The Truth About Nathaniel Rateliff's Divorce

The past few years have been pretty hectic for Nathaniel Rateliff. The singer-songwriter has lived through a slew of changes in his personal life. For one, he split from his band Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, or at least took a hiatus. "I did get some random comments where people have been like, 'Are the Night Sweats done?'" he told Esquire in 2020. "No. They're not." It was a big move for Rateliff to step away from the people and the musical style that catapulted him to fame in the first place.

This came on the heels of yet another blow; in 2018, his close friend and the manager of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats suddenly died. The loss inspired many of the songs that appeared on the 2020 solo album, "And it's Still Alright." His manager's death, caused by kidney and liver issues brought on by heavy drinking, has an even more profound effect on Rateliff in that it inspired him to get sober, per The Star.

The greatest change Rateliff faced, though, was the breakup of his marriage which just so happened to coincide with writing the new album, achieving sobriety, and the death of a close friend. Here's what we know about the split and how it inspired Rateliff's music.

Nathaniel Rateliff processed his divorce with music

Nathaniel Rateliff hasn't spoken about his divorce or marriage publicly. He's only ever addressed it on his solo album "And it's Still Alright." Rateliff and his ex-wife, Jules Bathea-Rateliff, technically split while he was recording the second LP with his band, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, but he didn't feel ready to address the issue at that time. Rateliff retreated to the desert for a few days to focus and reflect to really dig into the pain. "I remember writing the songs in the desert, and it was almost like you're writing with this prophetic sense, letting your subconscious go places," he told Esquire. "But I was like, 'Well, I can't actually say that. That gives away too much information.'"

To Rateliff, songwriting is therapeutic. "You Need Me" stands out to Rateliff as nothing less than prophetic. He said, per his website, "I find out what I'm really thinking when I put it down in a song. It's surprising and a little unnerving for me to see it now." Similarly, Rateliff shared that "Time Stand," a song about his divorce, had him in tears when he finished recording. With lyrics like "I can take the pain, But I can't take all the hatred," it's easy to understand why.

The good news? Rateliff has moved on, as evidenced by "Kissing Our Friends," a song he claims is about finally coming to terms with his failed marriage.