Thomas Rhett + Lauren Akins: Inside Their Love Story

Screengrab via YouTube

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.

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It all ends with, surprise, their marriage day in 2012, along with a caption that reads "It just goes to should never give up!"

Their marriage culminated 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.

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 three baby girls we're all watching grow up on social media: Willa Gray (adopted from Uganda in 2017), Ada James and Lennon Love.

That's not to say their lives are perfect. In her new book 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.

Lauren devotes herself to mission work that aids orphans in Haiti, Uganda and other countries.

This story originally ran on Nov. 28, 2017. It was updated on Dec. 30, 2020.

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Thomas Rhett + Lauren Akins: Inside Their Love Story