Country singer Tom Nitti was absent on "The Voice" on the Nov. 27 episode as Team Reba got paired down to three. Reba McEntire addressed the situation on air simply by saying that Nitti left the competition "for personal reasons."
Nitti initially addressed his decision the following day, pairing a lengthy caption with an Instagram reel that shows photos of his two kids and his partner, fellow artist Ashley Bryant.
"Well, I've been dreading this day ever since the airing of my blind audition so here goes nothin'," the statement began. "First and foremost I'm blessed beyond belief and I can't say enough how much I love and appreciate the constant support from my fans, my friends and my family... As much as it absolutely stings to say, I had to make probably one of the hardest yet easiest decisions ever and ultimately at the end of the day, my kids will always come first and if I had to make the same decision again I'd do it over and over.
"This past summer was filled to the max with everything I love and could've only dreamed of," he continued. "Thanks to ["The Voice'] I was able to live my wildest dreams and do what I've always hoped. I made friends that'll last a life time, experiences that I can hold on to forever and even found real and true love [with Bryant]."
Now the New York state trooper is giving more details regarding his departure from the competition. In an interview with the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Nitti explained that he hadn't planned on leaving the show.
"The biggest misconception is when people think I went on the show knowing that I'd leave," Nitti told the publication. "It all happened so quickly and I needed to make a fast decision. I chose my family and I'll tell you why."
The singer explained that he had actually qualified for the show in season 23, but chose to return the following season so that he'd have more time to notify the state police for a leave of absence.
Just five months before season 24, Nitti filed for divorce. Tensions at home spilled over into the competition. Following a Knockout Round during which Nitti's coach Reba "super-saved" him, fellow contestant Jacquie Roar noticed something was upsetting him.
"I spilled my guts," he said. "I told her about how I had just received an email from my lawyers urging me to come home because my ex-wife was going after primary custody."
Nitti described the experience as "gut-wrenching."
"I made this choice not because I missed my kids," Nitti said, "but because I couldn't imagine losing them."
The country singer shares that the silver lining of a difficult experience was the bond he forged with his fellow Team Reba contestants, Huntley and Roar.
Coach Reba is also still in his corner. The country legend recently shared that she's been e-mailing with Nitti.
"We've been emailing back and forth and all of our hearts went out to him 'cause he couldn't finish the competition," McEntire told "Entertainment Tonight". "He is so strong, so good. He's gonna be watching and cheering all of us on, but our hearts are with him."
It's clear that the talented singer will continue to chase his dreams
In a Nov. 28 post on Instagram, Nitti wrote "this isn't the end of me and I'll do what I do best for everyone to see which is keep my head down and move forward playing music and raising/creating new memories with a family I will continue to grow."
Nitti's a military veteran who went on to become a New York state trooper. He's opened as an artist for the likes of Hunter Hayes, Craig Campbell and Chris Janson.
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