Tragic Details About Bunnie Xo

The following article includes references to addiction, mental health issues, domestic abuse, and child abuse.

Jelly Roll overcame a tragic past to become a chart-topping country musician, and along the way, he met a remarkable woman who has also faced a lot of adversity: his wife, podcaster Bunnie Xo. These days, no one sings Bunnie's praises louder than him. "This woman has truly changed my life in every way possible," he wrote in a 2022 Instagram post.

When Jelly Roll's whirlwind romance with Bunnie began, the "Need a Favor" singer needed a lot more than a little favor to turn his life around. "When I met her, I was homeless living out of a '96 conversion van," he told Taste of Country. This is why it's so unfair when people are dismissive of the role his wife has played in his success. Possibly because of her attractive appearance and her past as a sex worker, Bunnie's haters love to label her with the "gold digger" epithet. "If anyone was digging for gold, it was I," said Jelly Roll. 

On the "Bussin' With the Boys" podcast, Jelly Roll revealed that Bunnie also helped him gain custody of his daughter Bailee Ann when he couldn't afford an attorney or a place for him and his little girl to call home. "I was like, 'Man, what character,'" he recalled thinking. According to Bunnie, she became determined to help Bailee Ann when she saw that Jelly Roll's daughter was living in squalor with a mother who was an addict. The sad situation reminded Bunnie of her own traumatic upbringing.

Her mother abandoned her and her stepmother was abusive

Bunnie Xo was born in Houston, where her mother, Vanessa, stripped for a living, and her dad, Bill, was a musician who lived a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Her mom didn't stick around to raise her. "She ran off when I was three months old," Bunnie recalled on her "Dumb Blonde" podcast.

Both of Bunnie's parents did drugs. When her mom left, Bunnie's father was in the hospital because he had contracted hepatitis C from a dirty needle. So, Bunnie's mom deposited her at the front door of a stranger. "It took my dad two weeks to find me. When they found me, I was locked in a closet," Bunnie recalled on Kailyn Lowry's "Barely Famous" podcast.

Bunnie's dad remarried when she was 5 years old. On "Dumb Blonde," she revealed that her new stepmother, Michelle, was just 17. "It was a baby raising a baby," she said. However, Michelle's inexperience isn't what made her a terrible stepmother. "She was also extremely verbally abusive, put my head through walls," Bunnie recalled on the "Sofia with an F" podcast. Michelle also physically fought her. Bunnie's horrific treatment at home made her lash out and fight at school, which got her expelled on more than one occasion. But what made her father unhappy was to learn that she had gotten beaten up. "He took me out in the backyard for two weeks and whooped my a**, taught me how to fight," Bunnie recalled.

She ran away from home at age 14

Bunnie Xo's family moved to Las Vegas when she was 5, and her stepmother gave birth around that time. While her stepsister was spoiled rotten, Bunnie got the Cinderella treatment. "I was the one who was picking up dog s**t and mowing lawns and weed-eating at f**king 8, 9 years old," she recalled on "Barely Famous." But Bunnie didn't let her situation break her spirit.

Unfortunately, Bunnie's dad would not take accountability for his role in her dysfunctional home life, nor was he working on improving the situation. Instead, he told her he was taking her to Disneyland one day – but their actual destination was a psychiatric hospital, where he had Bunnie committed. She recalled how she reacted to this betrayal, saying, "I looked at him across the table, and I was like, 'I will never let you make me feel like a disappointment again.'"

Bunnie was 14 at the time, and her parents had made some serious changes to how the family lived by becoming strict Pentecostals. "I couldn't listen to secular music. I couldn't watch rated PG movies," Bunnie recalled. She soon decided that she'd had enough of her family and opted to leave home. She lived with a friend and worked as a lifeguard and waitress to support herself. Of her decision to run away, Bunnie said on the "Wife of the Party" podcast, "I grew up around a lot of people I didn't want to be like."

Her abortion experience was traumatic

When Bunnie Xo lost her virginity at age 16, she ended up getting pregnant. She was living at the home of a friend, who told Bunnie that she couldn't continue staying there if she had a baby. The boy who got Bunnie pregnant also had no interest in being a father, so she agreed to get an abortion if he could give her the money for it.

The procedure was performed at Planned Parenthood in Las Vegas. "I remember getting on the table, and they f**king gave me a picture of my ultrasound," Bunnie recalled on "Barely Famous." This made her start having second thoughts about going through with the abortion, so she begged the doctor to stop. "And he still f**king did the abortion. And not only that, I felt them ripping the baby out of me," she continued. She said the procedure was extremely painful because she hadn't received the correct amount of medication. Bunnie also believes the doctor performed it incorrectly, which caused her to later experience two potentially deadly ectopic pregnancies.

