What Jelly Roll Has Said About The Heartbreaking Death Of His Mother-In-Law

The whirlwind start to Jelly Roll and Bunnie Xo's romance marked the beginning of a healing experience for the couple. Both Roll and Bunnie had complicated childhoods that involved dealing with parental mental illness and addiction. Bunnie's mother, Vanessa, ran off when she was just 3 months old, leaving her to be raised by her father and an abusive stepmother. They didn't reconnect until after she was an adult. Before Vanessa died in November 2022, Bunnie moved her to Tennessee to care for her.

Bunnie's forgiveness of her mother and journey of acceptance has left Roll in awe. Vanessa reached out to Bunnie on an online chatroom when she was 22. They rekindled their relationship, but mother and daughter wouldn't meet in person for another decade. Although, they became close even before then. Vanessa became instrumental in Bunnie's journey to overcome her addiction to Xanax. "I called my mom every night at like 2 or 3 in the morning just bawling my eyes out," she told Roll on the "Dumb Blond" podcast in 2020.

When everyone turned their backs on Bunnie, her mother gave her the unwavering support she needed. "Because she had that loyalty to me in one of my darkest moments, I love her and I respect her," she said. Bunnie never regretted welcoming her mother back in her life. "I love her for who she is," she told Roll. And the country star is also glad he had the opportunity to meet and learn from his mother-in-law.

Jelly Roll is proud of Bunnie Xo for forgiving her mother

In the year leading up to her mother's death on November 3, 2022, Jelly Roll's wife brought her to their home state so Vanessa could receive medical treatment. The experience allowed Roll and Bunnie Xo to bring both of their moms together. Roll shared a snippet of the meeting between Bunnie's mother and his own to Instagram, which he used to share how proud he was of Bunnie. "My wife is the strongest human I have ever encountered," he captioned the post. 

Roll gushed about his wife's willingness to always look for the positive in everything, regardless of how much hurt she has experienced. "Her heart never ceases to amaze me and her ability to find the silver lining and the lesson in every turn," he said. But despite Vanessa's complicated past and the trauma she inflicted on Bunnie, Roll also saw the good she had in her. "This is a sweet woman, by the way, I think the world of her, too," he said on the "Dumb Blonde" podcast.

Vanessa's death hit Bunnie harder than she could have anticipated. "No matter how bulletproof I think I am, losing a parent — was harder than expected," she wrote on Instagram. Thankfully, she had Roll by her side to ensure that she could be vulnerable and not have to pretend she was OK. "I didn't want to be strong & he made sure I didn't have to be. Thank you punkinpieangelface," she said.

Bunnie Xo also lost her father not long after

Vanessa wasn't the only parent Bunnie Xo has grieved. She also had to say goodbye to her father, Bill. In September 2023, Bunnie learned her father had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer the previous year. He kept it to himself because he wanted to try holistic treatments first. But the cancer metastasized, spreading to his bone marrow. "His bones are breaking, he can't lift his arms, walk, barely eat & he's in so much pain you can't even hug him," she wrote in an Instagram video.

Bill died in May 2024. "Hey Bill, I'm going to miss you. You are still my favorite rock star & my hero. This one's going to hurt," Bunnie announced on Instagram. Later that month, Jelly Roll revealed Bunnie was struggling to come to terms with his death, not only because she had no parents left, but also because of the nature of their relationship. "She's hurt ... They really didn't start getting too cool until she was in her 30s and even then, it was very tumultuous," he said on the Taste of Country Nights "On Demand" podcast.

Her rapprochement with her father followed a similar timeline to her meeting with her mother. Even though she only had a few years of happy times with them, she never looked back. Bunnie put her tragic past behind her. "Rest easy Mama, forgiving you was the best thing I ever did," she wrote on Instagram