Inside Bunnie Xo's Relationship With Jelly Roll's Kids

When country music sensation Jelly Roll appears on the red carpet at award shows — something he's been doing with increasing frequency over the past couple of years — he's almost always accompanied by his wife, Bunnie Xo. Like her husband, Bunnie has had a checkered past, and also, like Jelly Roll, she's moved beyond it to create a bright new future for herself as a social media maven, superstar podcaster, and burgeoning media mogul, thanks to the success of her "Dumb Blonde" podcast and similarly named production company. And while she may not yet have achieved the same level of stardom as her husband, there is absolutely no question that when it comes to catching up to his celebrity status, she's hot on his heels, if not neck and neck.

Few would argue that these two have emerged as Nashville's hottest new power couple, yet there's another member of the family who's been gaining attention in recent months: Jelly Roll's teenage daughter, Bailee Ann DeFord. Meanwhile, Jelly Roll's fans also know that he has another child, son Noah — and that Bunnie isn't the birth mother of either.

However, as those fans are also aware, she's played a role in the lives of both kids, particularly Bailee Ann. Learn more by reading on to go inside Bunnie Xo's relationship with Jelly Roll's kids.

Jelly Roll was already a father when he met Bunnie Xo

Before Jelly Roll transformed into the star he would become, he met Bunnie Xo in 2015, and the two tied the knot the following year. At the outset of their relationship, the future country music star had a bit of baggage to unload. Not only was he an ex-convict who'd been behind bars no less than 40 times, but he was also the father of two children — one of whom hadn't even arrived yet.

He recalled the awkward conversation he had with Bunnie when the two appeared together on the "Bussin' with the Boys" podcast. "I have to sit Bunnie down and go, 'Look, I have a kid that you know about that I'm fixing to have to get full custody of. There's also a woman out there that's pregnant with a kid of mine,'" he said, recalling how he broke the news. 

While that information would likely prove to be a dealbreaker for many women, Bunnie was remarkably nonplussed. "Bunnie is just like, 'Whew, man, that's a lot.'" he told the podcast's hosts. "She was like, 'But I got you.'"

She bankrolled Jelly Roll's custody fight for his daughter

Prior to the beginning of his relationship with Bunnie Xo, Jelly Roll had been attempting to gain full custody of his daughter, Bailee Ann, who was born while he was serving time in prison. To say the process wasn't going well is an understatement. As an ex-convict with an extensive criminal record, he wasn't exactly any judge's idea of an ideal parent. Meanwhile, because his music career had yet to take off, the cash-strapped rapper was far too broke to afford a lawyer.

That was where Bunnie stepped in. Flush with cash from her job as a high-priced escort, Bunnie could see how sincere he was about gaining custody of his daughter, and she took action. As Jelly Roll recounted during his appearance on "Bussin' with the Boys," the first thing she did was get them a condo that had an extra bedroom for Bailee and then fronted the money to hire an attorney.

According to the singer, not only did Bunnie selflessly expect nothing in return, but she also insisted on offering help regardless of the uncertainty of their future relationship at the time. "She said, 'No matter what happens with us, I'm gonna help you get this little girl," Jelly Roll recalled, beginning to tear up. "Bunnie bankrolled the whole s***, and she never talks about that."

Bunnie Xo became an instant stepmom

Despite the obstacles standing in their way, Jelly Roll and Bunnie Xo were granted custody of Bailee Ann in 2016 — in a 2020 Facebook post, Jelly Roll indicated that he and Bunnie had held custody of Bailee for four years at that point. As he explained, his daughter's mother had been battling issues with substance abuse, which was a big reason why he was so adamant about attaining custody. In that post, he credited his wife for making it all happen. "Bunnie is a special person who has a beautiful soul," he wrote.

With the couple entrusted with Bailee Ann, Bunnie Xo stepped into a role she'd never inhabited before: stepmother. According to her husband, she may not have had experience as a mother, but she certainly excelled at it. "It takes a special kind of woman to raise a kid that isn't her child and still treat the child as if she was," he wrote. "Bunnie is that special woman ..."

Continuing, Jelly Roll wrote about the awe he experienced watching how close Bunnie and Bailee had grown during that time. "Over the years watching her relationship with Bailee blossom into this beautiful mother daughter bond that it has become has been nothing short of magical," he gushed, adding, "You are the epitome of a good mom and deserve more credit than anyone because you didn't have to step up to the plate the way you did."

Bunnie Xo's fraught relationship with her own stepmother influenced her relationship with Bailee Ann

Interestingly, there's a very compelling reason why Bunnie Xo proved to be so adept at being a great stepmother to Jelly Roll's daughter. According to Bunnie, her birth mother abandoned her when she was still an infant, just three months old. Eventually, her father remarried, and she was raised by her father and stepmother. Sadly, her rapport with her stepmother was not a positive one; as she pointed out during an edition of her "Dumb Blonde" podcast, she decided to run away from home when she was just 14 because of their ongoing conflicts.

