What We Know About The Moms Of Jelly Roll's Kids

Jelly Roll overcame a troubled past (which included time in prison as a teen), as well as his share of tragedy and a rocky start to his career, to become one of the hottest artists in country music. Jelly Roll (whose real name is Jason DeFord) first caught listeners' attention with 2001's "Son of a Sinner," then became a full-blown star thanks to 2023's "Need a Favor." That year, he won his first CMA Award and even scored a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

The Tennessee native has continued his meteoric rise, all while balancing his home life as a loving husband and dad of two. While his marriage to Bunnie Xo may seem strange to some, they've made it through some difficult situations that would have broken many other couples — not least of which had to do with Jelly's two kids, Bailee Ann and Noah Buddy DeFord, and their respective moms. 

When he and Bunnie married in 2016, she had to concede to an unconventional arrangement. "You're talking about a woman that came in and took a child that was soon to be born and a child that [we were] soon to have full custody of," Jelly told Billboard in 2023 while praising Bunnie Xo. Since then, she's filled her social pages with her blended family — and yet, the kiddos' moms have remained largely out of the spotlight. Here's everything we know about the two mothers of Jelly Roll's kids.

Felicia Beckwith had Bailee Ann while Jelly Roll was incarcerated

Jelly Roll has been exceptionally honest about his past. He was first arrested at 14, then charged as an adult for aggravated robbery at 16. He served just over a year behind bars, then was jailed again at 23, this time for drug dealing. As he told Billboard in 2023, he was sure the rest of his life would be spent in and out of facilities. However, everything changed on May 22, 2008. That was the day that Felicia Beckwith (a woman he had met at a mutual friend's house) gave birth to their daughter, Bailee Ann DeFord. "A guard knocks on my cell door midafternoon during lockdown," Jelly told the mag. "He goes, 'You had a kid today.'" While he knew Felicia was pregnant, he wasn't thrilled. "I was just irritated by it," he admitted. "Like, 'I've really f***ed up now.'"

Initially, it seemed like Felicia would be left to raise their daughter on her own, as Jelly remained behind bars and grappled with the idea of fatherhood. As Bailee Ann told Bunnie Xo's "Dumb Blonde" podcast in 2024, they moved in with Felicia's parents and her mom began dating someone else. At the same time, Jelly was transferred to an education unit where he studied for (and passed) his GED before being released. He first met his daughter on her second birthday — "I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs," he recalled — and they slowly built a relationship while she continued living with her mom and stepdad.

Felicia didn't initially want Jelly Roll to see their daughter

Once Jelly Roll was released from prison, he began taking music seriously. He started recording and touring non-stop and, as he admitted in his "Jelly Roll: Save Me" documentary (via Life & Style), "I was a very less-than-present father." At the same time, he was battling alcohol addiction, and when he was home Felicia Beckwith didn't want Bailee Ann spending too much time with her dad. "Bailee's mother made it hard on me at first," Jelly said in the film. "She made me go to court to even see her." As a result, Bailee Ann was mostly with her mom and, as she told Bunnie Xo's "Dumb Blonde" podcast in 2024, "Things were fine for the first couple of years." Sadly, everything changed by the time she entered first grade.

In 2016, Felicia was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. After the diagnosis, she became addicted to prescription painkillers, which led to heroin. Her boyfriend was also using, which left a 6-year-old Bailee Ann to fend for herself. As Bunnie recalled, her heart broke when she and Jelly went to Felicia's home and saw Bailee Ann trying to cook dinner for her two younger cousins. 

Bunnie stopped using pills cold turkey, and Jelly was equally inspired to do better. "It really helped me straighten my s*** out," he said in the doc, per Hollywood Life. "It made me realize how important it was for me to be there for her." Soon after, he and Bunnie won full custody of a 7-year-old Bailee Ann.

Inside Felicia Beckwith's struggle with addiction

Bailee Ann had been living with Jelly Roll and Bunnie Xo full-time for four years when her biological mom reached out to reconnect. Jelly welcomed her efforts and marked the occasion on Facebook in June 2020, posting a photo of them all together and writing, "I've experience first hand the impact an addiction can have on a family ... 16 months ago, Felicia got sober in jail." He wrote how both he and Bunnie were happy to incorporate her into their daughter's life, and Bunnie even interviewed Felicia Beckwith on her "Dumb Blonde" podcast. "It makes my whole family happy to see her battle her way out of the pits of addiction," Jelly told fans. "Feels good to have her back to the normal Felicia we all know and love."

