Kelly Clarkson Moved To Tears Over Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins’ Adoption Story

Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins recalled the moment they decided to adopt their daughter Willa Gray during an…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 1, 2020


3:46 pm

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Thomas Rhett and Family; Photo via Instagram

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Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins recalled the moment they decided to adopt their daughter Willa Gray during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show on Thursday (April 30) and the touching story brought Clarkson to tears.

“I’d always talked about adopting my whole life,” Akins explained. “My mom is actually adopted. I just thought it was really cool. And we had talked about it off and on, but it wasn’t something that we’d sat down and had a full-on adoption conversation.”

“I was in Uganda in 2016, and I had a picture of one of the babies there, and I had shared it on social media,” she continued. “And when I finally got to FaceTime (Thomas) that night, I was telling him her story, ‘Babe, we know so many people who are trying to adopt right now, and this little girl needs a forever home.’”

The couple, who welcomed their third daughter, Lennon Love, in February, went on to recall the life-changing conversation that took place.

“I was so moved,” Akins shared. “The second I touched her, it was electric. I was like, ‘Oh, this little girl has just taken my heart.’ And I was like, ‘Honey, we’ve got to find her her forever home. Like, I know that’s why I’m here — to get this girl to her home.’”

“When I talked to [Lauren] on the phone that night and she said that we need to find her a home … It was after a concert, and I was going to bed, and I was like, ‘Well, bring her home.’ And I don’t fully remember even saying it,” the superstar said. “It was such a spiritual thing for me that it just came out of my body. And literally two weeks after, we were having home assessments and talking to adoption agencies.”

Their emotional story had Clarkson in tears.

“Oh, my God! OK, you totally Oprah-ed me just now. I did my own makeup, and this is not waterproof,” Clarkson told them, wiping away tears. “It’s so beautiful because I know that feeling as a mama. You touch them, and you hold somebody, and it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not — we’re a blended family — and you’re like, this is my purpose. Such a powerful thing.”

Click the video above to watch Thomas and Lauren’s interview with Clarkson.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.