In preparation for the 2015 ACM Awards, country star Thomas Rhett released a video montage that showed how he won his wife's hand in marriage by courting her over the course of several years. The video has a not-so-subtle message: stay true to your dreams and appreciate the steps it takes to achieve them.
"Very often in life, people see the end result," reads a message at the beginning of the video. "They don't get to see the hard work that it took to get there..."
The montage opens with footage from 2005, when he and future wife Lauren Akins were "just friends." In the subsequent footage, you see Thomas trying to impress her, once as a high school football player at the homecoming game and later as a country crooner on various couches.
It all ends with, surprise, their marriage day in 2012, along with a caption that reads "It just goes to show...you should never give up!"
Their marriage culminated in a love story that began when the couple met in first grade and reached its final lap when Thomas wrote "marry me?" on a wine bottle.
Thomas released the video in an effort to gain votes to win the 2015 ACM New Artist of the Year Award. Fellow country singer and Georgia native Cole Swindell won that year, but the son of singer-songwriter Rhett Akins' star has risen much higher since then, sharing 2020's ACM Entertainer of the Year with one of country music's biggest names, Carrie Underwood.
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As most fans now know, Lauren was the inspiration and star of the music video for Rhett's breakthrough hit single "Die A Happy Man." They've since become one of Nashville, Tennessee's most adorable superstar couples, thanks in part to their three little girls we're all watching grow up on social media: Willa Gray (adopted from Uganda in 2017), Ada James, and Lennon Love. Not to mention they have their fourth child, another baby girl on the way! Thomas Rhett is the ultimate girl dad and we love following along.
That's not to say their lives are perfect. In her New York Times best-seller Live In Love: Growing Together Through Life's Change, Lauren admits that the couple's sought marriage counseling. Which is to say, they're human like the rest of us.
The couple recently opened up about their marriage on the podcast ?Live in Love with Lauren Akins and explained what they do in their marriage to "live in love." Rhett's response couldn't have been more heartfelt.
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"I think living in love in marriage, and at least for you and I - and I pray this over everyone listening who is married, or dating, or would like to be married one day - I think vulnerability is so key," he explained.
"To allow yourself to be vulnerable with your wife is about the most manly thing you can do....I think being extremely confessional with your wife, I think you'll be surprised about how she will take that because I think I lived in fear for so long about being 100% vulnerable or saying exactly what I meant knowing that it probably was going to tick her off a little bit," he continues.
"I think that living in love in marriage is like being on the same page of vulnerability with each other and being as honest as you possibly can be because there's no way that they can understand you if you're beating around the bush," he added.
This story was originally published on Nov. 28, 2017 but has since been updated.