What We Know About Jelly Roll's Troubled Past (& His Time In Prison)

This article contains mention drug and substance abuse.

Country music star Jelly Roll serves as an inspiration to many, as he has turned his life around from a troubling past. From middle adolescence to young adulthood, Jelly Roll experienced a revolving door of prison stints — doing time for offenses including drug possession with intent to distribute, alongside aggravated robbery.

The country singer recalled a moment that changed his life forever. The guard informed him that he had a daughter. He reportedly thought about all of the great things his own father did for him, and was eager to shape up and show that he was responsible enough to take care of his child.

After getting out of jail for the final time, the "Son of a Sinner" singer turned to a music career, which has earned him a name to remember in the industry. "Shortly after I got out of jail, I sat right over there in row 7 ... and I cried like a baby and watched him sing," the singer said during his Grand Ole Opry debut, before singing alongside Craig Morgan. "That same kid that was in jail and struggling, his wife is sitting right there. He's not sitting there — he's standing next to Craig Morgan." But the singer's success didn't happen overnight. It took several epiphanies to get to where he is today.

Jelly Roll spoke out about mental health and jail time

Jelly Roll attributes his time spent in jail to his childhood. "In the beginning, I did a lot of drugs," he told Billboard. "I drank a lot of codeine, a lot of cough syrup. I took a lot of Xanax, did a lot of cocaine, just really took it overboard." He mentioned that his mother and his daughter's mother, who both struggled with addiction, also took a toll on his life. "When you grow up in a middle- and lower-class community, no one sees the effects of drug abuse like those people," he added.

He has also opened up about having anxiety, and how that affected his past life decisions. "I felt like nobody accepted me," he told Audacy. "When you feel like nobody accepts you, there's always that one group that will and it's always the trouble." He then added that a lot of his troubled past had to do with the fact that he had no support systems. "I feel like I might have made some crazy different life decisions if I could have sat down and felt vocal enough to say, 'Hey, I'm leaning towards this because I don't feel accepted anywhere else,'" he said.

The singer also opened up to People about his experience in jail, recalling the "most impactful thing" and the "darkest moment" in his life was being 15 years old, and not being able to be with his family for the holidays.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Jelly Roll found an emotional outlet in music

Since being out of jail, Jelly Roll has used music as an outlet for his emotions, which has made him a very popular artist. "Complete vulnerability is my constant goal in writing," he told Billboard. "Music was the way I found out I wasn't alone." He mentioned that "Save Me" was the first time he truly let his singing voice be heard, as he considers it his "breakthrough" song.

And the songs he's written and recorded seem to be translating well to listeners, as it has earned him a CMT Award. "I want you to know that I don't know what you're going through, and I don't know what you've been through, but I know you can overcome it," he said during his powerful acceptance speech. "I told them that I wanted to be a country singer and I am standing here at the CMT Awards with the Male Video of the Year, baby!"

The country star hasn't shied away from his past either, as he — along with Brantley Gilbert, Struggle Jennings, and other country music singers — performed a small concert for the inmates at the jail he served time at. It was also reported that he plans to donate $250,000 to the juvenile center he was in and out of. He plans to build a recording studio to help the young inmates find an outlet in music.