Editor's note: On July 11, 2020 Darius Rucker announced that he and his wife Beth Leonard were separating after 20 years of marriage.
"Beth and I would like to share that after much reflection we have made the decision to consciously uncouple. We remain close friends and parenting partners and continue to be each other's biggest cheerleaders," the couple shared in a joint statement. "Our priority will always be our beautiful family. We have so much love in our hearts for each other and will continue to encourage growth and expansion in one other. Please be kind as we take on this journey, and we thank you for your love and support always."
Look back at their relationship below:
"I don't know what it was about her," Rucker said of his longtime love. "I mean, it was everything about her."
In 1998, when the couple first met, Leonard was working in New York for VH1 and Rucker was in town playing with his band, Hootie & the Blowfish.
"I had been trying to get her to go out with me, and she wouldn't," Rucker told The Boot. "I was in New York, and it was one of those rare nights off. I didn't have anything to do -- we always had something to do when we were in New York! We had the night off, and I was just in my hotel room. She called me and said, 'Hey, do you want to go see this play?' I was like, 'Sure!'"
After going to see the play, Rucker just knew that she was the one. He made sure to announce this to the world after bringing her home that night.
"She was walking up the stairs [to her apartment], and I said, 'Well, you know that I'm going to marry you, right?' She just laughed. Her roommate or her boyfriend was up there in their apartment, and I yelled, 'To whoever's up there in Beth Leonard's apartment, you can just leave because I just want you to know that I'm going to marry her!'"
The couple married in 2000, right before Rucker launched his solo career. In 2001, he recorded the R&B album Back to Then. Soon after, Rucker decided he was really meant for country music. The couple had two children together, Daniella Rose and son Jack, before Rucker released his debut country single in 2008, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It." He also has daughter, Carolyn Pearl Phillips, from a previous relationship.
Throughout their marriage, Rucker, whose song "Alright" was inspired by his marriage, has spent a ton of time on the road. He toured all over the United States with Hootie before even embarking on his solo career. He's headlined two tours and co-headlined a tour with Lady Antebellum in 2018. He's a busy guy and is still passionate about his music.
What's the real reason the couple has made it 20 years? Rucker made a conscious effort to stop partying and become the husband his wife deserved.
"I thank her every day for staying with me and being the strong woman she is, because with Hootie & the Blowfish, I could be gone for three months and then I'd come home for two days and then I'd be gone again for a month, and she put up with all that crap. You know, her and country music saved my life," Rucker said.
The couple even launched an organization called Just Be You to help teens feel confident. The couple holds motivational speaking events and workshops to improve the emotional well-being of teens.
Having a husband out on the road for months at a time while taking care of two kids at home isn't easy, but Leonard knew what she was getting into when she said: "I do."
"Beth's a strong woman," Rucker told The Boot. "It takes a strong woman to be married to a musician, especially a musician who was drinking and partying as hard as I was, and I think life for us is where we are now. It took a long time for us to get to where we are now, and we say to each other all the time, 'I love us. I love our family. I love us.'"
When asked for his advice on how to build and keep a strong relationship, Rucker shared some straightforward advice.
"She's always right, bro," Rucker told Billboard. "As simple as that."
This article was originally published in April of 2020. It was updated on July 13, 2020.
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