Unfortunately, Jelly revealed in 2024 that his ex had relapsed. The singer spoke about how difficult it was on his daughter while testifying in front of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee that January. "Every day I get to look in the eyes of a victim in my household," he said, per Taste of Country, in an effort to urge Congress to pass the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act. "Every single day I have to wonder ... if today will be the day I have to tell my daughter that her mother became a part of the national statistic."

Felicia introduced Bailee Ann to drugs

Bailee Ann's mom reappeared in her life two days before her 12th birthday. As she recalled on a 2024 episode of Bunnie Xo's podcast, "Dumb Blonde," Felicia Beckwith was clean, out of jail, and staying in a sober living facility. "She was doing the mom thing, it was pretty cool," Bailee Ann recalled. Jelly Roll and Bunnie were happy to let Bailee Ann rebuild a relationship with her biological mom, and so in 2022, 14-year-old Bailee Ann went to spend the summer with Felicia. 

Soon, things spiraled out of control. "We start drinking together and I'm like, 'Okay, you're just a cool mom,'" Bailee Ann recalled. Then Felicia bought her weed and eventually "manipulated and convinced me" into trying drugs. Recounting that day in painful detail, Bailee Ann said she had no idea her mom was using again until they stopped by Felicia's dealer. Then they pulled into an empty Dollar General parking lot and her mom asked if she wanted to try the drugs. She refused, but told Bunnie, "I ended up doing it because she's, like I said, manipulative." Over the next eight months, there was not a day Bailee Ann was sober.

Fortunately, she decided to get clean so she could make the most of her freshman year of high school. "When does the motherly instinct kick in?" Bunnie wondered. "I don't think it does," said Bailee Ann. "I don't think she has one."

Melisa takes the lead on Noah's upbringing

Jelly Roll welcomed his second child, son Noah Buddy DeFord, in August 2016 with a woman named Melisa. Taking to Facebook to make his official announcement, he cheekily wrote, "God Bless this Child to be everything I am not!" While he didn't reveal much about Noah's mom, it was clear they were not together as, mere days after the post, he married Bunnie Xo in a spontaneous Las Vegas wedding. 

That timeline may sound like a recipe for disaster, but the trio seems to be co-parenting smoothly — with Melisa taking the lead. "I'm the full-time parent, I'm the judge, the jury and the executioner, when it comes to decisions with [Bailee]," Jelly told Taste of Country. When it comes to Noah, though, Melisa is the custodial parent, meaning she has primary physical custody and she makes most of the decisions. "I try not to get in the way of what [Melisa] is building over there, and I never want to step on her toes," the singer explained. "I want to just respect that boundary."

Bunnie Xo is equally on board. When she posted a video with 6-year-old Noah on TikTok in July 2023, it was with Melisa's permission. "He always goes on vacation with us, and we just always try to shoot around him," Jelly told Taste of Country. This trip, Bunnie really wanted to post a clip with Noah, but, as Jelly revealed, she only felt comfortable doing so after she texted Melisa to get the green light.

Melisa and Bunnie Xo have a great relationship

Bunnie Xo has made it clear that she is no fan of Bailee Ann's mom, Felicia Beckwith. In a February 2024 episode of her podcast, "Dumb Blonde," Bunnie invited her stepdaughter to talk about her troubled relationship with her mom and, as Bailee Ann recounted how Felicia introduced her to alcohol and drugs, Bunnie couldn't hold back her anger and pain. "That s*** infuriates me," she slammed. "It's so hard to hear."

Luckily, her relationship with Noah's mom, Melisa, is the complete opposite. In July 2023, Bunnie posted a photo of herself with Melisa and Noah to Facebook and used the caption to praise Noah's mama. "She's one stand up chick and we couldn't imagine our lives without her," she wrote. "She holds it down for baby Noah and us especially because we are on the road so much." Noting that it takes a village to raise a child, she applauded Melisa's constant, positive presence in Noah's life and enthused, "Love you girl!" What's more, Bunnie also shares a strong bond with Noah, as shown in the sweet TikTok video she posted in 2023 in which she calls him "the sweetest boy."