Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney Speaks Out On Social Media After Turbulent Period

The guitarist addresses rumors, details his personal struggles with alcohol, and reflects on his recovery.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

January 3, 2024

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Rascal Flatts Joe Don Rooney; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Joe Don Rooney has broken his silence on social media following a tumultuous few years. 

On Wednesday, January 3, 2024, the former member of Rascal Flatts penned a lengthy message to fans and followers, apologizing for his absence online and putting to rest a few rumors that had surfaced about him while he was out of the spotlight. 

“I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted on any socials. It’s actually been a couple years since I’ve engaged with fans and friends on Twitter (now X) or Instagram But I figured today, at the beginning of this brand new year 2024, would be a good day to send a message out to the world,” Rooney’s note begins. 

Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Addresses Rumors

He goes on to clarify, “I’m alive” and then addresses the rumor that swirled around the internet about him in the time he’s been away working on his health and wellbeing.  

“There have been so many rumors and opinions thrown around about me – but I’m finally healthy and ready for the world. And NO, I’m not transitioning to be a woman,” he wrote. “That thought has never entered my mind. Nothing against the trans community whatsoever but I needed to set the record straight.”

Reflects On His DUI

The 48-year-old then opens up about his highly publicized DUI and the destructive impact that alcohol had on his life.  

“My life and career took a major detour at 4a in the early morning hours of Sep 9, 2021 when I ran square into a tree and about killed myself. I was drunk and I was so far gone with my life – I was completely out of control and finished with trying to fight the fears, depression and anxieties that had spun me out in a way I’ve never experienced before,” he shares truthfully. 

He adds, “My drinking had been an issue for many years – and as they say in AA and treatment, it’s a progressive disease. I am living proof that the progressive nature of drinking can really ratchet up and as I grew older as an adult my drinking grew worse.” 

Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Acknowledges The Pressures That Led Him To A Breaking Point

As the letter to fans proceeds, the talented guitarist acknowledges that the demands of his career, combined with personal pressures became overwhelming to him. 

“The pressures of my career and the many mistakes I made in regards to my home life, coupled with a lot of pain and trauma from my childhood and early on in my adult life, had become too much to bear,” he admits, adding, “I was not a good father – I was not a good husband – and I was not a good band mate to my business partners. I probably would’ve never taken responsibility for any of this if it hadn’t been for my car wreck on Sep 9, 2021.” 

Rooney honestly confesses that he believes in divine intervention and that it’s what led him to the tree on that September night. He says he understands the severity of the situation and is thankful that he didn’t “ injure or kill anyone” in the process. 

Reveals That He Sought Out Treatment To Get Sober

“That event lead me to treatment for my alcoholism for 4 months in the beautiful mountains of Utah. When I first got there, I didn’t want to stay,” he admits. “I was ashamed of myself. I was so full of fear and guilt, that it took me all of the those 4 months to really start understanding treatment and the AA way and how to best utilize these new tools that I downloaded from the amazing clinicians, counselors and other patients there.”

Rascal Flatts; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Rascal Flatts; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Rooney says his life has been “changed forever” since entering rehab and that he has now been sober for nearly 28 months (as of January 13). 

“I never believed I could actually live my life without drinking. It had become such a huge part of my daily and nightly routine. I had tried to stop on my own in the past but the powerful nature of alcohol always found its way back into my life,” he writes. 

Living A Sober Lifestyle

Rooney recognizes that he did not come to this point alone and that he was truly “powerless over alcohol.”  

“God intervened and helped me to get my life back. With the help of my family and so many other professional clinical advisors and now numerous new sober forever friends, I’ve been able to get the train back on the tracks and live without the burden of alcohol. Now, I need to protect my family and protect my sobriety. I have new healthy boundaries for the first time in my life. Only positive, loving, caring & understanding people may enter.” 

In closing, he admits that this time in his life has been an “absolute blessing” and goes on the thank those who have been in his corner all along.  

“Thank you for all the love, support and prayers. I promise you, I’ve felt them all and I’m super appreciative. Here’s to making the best of 2024 and living our most healthiest, happiest and goal oriented lives ever!!”

Amid his struggles with alcohol, Rooney and his wife, Tiffany Fallon, divorced. They have three children together: Jagger Donovan (born 2008) Raquel Blue (born 2010) and Devon Olivia (born 2014). 

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

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 Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. 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.