Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline have known each other since their college days at Georgia Southern University. He was a senior, she was a freshman and they hit it off after meeting at a small bar called Dingus Magee’s.
Things started off slowly.
“He was always a gentleman,” Caroline gushed to People. “We hung out as friends first and he never made a move on me. I kissed him first!”
They dated on and off and later called it quits when Luke moved to Nashville to chase his dreams of becoming a country singer. As fate would have it, their paths crossed again a few years later.
“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,” he recalled. “And she was like, ‘Hey, you want to come to my family’s Christmas party?’ I went to the party and the rest is history.”
Bryan asked for Caroline’s hand in marriage in front of the Parthenon in Nashville one evening after a dinner date.
“We 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,” he told country radio personality Michael J. “When she took the blindfold off, I was down on one knee.”
The couple opted for a destination wedding, which took place in Turks & Caicos on December 8, 2006.
Less than two months later, Bryan’s very first single, “All My Friends Say,” hit country radio. Although it was a hit, the budding singer/songwriter relied on his wife to help make ends meet.
“When we got married, her career supported me when I was making about $10,000 a year,” he once revealed during an appearance on Pickler & Ben. “She was the one bringing in the dough.”
That didn’t last for long. Bryan soon became one of country music’s hottest stars, raking in hit after hit. His rise to superstardom soon allowed Caroline to stay at home with their boys, Thomas “Bo” Boyer (born in 2008) and Tatum “Tate” Christopher (born in 2010).
As time passed, they learned to roll with Bryan’s crazy schedule and adapt to his celebrity status.
“We have fun with this career, we have fun with our kids,” he told The Boot. “We have a normal marriage. 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.”
From the outside, it seems as if the couple has enjoyed a picture-perfect life, but that’s far from the case. Bryan has faced many family tragedies over the years and Caroline has been by his side through the majority of them.
“Luke’s brother died in 1996. Then 13 years ago, his sister passed away unexpectedly. She was healthy, beautiful, and the best mom to ever walk this earth,” Caroline recalled during an interview on the Get Real podcast.
She went on to reflect on the day Luke’s brother-in-law passed away. “That was the other worst day of our life,” she confessed.
That’s when the couple stepped up to the plate and took in their nieces and nephew.
“We never thought twice about it,” Caroline later told Robin Roberts. “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.”
They’ve done their best to make the most out of the situation and hope their story will inspire others.
“We feel like if we just stay positive through this, maybe we’ll be a positive inspiration for people that had these things happen to ’em,” Bryan told ABC News in 2015. “You just have to plow on and play the hand that’s dealt.”