"I had a pretty abusive relationship with my stepmother, which is the reason I am the stepmother I am to Bailee, because I learned from her that I did not want to be that woman," Bunnie said, revealing her motivation for pouring unlimited and unconditional love into a child who wasn't technically hers.

For Bunnie, though, there was never even a moment's hesitation that she would raise Bailee as anything other than her own child. "I never want to make a child feel the way my stepmother made me feel," she explained.

Bailee Ann eventually grew to love Bunnie

The "wicked stepmother" trope is a common one for a reason, and the relationship between stepmother and stepdaughter can often be difficult to navigate. When Bunnie Xo and Jelly Roll were granted custody of Bailee Ann, that meant that the girl was being taken from her mother and the only life she'd really known. Understandably, the solid, loving relationship that Bailee has come to develop with her stepmother didn't happen overnight — nor did it start out all that promising.

"It took me a while to get close, I'll be honest," Bailee wrote in a 2022 Instagram post, paying tribute to Bunnie on her birthday. "I was scared. Skeptical of wether [sic] or not she would stay ... but she did." She continued by sharing what she'd come to discover about her stepmom as the years passed and she got to know her better. "She is the most caring woman I have ever met," she wrote. "She stepped in when no one else could. She would soon become my shoulder to cry on, my best friend, my laughter ... she built my world back up when it was broken in pieces and for that I am eternally grateful."

Bailee put an even finer point on it the following year in another Instagram post honoring her stepmom on her birthday, describing Bunnie Xo as "my idol, my mentor ... and most importantly my mama."

Bailee Ann has enriched Bunnie's life

While Jelly Roll's daughter, Bailee Ann, has made no secret of the positive influence that Bunnie Xo has exerted in her life, that's actually been a two-way street. Bunnie made that abundantly clear in a sweet video she posted on TikTok, which she accompanied with a heartfelt message about her stepdaughter.

"Everyone always asks me what the coolest part of my life is. Her," Bunnie wrote in the caption, displayed over video footage of her and Bailee hanging out together at one of Jelly Roll's concerts. "She stole my heart, flat out burglary ... 7 years ago," Bunnie continued, recalling the past that they had shared, and the similarities in their childhoods. "We both came into each other's lives hurting," she explained. "She was losing her mom & I never had one. This child has healed me in ways she will never kno [sic]."

Writing on Instagram, Bunnie shared her gratitude for what Bailee had given her. "Thank you to the sweetest, sassiest 16-year-old for teaching me the most healing life lessons ever these past 8 years & letting me be your mama," she declared.

Bunnie Xo introduced Jelly Roll's son to his fans

While Bailee Ann has been a constant presence in the social media of Jelly Roll and his wife, Bunnie Xo, for years, that hasn't been the case with the singer's son, Noah Buddy DeFord. A large part of that has been due to the fact that Noah was raised by his mother, who apparently preferred to keep him out of the spotlight. That said, Jelly Roll did offer an introduction to his son back in 2016 when, shortly after his arrival, he shared a photo on Facebook of himself cradling the newborn baby in his arms while big sis Bailee looked on in wonder. "She's so happy to be a big sister!" Jelly Roll wrote in the caption. "I've seen it all and nothing compares to this!"

It wasn't until several years later that the singer's fans got another glimpse of Noah — courtesy of Bunnie. In a video she posted on TikTok, Bunnie introduced Noah to his father's fans, and it was beyond adorable. "My name is Noah, and my favorite color is red," Noah said. 

One of Bunnie's fans chimed in with a comment, writing, "I remember when his [birth mom] didn't want to bring Noah into the spotlight. I'm so happy for y'all! You're a great bonus mom!" Bunnie offered a response, confirming that she asked Noah's mother for permission before posting the video. "Always mama-approved first," she wrote.

Bunnie helped Bailee Ann pick up her first car

Having watched stepdaughter Bailee Ann grow from a child to a teenager, Bunnie Xo has been there every step of the way to share those milestone moments that parents treasure. One of those took place in the spring of 2024 when she posted a video on TikTok in which she drove Bailee to pick up her first car. "The day has come. Our baby is f***ing driving dude. We're going in to pick up her first car ever!" Bunnie told viewers, with Bailee cheering while seated in the backseat.

As Bunnie explained, Bailee was given the choice of any car she wanted — within a budget, of course. When they finally arrived at the dealership, a GMC Sierra 1500 truck awaited, with a large yellow bow affixed to the hood. 

"Take a listen," Bailee declared as she fired up the engine for the first time. "All right Miss Thing. Love you, see you later," Bunnie told her before Bailee drove away to enjoy her new vehicle. "I can't believe it! Our baby's growing up, man. We're f***ing old, man," Bunnie told her followers, before offering a blast from the past. "I remember when we were teaching her how to ride a f***ing bike, guys," she added.

