The Untold Truth Of Cole Swindell

Whether he's in front of a mic or in the writing room, Cole Swindell is a country music sensation. The Georgia native boasts ten No. 1 singles at time of writing, according to his official website — with major hits including "Ain't Worth the Whiskey" and "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight" gracing our airwaves on the regular.

Even though Swindell's lyrics are deeply personal ("I want to see that want ya smile, still got me hooked, been hooked for a while," anyone?), the singer-songwriter is actually a very private person, and hasn't shared too many details from his behind-the-scenes life in the years he has been in the spotlight. Still, we've used our sleuthing skills to gather all the intimate tidbits he has generously let us in on. If you only know Swindell from rocking out to your favorite country station, here's everything you probably don't know about the musician.

In high school, Cole Swindell was a full-fledged sportsman

Cole Swindell isn't just about the music; sports have also been a big part of his life for a long time. In fact, his high school was so tiny that Swindell, with his decent sporting ability, was called upon to join basically every sports team imaginable. "I graduated with about 23 people, so if you were the least bit athletic, you kind of had to play everything," Swindell recalled to CBS Los Angeles in 2014. "So I played baseball, basketball, football, ran track and played golf."

Despite this mind-boggling list of extracurriculars, Swindell must have found some time for homework, since he went on to study at Georgia Southern University, whose team he continues to support. As far as professional sports teams go, he roots for the Atlanta Braves the Atlanta Falcons. "Being a big Braves fan, Turner Field would be cool to play a show at," Swindell told CBS Los Angeles. "Maybe one day we can book me a show at Turner Field." (As of 2016, Turner Field is no longer where the Braves play. It ended up getting scooped up by Georgia State's football team and has been renamed Center Parc Stadium.) Did we mention he's from Georgia?

Cole Swindell and Luke Bryan are fraternity brothers

At Georgia Southern University, Cole Swindell joined the campus' chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity, which boasted a now-very famous alum: none other than country superstar Luke Bryan. "We went to the same college just at different times, and when I went to college I had just started singing," Swindell told KIX Country. "I was playing at bars and, at that point, it was just cover songs. Then the day I met Luke, he played something he had written, and it made me want to write my own songs."

Swindell also opened up about his life as a fraternity brother for The Magazine of Sigma Chi. He revealed that he almost joined another fraternity on campus, because he had friends who were members, but that when he rushed Sigma Chi, he knew he'd found something special. "I ended up at the Sigma Chi house one night and just met some of the guys and, you know, it was... it was more than just a party ... I don't know, there was something more to it ... They had a different mindset, I felt like, and they were kinda like the people that reminded me of my family and how I was raised." It wasn't an easy decision for Swindell, but he's so happy he ended up in that house.

Starting out as Luke Bryan's merch man

When you have big dreams like Cole Swindell did, you have to start somewhere. That somewhere, for Swindell, was behind his fraternity brother Luke Bryan's merch table during his concerts in Nashville. "I ultimately moved to Nashville and I was applying downtown trying to find a job to pay the bills and he happened to need a merch guy so, man, I didn't plan it like that, but getting to learn from a new artist at that point and now he's one of the biggest stars out there... it's pretty cool to say I went from merchandise to having my own merchandise now," Swindell told Fox411 Country.

This gig meant that the young Swindell had tons of free time, as well as finding himself in the inspirational environment that is the capital of country music. He soaked it all up and used it to write his own songs. Looking back, he's so grateful for the experience that he hopes to be able to provide similar opportunities for up-and-coming artists. Generous man that he is, Swindell also shared his best advice for being a super successful merch guy with USA Today in 2014: always arranging shirts by size and in packs of 12, to make counting them easier.

Cole Swindell lives for songwriting

Since Luke Bryan first inspired him to write songs, Cole Swindell has been unstoppable. Beyond penning many of his own tunes, the multitalented artist boasts writing credits on dozens of super famous, chart-topping hits. "I'm friends with Luke [Bryan], he's recorded several of songs that I've written," Swindell told Fox411 Country in 2014. "Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Brian and Tyler are two of my good buddies, I have their current single out that Luke's actually singing on, I wrote that with those three guys it's called 'This is How We Roll.'" Yes, as in that "This is How We Roll." Swindell has also broken out the pen and paper for Thomas Rhett, Scotty McCreery, Craig Campbell, and Chris Young.

As well as being his greatest passion in life, songwriting was a major lifeline for Swindell during the pandemic — and you better believe it involved plenty of video calls. "I'm just thankful we can write over the computer," Swindell told Sounds Like Nashville. "I've been writing with people I know; I think it would be hard to do your first writing session with someone if you're not in the room with them. There's nothing like being in a room with people and throwing out a great line and freaking out. It's as good as being on stage." The pandemic obviously meant that Swindell couldn't tour anymore, so at least he could still perfect his craft. What's more, he was also inspired in his writing by what was going on in the world. Silver linings.

Cole Swindell's dad died just weeks after a huge career milestone

It's no accident that 2016's "You Should Be Here" is such a touching song. It was written about how much Cole Swindell misses his dad, William Swindell, who passed away unexpectedly in 2013. That track is the young Swindell's most meaningful tribute to his old man. "I found out that other people had been through the same thing and just the success of that song, and hearing stories every single night about people that have been through what I've been through, that's by far the highlight of my career so far," he told Her Campus in 2017.

