How Did Walker Hayes Meet His Wife, Laney?
Walker and Laney met in elementary school, but didn’t start dating until high school.
Walker Hayes and Wife, Laney; Photo by Getty Images for CMT
Walker Hayes and his wife Laney are approaching their 18th wedding anniversary this June, so how did they meet? The “Fancy Like” singer grew up in Mobile, Alabama and met his future wife Laney in elementary school, but they didn’t start dating until high school.
The couple appeared on the The Bobby Bones Show in 2019 and shared their love story. Laney was a popular cheerleader and Walker was nervous to speak to her, but a school play of Little Shop of Horrors changed everything.
“My true first memory of him is, we were doing rehearsals—this is after we’d already made the cast. He had a solo—well, he was a lead in it, so he had a lot of solos,” Laney said. “He started singing the first part of his first solo. I remember looking down the aisle and going, ‘Who is that guy? That guy can sing!’”
During a Q&A on Country Now’s Instagram last year, Walker revealed that Laney fell for him first, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. “Laney fell in love first. It took me a long time to. She grew on me. It wasn’t like an ‘at first sight’ thing. She has a great personality and then over time I was like kind of starting to have a crush.”
Walker shared details about their first date on The Bobby Bones Show, saying that he found a construction site machine that had a key in it and they jacked it up, sat on top of it and talked for hours.
The couple dated for almost seven years before hitting a rough patch less than a year after college. Walker recalled that painful season in their relationship.
“I didn’t know I wanted to marry Laney until we actually broke up for about nine or ten months right after college, and it was the hardest, it was almost like a divorce,” Walker told Sounds Like Nashville. “We had been together for six, seven years, [but] that volatility that made us so beautiful also made us explosive… I wouldn’t have said a lot of peers or families thought we were the greatest match, but we knew there was something we couldn’t duplicate.”
The resilient couple tied the knot on June 12, 2004 and are about to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary.
In addition to being his wife and mother of their six children, Laney has also been a muse for Walker’s music.
Walker told Country Now that the idea for ”Don’t Let Her” came to him while he was touring overseas with Old Dominion. As he thought about how much he missed his wife, he began writing down specific things about her to include in the song.
“She don’t give two cents about money / Likes a little coffee in her honey / Let sleep late as she wants / Home is her favorite restaurant / Don’t you dare come home if you’re hammered / Better watch your mouth and your grammar / She loves babies, hates glitter / You better shave before you kiss her,” he sings throughout the chorus, which closes with the heartbreaking line – “And if she ever misses me / Please don’t let her.”
“Everybody thinks I’m crazy having six kids and chasing this dream,” Walker Hayes told People in 2017. But he tells Laney, “You’re crazier than anybody because you married me, and you’re still around for all this.”
Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Palsa has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.