Bunnie Xo has clapped back at trolls bullying Bailee Ann on social media

Having read this far, it should be clear that Bunnie Xo's maternal instincts are pretty formidable. That's also been the case when the self-described mama bear has come to her stepdaughter's defense. Such was the case when she responded to some unflattering comments someone made online about Jelly Roll and Bailee Ann, describing both father and daughter as "massively overweight."

"It's absolutely insane to me how dense some people in the human population can be," she declared in a video she shared with her followers via TikTok. After explaining the nature of eating disorders, Bunnie took aim at the person who wrote that comment.

"For you to even come on my page and say something about my underage daughter's body shows the type of human you are," Bunnie concluded, both barrels blazing, "and I just hope you have the day that you deserve."

Bailee Ann's mother poisoned her against Bunnie Xo

When Bailee Ann first came into Bunnie Xo's life, it wasn't immediately the lovefest it is now. As Bailee explained during an appearance on Bunnie's "Dumb Blonde" podcast, her mother had been trash-talking Jelly Roll and Bailee's feelings about her dad and new stepmom were colored by what her mom had been telling her. "My mom hated my father, and I was like, 'Oh, if my mom hates him, so I hate him,'" Bailee said. "This is my mother, who I really trusted and built a really good relationship with at this point." 

During that period, Bailee's mother had spiraled into drug addiction, and she and Bailee were living in squalor. Since then, Bailee's mother has gotten sober and has mended fences with Jelly Roll and Bunnie. In 2020, Jelly Roll took to Facebook to reveal that Bailee's mother, Felicia, was 16 months sober and that Bunnie had invited her to be a guest on her podcast to tell her story. Accompanying his words was a photo of Jelly Roll and Bunnie with Bailee, who was hugging her birth mother as they all celebrated the teenager's birthday.

Bunnie Xo and Bailee Ann regularly podcast together

Bailee Ann appears frequently in the social media missives of both her parents, Jelly Roll and Bunnie Xo, and she's also become a frequent guest on the latter's "Dumb Blonde" podcast. That included one episode in which Bailee acted as host and asked them the questions. 

In an earlier episode, Bunnie quizzed Bailee about what her past year had been like after completing sixth grade, which included the revelation that she and some friends had started a band they'd called "Taco Tuesday" while enrolled in the School of Rock program. 

During another appearance, Bailee discussed the first time she ever performed onstage with her father at one of his shows. "Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous ... because I was with my dad, it's not like some random person." In addition, she also opened up about the rap verse that she wrote for "Sunshine After the Rain," which was about her experience with her birth mother. "I feel like it's easier for me to sing or be able to do something musical about my story, or how I'm feeling, than for me to talk about," she said.

Bunnie Xo and Jelly Roll leave Noah's parenting to his mom

While Bunnie Xo and Jelly Roll are hands-on parents to daughter Bailee Ann, it's a very different story with his son, Noah. "I'm the full-time parent — I'm the judge, the jury, and the executioner when it comes to decisions with her," Jelly Roll said of how he and Bunnie parent Bailee while appearing on the "Taste of Country Nights" podcast (via Biography).

When it comes to Noah, however, the couple has stepped back to leave the bulk of the parenting duties to his mother, Melisa. "And it's way more of a co-parenting ... actually, it's really way more of me just supporting [Melisa] when it comes to my son, so I try not to ever get in the way of what she's building over there," he added.

Bunnie even gave Melisa a shoutout on social media, introducing her to her fans via Instagram Stories, as reported by Taste of Country. "She's one stand-up chick & we couldn't imagine our lives without her- she holds it down for baby Noah & us especially because we are on the road so much," Bunnie wrote in the caption of a photo she posted, in which she's posing with Melisa, who's holding Noah. "It takes a village to raise these babies & luckily we have her as a part of the family," she added, concluding, "Love you girl!"

Bunnie Xo joked that Bailee Ann was 'grounded for life' after being caught sneaking out after dark

The loving bond between Bunnie Xo and stepdaughter Bailee Ann has been evident for some time, but that isn't the only facet of her role as the parent of a teenager. Bunnie made that clear in May 2024 when she shared a video on TikTok with the caption, "When your teen gets caught sneaking out ... wait for it." As the video progressed, viewers were shown footage from a security camera, in which Bailee Ann is seen sneaking out of the house late at night, meeting a friend. "Grounded for life," she added in another caption.

That wasn't the first time that Bailee had been grounded. Appearing with Bunnie on her "Dumb Blonde" podcast, they discussed how Bailee had been grounded earlier that month. When Bunnie asked her stepdaughter to recall what she'd done that led her to be grounded, Bailee protested, "I don't even remember!" Laughing, Bunnie replied, "That's what you get grounded for, to remember so you don't do it again, silly!"

Later in that same podcast, Bailee asserted that Bunnie was the stricter of her parents. "Bunnie is stricter on most things," Bailee said. "If I say something, it sticks, right?" Bunnie added.