Thomas Rhett, Paige Lankford; Photo Courtesy CMA
Thomas Rhett, Paige Lankford; Photo Courtesy CMA

Thomas Rhett’s Mom Paige Recalls The Moment She Was Most Proud Of Him: “I Remember Fighting Back The Ugly Cry Tears”

Thomas Rhett’s mom, Paige Lankford, couldn’t be more proud of her son. While she is a mother to three kids – Kasey Lee and Tyler – Rhett is the one in the spotlight every day due to his career as a country music artist.

Lankford, who initially opposed the idea of her country singer son dropping out of college to pursue country music, has since admired her child’s success from afar and has noticed the way he effortlessly balances his professional and personal life.


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But, there’s one part of Rhett’s career, in particular, that has his momma feeling like she has raised her son right. And that’s when she sees the singer/songwriter fitting his faith into his work and daily routine.

Lankford recently appeared on the Got It From My Momma Podcast, where she opened up about Rhett’s public image, sharing a memory she considers her proudest mom moment. She said it all happened in 2021 during the CMA Artist of the Year dinner.

“Kane Brown’s drummer had passed away, and Thomas Rhett went up there to – I don’t even know if he was accepting his award. All I can remember is that he prayed on TV,” Lankford told Jennifer Vickery Smith of her son. “I remember fighting back the ugly cry tears, just thinking, like, in my head, I’m proud of him for praying, but is he gonna get in trouble? You know, all of these things are going through my head.”

“But, I’m just balling, and I think they caught that on camera, which is like, ‘You can’t help it,’” she continued. “But that was probably my proudest moment.”

Lankford was especially moved to tears watching Rhett pray because she is no stranger to the music business. However, her experience in the ‘90s when she was married to Rhett’s famous dad Rhett Akins was quite different.

“Back then, it was more like, ‘We don’t want you to appear married. Take off your wedding ring.’ It wasn’t the wholesome, family-oriented, God-loving thing that it is now,” she said before crediting Rhett. “I feel like maybe it’s just me talking, but I feel like Thomas Rhett has a lot to do with that… of how things have changed since then.”

As with his career, Rhett’s marriage to his wife Lauren Akins has also appeared in the spotlight. And, while the couple, who share four kids, have a strong relationship, having recently celebrated ten years as husband and wife, things weren’t always easy. In fact, Rhett, who married Akins at age 22, has previously shared that people once suggested they were too young for marriage.

“Everybody was telling us not to [get married],” he previously told PEOPLE. “But we just fell in love at a young age. The first year she was on the bus with me for 285 days, sharing a bunk, which is smaller than a twin bed.”

“That has a lot to do with Lauren too,” Lankford said, crediting Rhett’s wife. “You know, not everybody can just get out there and stand strong in their faith like she has.”


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Lankford was the first interview as part of Smith’s brand new Got It From My Momma podcast, which launched on Nov. 29. The bi-weekly series finds Smith, who is mom to rising country singer/songwriter Conner Smith, telling country stars’ stories from the perspective of their mommas.

“I am beyond excited to help tell the stories of an entertainer’s journey from the perspective only a mother can share,” Smith shared in a statement. “These conversations are fun, heartwarming, and full of never-before-heard stories and incredible parenting advice any mom can relate to. We all got a little something from our momma, and listeners will get to see a side of their favorite entertainer they haven’t before!”

Got It From My Momma, recorded in Brentwood, Tenn., will also feature in-depth interviews with Luke Bryan’s mom, LeClaire Bryan, Parker McCollum’s mom Stacey Yancey, Lauren Alaina’s mom, Kristy White, Jessie James Decker’s mom Karen Parker, and more.

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