Luke Combs and Nicole Hocking Share Their Engagement Story For the First Time Ever

Luke Combs and Nicole Hocking looked back on their relationship during a chat with Olympic Gold medalist Shawn Johnson East…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 8, 2020


9:55 am

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Nicole Hocking, Luke Combs; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Luke Combs and Nicole Hocking looked back on their relationship during a chat with Olympic Gold medalist Shawn Johnson East and her husband, NFL player Andrew East, on their popular YouTube Channel,
Couple Things with Shawn Johnson and Andrew East.

During the half-hour conversation, the soon-to-be newlyweds shared how they first met, talked about life on the road together and even shared their engagement story publicly for the first time ever.

Hocking, who studied civil engineering in college, explained that she and Combs moved to Nashville around the same time and had several mutual friends. They were dating other people at the time, so they didn’t connect until sometime later when they both found themselves single at the 2016 Key West Songwriter’s Festival.

“I was leading a songwriter’s round and he was waking up late to it,” Hocking revealed. “I was just like, ‘Hey, come hang out with us. Why are you by yourself?’”

“I looked bad, too,” Combs added. “I was wearing camo gym shorts from Walmart. Classy, classy stuff. And like the oldest t-shirt I owned.”

After the festival, the Hocking and Combs started spending more time together and eventually began dating. This all took place before Combs’ career skyrocketed.

“I didn’t have anything going on when we met,” the superstar explained. “I didn’t have a record deal, or a publishing deal, anything.”

As Combs tried to get his career off the ground, Hocking was working seven days a week between two jobs. When Combs’ career exploded, Hocking left her jobs and eventually joined him on the road full time.

“I stayed home for two years pretty much as his career was growing and growing and I wanted to be there for all those first moments,” Hocking explained as Combs shared that he “would miss her not being there” when he was touring.

YouTube video

Hocking and Combs have now found their new normal on the road and are in the midst of planning their wedding after getting engaged in the fall of 2018.

Though they previously shared that they got engaged in the kitchen, the couple never revealed the in-depth story behind their engagement, until now.

“It was the day that we were moving from our apartment that we lived in in Nashville to this house that we bought,” Combs began.

He went on to explain that they hired movers to move everything to their new house. While their things were getting moved, they went to his manager’s house with their two cats in tow.

“We have two cats, we didn’t have this guy at the time,” he said, pointing to their dog Jojo. “The cats do not travel well. On the way to my manager’s house, he cat peed in the crate and my cat threw up in the crate, so that was awesome. We spent a good part of the morning giving them baths and cleaning them and ya know, they’re all stressed out because we’re at some strange house with a bunch of people and stuff.”

Combs had outlined out an epic proposal in his head, however, things did not go as planned.

“I had bought the cats new collars with our new address on them. She loves her cat more than anything in the world, the cat she got in college named Buck. He always sits on her lap on the couch, so I had the ring and I was gonna put it on the cat’s collar, was the idea. He was gonna jump up on her lap and everything,” the “Does To Me” singer recalled.

When they finally made it to their new house around 10 pm, they realized that her cat had once again peed all over himself while traveling. They found themselves overwhelmed. Their belongings were everywhere, boxes covered the floor, the bed was piled up with clothes and they had a cat who needed yet another bath.

“It’s a very heated moment,” Combs acknowledged.

“He’s getting mad at me, I’m getting mad at him,” Hocking said.

Although the situation was not ideal for a proposal, Combs found himself forced to move forward with his plan.

“By the way, her parents are flying in the next morning and I’ve already told them I’m gonna ask her today,” he revealed. “Her parents are gonna show up, she’s picking her parents up, and they’re gonna be like ‘Congratulations!’ I have to ask her at this point. So, I pretty much just told her what I was gonna do.”

That’s when he got down on one knee.

“After I gave them their baths and everything, he was like, ‘I got these new collars for the cats with the new address on it and oh, I also got you this,” Hocking laughed, referring to her engagement ring. “He pulls it out, got down on one knee, does the whole thing. I blacked out, I don’t remember this. I was like ‘my ears are hot, what’s going on?”

“That’s what she said, ‘my ears are hot,’” Combs laughed.

Although it wasn’t the picture-perfect proposal they both had imagined, everything worked out for the best. Combs even said he thinks it “makes it better” because they now have a fun memory to look back on.

For more with Luke Combs and Nicole Hocking, click the video above.

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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.