In 2021 Joe Don Rooney departed from Rascal Flatts and since his exit he’s primarily remained quiet and out of the spotlight until May of 2023 when he surprised a longtime Rascal Flatts’ fan named Sharla Guinn.
The small-town bakery owner and fan took to social media to share details of her exciting phone call with Rooney and how the conversation came about.
Surprised A Longtime Fan
In the post, Sharla revealed that her grandmother, Shirley, is preparing to marry Rooney’s uncle later this month.
“Just thought I would share a really cool experience with you all. I had the opportunity to talk with Joe Don Rooney from Rascal Flatts for a few minutes yesterday,” Sharla wrote of the experience, which she called a “total surprise” and admitted was “really awesome.”
“Grandma called me and said I have a surprise for you and to FaceTime her,” the Milwaukee resident added of the call that lasted a “couple minutes.”
She went on to explain that Rooney was presumably visiting with relatives and the soon-to-be newlyweds in his home state of Kansas, as Sharla stated that Rooney is unable to attend the couple’s wedding on May 28.
“He was home visiting family from Nashville for the weekend,” she continued. ”My grandma is marrying his uncle in a week, so he’s soon to be my cousin.”
In the comments of Sharla’s Facebook post, she shared, “This time next week (Sunday, May 28th) he will officially be my cousin!”
This appearance marks Rooney’s first sighting in years as Rooney has remained silent, largely out of the spotlight and off social media since the demise of Rascal Flatts, the award-winning trio best known for hits like “Bless The Broken Road,” “Life Is A Highway,” “My Wish” and more.
Joe Don Rooney’s Divorce
The news comes months after TMZ reported Joe Don Rooney’s messy divorce from his wife, Tiffany Fallon.
The outlet obtained legal documents that claim both parties committed adultery and that Rooney is addicted to drugs and alcohol.
According to TMZ, the docs also claim that Fallon had an affair with her personal trainer. While she reportedly admitted to the affair, she claims that it began after Rooney “withdrew” from their marriage. He claims it began before he filed for divorce in January of 2021.
Demise Of Marriage
Fallon claims Rooney’s “habitual alcoholism and drug abuse” led to the demise of their marriage. TMZ reported that Rooney denied using narcotics, however, he admitted to using cocaine “a few times.”
The reported divorce comes after Rooney pleaded guilty in June of 2022 to a 2021 DUI charge in Williamson County, Tennessee.
Sentenced To Prison In 2022
According to The Tennessean, Rooney was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days in prison, however, only had to serve two days behind bars as the remainder of the sentence was suspended. He was also required to complete a DUI training.
Rooney’s driver’s license was also revoked as part of his sentence. The Kansas native will be able to apply for a restricted driver’s license, which would require him to own a vehicle with a built-in breathalyzer installed.
At the time, the outlet also reported that the 47-year-old guitarist pleaded “guilty to a first-time DUI offense, a Class A misdemeanor.”
On September 9, 2021, at approximately 4 AM local time, Rooney was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after he reportedly crashed his car into a tree.
An affidavit, obtained by TMZ, later revealed that Rooney blamed the incident on a deer crossing the road. Police, however, said that Rooney smelled of alcohol and later admitted that he had “one more” drink than he should have.
Following his arrest, Rooney bonded out with a bond set at $2,500.
Exited Rascal Flatts In 2021
Joe Don Rooney is one third of country supergroup Rascal Flatts. Founded in 2000, the trio is one of the most successful country groups of all time with 17 No.1 singles and more than 23.4 million albums sold. The award-winning group has earned more than 40 trophies from ACA, ACM, AMA, CMA, People’s Choice and more, cementing the band as the most-awarded country group of the past decade.
Rascal Flatts officially disbanded in October of 2021.
Weeks after Rooney’s arrest, fellow Rascal Flatts band member, Gary LeVox, opened up about Rascal Flatts and revealed that he was unhappy with the trio’s demise.
“I’ve never been okay with the way that it ended,” LeVox confessed to PEOPLE. “I was never okay with…” the singer added, before pausing to think what to say next. He then revealed, “I wasn’t happy that Joe Don [Rooney] quit.”
“It Kind Of Came Out Of Nowhere”
LeVox went on to reveal that Rooney’s departure was completely unexpected.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” LeVox continued, referencing Rooney’s exit. “It was like, ‘Let me try to wrap my head around this.’ And then I certainly wasn’t okay with the pandemic, which canceled everything. I hate the way that it ended [and] I hate that we didn’t get to do this farewell tour. I can’t stand the fact that it just feels there’s no closure with something that we’ve been so blessed with. That will always be in my heart.”
At the time, LeVox admitted he had not spoken to Rooney since his arrest.