Walker Hayes Reveals The Secret To His Nearly Two Decades Of Marriage To Wife Laney: See Inside Their Long-Lasting Love Story

Walker Hayes and Laney tied the knot in 2004 after dating for several years. The pair share six children.

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on August 7, 2023

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Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Walker Hayes and his wife, Laney Beville Hayes, have been married for nearly two decades, but even they know that staying together takes a lot of work and effort on both sides. 

The pair, who wed in 2004, met in elementary school. But they didn’t date until years later when they were teenagers in high school. After college, they broke up, having endured some rocky moments, but it wasn’t until then that Hayes realized Laney was “the one.”

The Beloved Couple Broke Up Before Getting Married

“I didn’t know I wanted to marry Laney until we actually broke up for about nine or ten months right after college, and it was the hardest. It was almost like a divorce,” Walker told Sounds Like Nashville, according to Southern Living. “We had been together for six, seven years, [but] that volatility that made us so beautiful also made us explosive… I wouldn’t have said a lot of peers or families thought we were the greatest match, but we knew there was something we couldn’t duplicate.”

The pair got back together and later married, but little did they know they would eventually be given one of the biggest tests to their marriage and family unit. After tying the knot, the resilient couple went on to have six children — daughters Lela, Loxley, and Everly, and sons Chapel, Baylor, and Beckett. But in the summer of 2018, they lost their seventh child, whom they named Oakleigh Klover.

At the time, Hayes, who had previously struggled with substance abuse, was two years sober. However, the pain of losing Oakleigh took a toll on his sobriety.

Secret To Walker And Laney’s Long-Lasting Marriage

The 43-year-old “Fancy Like” star recently opened up with Fox News Digital about the difficulties he and Laney faced while grieving over the loss of their youngest child. He also shared the secret to his long-lasting marriage after overcoming one of the most overwhelming and painful experiences ever.

“The day we buried [Oakleigh], I actually got in my car by myself. I left my wife. She was crying on the sofa, and I just left the house and drove to this bar,” Hayes recalled in the interview. “I just want[ed] to get in a fight. I didn’t care [and] I just wanted to get hammered and honestly fight someone I couldn’t beat up and I wanted them to just destroy me, but I wanted to make some damage. But I got to this bar, and my wallet wasn’t in the door of my car, so I drove back to the house.”

Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Hayes says that same day, he had an eye-opening moment, which took place on his way back to his house. He asked himself: “’Do you love your wife?”

He then answered, “You’re not showing it today. You literally left her on the couch the day you buried your child to do your thing.’ And then my kids are playing in the yard, and I’m gone. You know, I’m out of there. And so that was sobering.”

Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Laney Ultimately Helped Saved Walker’s Life

Once back home, Hayes’ wife directed the singer to attend AA meetings, and he obliged, now crediting his first AA meeting for saving his life.

“I remember going into that AA meeting,” he said. “And the first dude that stood up – he was telling his story. The first line he said was, ‘I was angry’ and I was captivated. I was like, ‘Me, too,’ you know? And I didn’t say anything. I didn’t even meet anybody. I just went to that AA meeting and went home. But that AA meeting saved my life that night.”

Along with his child’s passing, Hayes shares that he had various bouts of low moments, one of which happened during the World Health Crisis and lockdowns.

Family Has Always Stuck By His Side

But, he explains that his family and wife have continued to stick by him as he navigates the challenges thrown his way. During the conversation, he shared that he and Laney have become more intentional with managing their marriage when it comes to getting through the tough obstacles.

“It takes just oceans and oceans of mercy and forgiveness from all sides,” Hayes said. “My life has the least structure of any life I know. I mean, every single day is different. And at once, at some point in every day, one of us is going to be ‘hangry.’ One of us is going to be tired [and] one of us is going to be fed up with something [and] one of us is going to be stumped by something we’re trying to accomplish but can’t because it went wrong.” 

He continued, “My wife wants to make the family a unit and a house. And at the same time, I’m trying to tear it down and do a trick shot in the house and then write a song and, you know, be on a phone. So, it takes – really forgiveness is the core thing. Like look, we’re all going to let each other down in a million different ways today, but we love each other, and it’s OK.”

“Communication” Is The Key

Along with forgiveness, Hayes explained that he and his close-knit family have learned to accept imperfections. He also added that “communication” has become the key to success.  

“We have each other to lean on,” Hayes said. “Probably the only way… we make it work is realizing that we don’t really make it work that great. But that’s OK. Like, God willing, we’ll make it to tomorrow. ‘Hey, what I said to you yesterday, I didn’t really mean. I was actually taking some baggage from childhood and dumping it on your face.’ And it is like just communication is key in my house also. So, those are some practical things we attempt to use. But it’s imperfection. As far as me, man, I mean, it’s chaotic in my house.”

Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Walker Hayes, Laney Beville Hayes; Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Hayes also expressed the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between his family life and career. On top of that, the Alabama native explained that he and Laney are always conscious about staying “100% transparent.”

“Like, the house is messy. Unapologetically – I’m not going to clean it up for socials,” he said. “You know, if Laney and I go out to eat, I’m not going to put on show clothes to eat. I’m going in sweatpants, and people can just know I wear sweatpants. There are a lot of things where we just had to say, ‘Look. I don’t have the energy to try to maintain this facade of what we’re not, so let’s just be who we are.’ And if it let[s] some people down, that’s cool.”

He continued, “Maybe it’ll encourage others in some way. And so that’s kind of how we look at it.”

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Written by

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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