Bunnie's first ectopic pregnancy resulted in her being rushed to the hospital after she began experiencing abdominal pain at school. The second time, she revealed that the much older guy she was dating, Steve, left her alone for three days after she underwent surgery to remove the ectopic pregnancy. During that time, she didn't eat. "I think that was the first time I ever felt sadness," she said.

She was with her ex-boyfriend when he died

When Bunnie Xo underwent her first ectopic pregnancy surgery, she was dating a guy named Tony. "He was my real first love," she said on "Barely Famous." Bunnie's father and stepmother came to the hospital, but she refused to leave with them after the procedure and ran away with Tony instead.

When Tyler Henry appeared on "Dumb Blonde," Bunnie told the "Hollywood Medium" star she was with Tony when he died. She and Tony were no longer together by that time, but she still cared enough about him to visit him while he was in a coma. She was joined at the hospital by the guy she was dating, Frank, whose name had popped into Henry's head when he first started giving Bunnie a reading. "I knew [Tony] was already dead. My ex had smoked fake weed, and it sent him into cardiac arrest," Bunnie said.

The podcaster recalled experiencing an eerie moment at Tony's bedside that made her certain he was gone. "I was holding his hand. I could see him standing, looking at me in the corner of the room," she continued. According to Bunnie, Tony was a rare bright spot in her painful past. "He actually always loved me," she said. Henry also had a message from beyond for Bunnie from Tony: "I think that guy wants you to know how proud of you he is." While "Hollywood Medium" might be totally fake, it was still a sweet moment.

She was in an abusive relationship

Bunnie Xo was in an abusive relationship when she first met Jelly Roll in 2015. She dated the guy for almost five years, revealing on "Sofia with an F" that their relationship started out as a mutually supportive one before it took a dark — and terrifying — turn. "He strangled me so bad one night that he burst all the blood vessels in both of my eyes," Bunnie recalled. "He broke my orbital bone. He cracked my larynx." 

On "Dumb Blonde," Bunnie said that her ex damaged her throat so badly that she lost her singing voice. He also tried to keep her from going to the hospital after he beat her, but she managed to see a doctor when he caused the aforementioned injuries. "The doctor said to me that he's only seen injuries like that in somebody's eyes that have been strangled to death," she said.

On another occasion, Bunnie's ex beat her in the backseat of a cab. He had grown incensed after Bunnie dared to protest his plan to celebrate Christmas Eve at a Vegas strip joint. "It was so bad that I saw my guardian angel," Bunnie said on "Sofia with an F." She thinks the cab driver didn't intervene because her ex was so frightening. It took her abuser going to prison for her to get away from him — then she was free to pursue a relationship with Jelly Roll.

She was struggling with addiction when she reconnected with her mom

In a 2022 appearance on the "Sex and Violence with Rebel Girl" podcast, Bunnie Xo detailed her experience with addiction. She revealed that she used to drink heavily and take several different drugs, including cocaine, Xanax, and Lortabs (a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen). "If you look back on pictures of me from six years ago, I look older than I do now, 'cause I was literally f**king just partying my a** off," she said. Bunnie kicked her cocaine habit first, and she was dating Jelly Roll when she decided that she wanted to get completely sober. While she tried tackling her Xanax addiction, she found help from an unexpected source.

According to Bunnie, she was not the best version of herself when taking Xanax recreationally. "I f**ked up friendships. ... I f**king stole s**t," she said. On "Dumb Blonde," Bunnie shared that she even overdosed on the drug twice.

She also revealed that she had reconnected with her mother on the internet at age 22, and the woman who walked out on Bunnie when she was a baby ended up being who helped her the most when she was trying to get sober. "I called my mom every night at like 2 or 3 in the morning just bawling my eyes out," she recalled, "and I even told her, I don't want to end up like you.' ... She was just there for me, dude, like nobody else."

Her scary sex work experiences

Bunnie Xo's career in the sex industry started when her ex, Steve, broke her heart. "He cheated on me with a stripper. And I was like, 'Well, she can do it. I can do it,'" she recalled on "Barely Famous." But her first experience stripping at age 18 didn't go so well. She couldn't stop breaking wind due to nerves, and she found one customer's bizarre request to kick him in the nether regions upsetting. "I ran out of there f**king crying my eyes out," she said. Bunnie worked as an escrow assistant and loan processor before she gave stripping another shot at age 21. Eventually, she discovered that there was better money in being a high-class call girl. However, it was also a more dangerous gig.

