted that his third album is almost finished. He shared on Instagram, “I’m taking a few weeks off and then we’re putting the finishing touches on LC3.”
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In the meantime, the couple recently revealed that they are expecting their first child, a baby boy, due later this year.
“Here we go y’all! Lil dude Combs is coming this Spring!” Combs shared on Instagram. “Couldn’t be more excited to start a family with this babe. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride @nicolejcombs.”