The timing of William's death made it all the more heartbreaking: Just six weeks after Cole had signed a career-defining record deal, William died in a work-related accident. "I've been able to experience so many things since I've had my record deal," Cole told the Tennessean. "I just know that he was proud, but I know that these moments — if he was there and could share it with me — it would be even better."

Sadly, this wasn't the last painful bereavement for the singer. Swindell's mom, Betty Carol Rainey, died in September 2021. Her son confirmed the news in his Instagram Stories that day (via Taste of Country). Over a photo of the late afternoon sky from an airplane window, he wrote, "Took this on the flight home to Georgia this afternoon. Lost my sweet Mom today. I know she's up there. Gonna miss her so much."

Cole Swindell has known his fair share of heartbreak

As you might have inferred from his lyrics, Cole Swindell knows how painful it can be when a relationship ends. But ever the optimist, Swindell keeps his eyes firmly set on moving forward — and he has drawn a ton of wisdom from his past relationships. His advice for getting over someone you loved? "Just lean on good friends, that's the best advice I have," as he told Her Campus in 2017.

Speaking to the outlet about his single "Ain't Worth the Whiskey," Swindell explained, "That song is written about a true story, an ex I was trying to get over, and it's kind of a denial song about I'm out here drinking to a country song, raising a glass to my buddies, but in reality you're kind of there trying to forget about her." The star also addressed his song "Break Up in the End" with Songwriter Universe, saying, "I've certainly lived that. I think it's a breakup song, but it's also a love have that kind of love where you really don't regret it; it's just not gonna work out. You know you wouldn't change anything."

But even though Swindell knows about heartbreak, he's actually usually the one doing the dumping, he shared with Taste of Country. In a video segment for the outlet, he read out some classic and some less classic breakup lines. After reciting the purported zinger "it's not you, it's your taste in music," the star said, "I think I've used that one before." Ouch.

How good has country music been to Cole Swindell's bank account?

Being one of the biggest stars in country music pays off, judging by Cole Swindell's very respectable net worth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the artist is apparently worth a comfy $3 million thanks to his ventures in songwriting and recording music.

Beyond streaming revenue (he boasts 3.8 million monthly listeners on Spotify at time of writing), album sales and songwriting royalties, Swindell also regularly plays high-paying gigs — including his own tours, as well as guest appearances for such stars as Thomas Rhett, and of course country music festivals. He has played one of the world's largest country festivals, Stagecoach, twice — in 2017 and 2019. "There's every artist you can think of, and this is what [country music is] all about, the whole tailgating experience and just this atmosphere," Swindell told Her Campus of his first performance on Indio's Empire Polo Grounds. "There's a lot of festivals around the country that want to be Stagecoach."

Last but not least, the mercher has become the merchee: Swindell may have started off his career selling Luke Bryan's branded t-shirts, but he now has a merch line all of his own, which he sells via his website. There are pencils, hoodies, socks, mugs. What's more, you can even get your very own Cole Swindell golf balls, face mask, and air freshener. Who knew?

The ways Cole Swindell stayed busy during quarantine

The pandemic became, as we all know, an unprecedented time and, like all of us, Cole Swindell had to get through it the best way he knew how. For him, that meant lots of songwriting, staying active, and generally counting his blessings. "I think everyone is learning we are all just people," Swindell told Sounds Like Nashville in 2020. "Honestly, there is way more beauty than bad. We need to just be good to everyone, follow the golden rule ... that is not hard to do. I have a band I have to take care of and whatever it takes, we'll do it. I do believe we will come out better."

Speaking to Digital Journal about how he kept himself busy in quarantine, Swindell said, "My goal this year was to write a lot more, and that has been all that I have been able to do. Also, getting some fresh air and playing some golf every now and then." That said, obviously it wasn't all smooth-sailing for the musician, and isolation got to him too — especially since it meant he couldn't tour anymore, which is one of his favorite things in the world. "It's just tough being cooped up in your place all the time," he told ET. "It's getting to the point [where] we're all anxious. We're ready to go, but for now, we had to cancel this tour." Thankfully, Swindell was able to start performing again in 2021.

Has Cole Swindell had his last single Saturday night?

Since Cole Swindell released the song "Single Saturday Night" in 2020, the title has made great interview question fodder, with journalists and fans alike dying to know whether Swindell had indeed seen his last one. The artist was in fact not spoken for when the track came out during quarantine; "I can certainly relate to it," he told ET in 2020. "I haven't had my last single Saturday night yet. Even the people that have, I think it makes you think, 'Man, that's crazy. That night was the [last] time I was ever single.'"

The singer told Sounds Like Nashville what he was looking for in "the one" and it definitely checks out. "It's gonna take the right girl that can understand music the way I do," he said. Well, fair enough, for a singer-songwriter. But since he described his dream girl, Swindell appears to have actually met her. He has been dating former NBA dancer Courtney Little, who starred alongside him in his video for "Some Habits." Swindell has also posted photos with Little on his Instagram, like this still from the music video that went up in September 2021 with the caption, "It takes somebody like you to make a sinner like me wanna try to be a little more saint.." Here's to hoping these lovebirds "pick out a church" sometime soon.