On the "This Is the Worst" podcast, Bunnie talked about some of her scariest experiences working as an escort. "I've gotten punched in my face before and held in hotel rooms and stuff like that," she said. She was also horrified to learn that one of her clients was in possession of child sex abuse material. "I just immediately felt my insides crumble," she recalled.

Despite the dark side of her work, Bunnie found it empowering. "I was sexually abused, and I was raped when I was younger," she said on "Sofia with an F," adding, "Sex work was my way of taking my power back." She explained this is because men could only touch her if they paid her.

She and Jelly Roll briefly broke up

Jelly Roll and Bunnie Xo have a pretty incredible life together now, but their relationship hit a rough spot in 2018. Fans who closely followed Bunnie's YouTube channel back then learned that the couple had split up. Bunnie cried as she spoke about the sad development. "Can't eat. Literally can't make it through a day without wanting to cry," she said in one of her vlogs.

Bunnie was more angry than sorrowful in a follow-up video. She revealed that she had recently confirmed her suspicions that Jelly Roll had cheated on her. While one of the aspects of Bunnie and Jelly Roll's marriage that some people might find strange is that Jelly Roll can sleep with other women, Bunnie said on the "Barely Famous" podcast, "The one rule was don't lie to me, and don't do s**t behind my back."

Bunnie and Jelly Roll's breakup didn't last long. On "Wife of the Party," Bunnie said that she and the "Save Me" singer had a heart-to-heart conversation about what he did. When he came clean, she learned that Jelly Roll had a year-long affair with one of his exes. While Bunnie called learning that he had been unfaithful "the worst feeling in the world," she decided that her relationship with Jelly Roll was worth saving. So, the couple put the work into mending their relationship by attending therapy. "That's where I learned that you have to be comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations," said Bunnie. 

Her parents' tragic deaths

In 2020, Bunnie Xo shared a TikTok video of her warm reunion with her mother, Vanessa. In the caption, she revealed that the two of them had been in contact for 15 years but hadn't met up in person before then. Sadly, her mom died from an unspecified illness two years later. The day after her death, Jelly Roll wrote on Instagram, "My wife moved Vanessa to Tennessee to try to get her the medical help she needed." Bunnie later gave Vanessa some grace in her own Instagram post. She revealed that she had come to understand that Vanessa's struggle with addiction was the reason she abandoned Bunnie when she was a baby. After admitting that she had still spent years being angry with her mom, Bunnie added, "Rest easy Mama, forgiving you was the best thing I ever did."

The year after she lost her mother, Bunnie took to TikTok to reveal that she was moving her father, Bill, to Tennessee. He'd been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and Bunnie was appalled by his doctors suggesting that she let him die after he got deathly ill with pneumonia. On top of that, he had a blood clot. "Whatever my Pops wants, we're gonna do, just to give it the old good fight," she said.

Tragically, Bill died in May 2024. "Hey Bill, I'm going to miss you," Bunnie wrote on Instagram. "You are still my favorite rock star & my hero. This one's going to hurt."

What she's said about her mental health issues

While Bunnie Xo may be resilient, dealing with her mental health struggles has been challenging. In a YouTube vlog, she revealed that she suffered a terrible panic attack at age 18 after taking ecstasy. This is when she began experiencing anxiety. In another vlog, she said one reason she was getting her breast implants removed was that she hoped it would alleviate it. "It got to a point where I couldn't even be around large groups of people," Bunnie shared. This made it difficult for her to attend Jelly Roll's concerts.

Bunnie's mental issues worsened in 2020. On Facebook, she revealed that she experienced a frightening depressive episode while shooting the music video for Jelly Roll's song "A Beautiful Disaster." Bunnie wrote, "I was so off mentally [and] so scared of what I might do to myself. I had just had my implants removed a few months before this, suffered a miscarriage a month earlier [and] my hormones were all over the place."

On "Sofia with an F," Bunnie said that what helps her the most when she's depressed is to get moving. "I want to get up, put f***in' makeup on, go to work, do something to take my mind off of it, and be productive," she stated. Even when she's at her lowest, there's clearly no snuffing out that hustler spirit. So please, don't write her off as a "gold digger" — she prefers the term "GOAL digger."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues or mental health, is dealing with domestic abuse, or may be the victim of child abuse, contact the relevant resources below: