Jelly Roll, whose real name is Jason DeFord and his wife Bunnie DeFord, whose stage name is Bunnie XO, have been married since August 31, 2016, but their relationship stems much further back than that.
Indeed, the lovebirds have never strayed from sharing their love for each other in public, during interviews, and on social media. But, some might be wondering where exactly did the sparks fly for these two?
As it turns out, Jelly Roll, 36, and Bunnie XO, 42, first locked eyes at one of his earlier shows, which took place in Las Vegas. Jelly Roll was playing in front of an audience at Sin City’s Country Saloon when his future wife happened to be in attendance.
According to Taste of Country, however, Bunnie XO knew nothing of the star. But that didn’t matter as the two experienced what some may call ‘love at first sight.’
“We hit it off,” the “Son of a Sinner” singer-songwriter told Taste of Country Nights host Evan Paul. “She said she fell in love with the saddest eyes in the room.”
“She was with some abusive douchebag, and they came to a show, and we were backstage,” he later detailed while guest-starring on King and the Sting and the Wing Clips. “They split, and I’m not going to act like I shot my shot. She kind of shot hers. We had mutual friends. She said, ‘Yo. Just plug me in with Jelly.’ And I hit her on some other sh**. I was like, ‘Yo. I’m going to be coming out to shoot some content and video stuff. She was like, ‘Yeah! C’mon!’ I was like, ‘Cool, well I’m living in my van, so I’ll leave now.”
What makes their romance even sweeter is the connection – and even the initial connection – the couple shares. Jelly Roll says it runs far beyond the surface.
“I felt her soul,” Jelly Roll said. “When I hugged her, I could just feel the genuineness of her. I could tell it wasn’t an act.”
An odd pairing of sorts to some, maybe. But Jelly Roll says the mismatched husband and wife, who share an six-year age gap, pay no mind when they have eyes on them in public. Sometimes, he even finds the stares and misconceptions comical.
“I get tickled pink,” Jelly Roll says. “I love it when they call her a gold digger, that’s my favorite thing. She hates it. It infuriates her, it just flames her up. But it just tickles me pink because when I met her, I was homeless living out of a ’96 conversion van. If anyone was digging for gold, it was I, Popeye. I was the one that was over here searching. I was couch-surfing and made it to the bedroom.”
Finding their way to each other was a blessing for Jelly Roll, who sees his wife as a “selfless” person. As he previously stated, before they ever crossed paths, he was a broke musician. He also struggled to find his way out of the judicial system. Having grown up in a mobile home community with a mother who struggled with addiction and mental health and a father who worked as a meat salesman, Jelly Roll would end up being incarcerated on and off for nearly a decade.
It wasn’t until the birth of his baby girl Bailee Ann (now 14) that he realized he needed to make some serious life changes. In 2008, a guard knocked on his cell door and told him his daughter had been born that day.
“[Bunnie] helped me raise my daughter. We’ve had custody of her for the last nine years. It just takes a real selfless person to help raise a child they didn’t birth,” Jelly Roll says of his wife, who is also stepmother to his son Noah DeFord.
As for Bunnie XO, long before she fell head over heels for Jelly Roll, she was a high school dropout who kick-started her career on YouTube. An exotic model and host, she now runs a successful podcast called The Dumb Blonde Podcast.
“We got married kind of randomly,” Jelly roll shares of the couple who – this year – celebrated six years as a married couple together. “It was a Yelawolf/Deftone concert, and I went onstage and asked her to marry me. It was [Las] Vegas, right? So it’s like 11 o’clock. They’re closing the joint down by HardRock, and I’m like, ‘F*** it. Let’s just go now.’ She’s like, ‘The courthouse is open for about 34-44 more minutes. I was like, ‘Let’s fu**ing roll.’
“We stuck it out. We were like the story nobody thought of. She’s my best friend, man. She really is,” Jelly Roll added. “She’s supported me. She helped me get my music career really up and going.”
Below, check out some of Jelly Roll and Bunny XO’s love story in pictures as seen on Jelly’s Instagram page.