Whatever Happened To Kid Rock?

Kid Rock is back in the news in 2017 with plans to possibly run for public office. But before his political aspirations made headlines, he was relatively quiet on all fronts. In his private life, he's endured a number of ups and downs—including his low-profile engagement to a noncelebrity and the tragic death of a dear friend. Find out what this controversial rocker has been doing since his music career calmed down.

He may run for office

Donald Trump opened the floodgates for unconventional candidates to seek public office, and Kid Rock is one of them. In July 2017, the musician (real name: Robert James Ritchie) hinted via Twitter that he's campaigning for U.S. Senate for the state of Michigan, reported NPR. If he moves forward, he'll face incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow in the 2018 election. 

Kid Rock's tweet linked to a campaign website that sells merchandise. "Have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real... The answer is an absolute YES," he wrote. 

The following day, Kid Rock took to his personal site to say, "Like politicians write books during their campaigns, I'm planning on putting out music during mine and IT ALL STARTS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT.  Senator Stabenow and I do share a love of music, although probably not the same kind. I concede she is better at playing politics than I am so I'll keep doing what I do best, which is being a voice for tax paying, hardworking AMERICANS..." He then released two songs to kick off his unofficial campaign announcement.

Rock's potential run has already ruffled feathers with Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren. "I know a lot of people are thinking: this is some sort of joke, right?" Warren told supporters, according to CNN. "Well, maybe this is all a joke—but we all thought Donald Trump was joking when he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced his campaign, too."

He met with Trump

Apparently, Kid Rock's potential bid for public office wasn't a sudden idea. It appears he has close ties to other big-name officials, including the commander in chief.

According to People, the rocker took his fiancée, Audrey Barry, with him to meet President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. A widely circulated photo pictured him alongside Trump supporter Ted Nugent and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. As the story goes, Kid Rock and Barry were guests of Palin and had been invited to the White House for a dinner.

Palin wrote about the dinner on her website. "President Trump's invitation for dinner included bringing a couple of friends; it was the highest honor to have great Americans who are independent, hardworking, patriotic, and unafraid share commonsense solutions at the White House. (Asked why I invited Kid Rock and Ted Nugent I joked, 'Because Jesus was booked.')"

Kid Rock has been a strong supporter of Trump, telling Rolling Stone in 2016, "My feeling: let the motherf**king business guy run [the country] like a f**king business. And his campaign has been entertaining as sh*t."

He's engaged

According to the Detroit Free Press, Rock and Barry met in the suburbs of his native Detroit a couple of years after his divorce to Pamela Anderson and got engaged at the beginning of 2017. Unlike his past relationships, fans and followers may have noticed that Rock has deliberately kept this lady out of the spotlight. While little is known about their relationship, fans aboard the eighth annual Chillin' with the Most cruise noticed Barry sporting a massive diamond ring.

"This is somebody who is not a celebrity. It can really be a tough thing to deal with," he told Piers Morgan (via Taste of Country) in 2011. "I'm thinking of somebody else, trying not to be so selfish."

Though the couple has tried to remain private, Rock has talked about her in his music. According to a 2015 Q magazine interview, his song "Johnny Cash" was inspired by her. Lyrics include, "I like the way you hold my hand/And play just like my baby grand. I like how you don't give a damn/And love me just the way I am." 

He certainly seems happier these days. "Life is so much simpler being with one girl," he quipped. "Now I'm not chasing chicks around I've got so much more free time."

His close friend died in a tragic accident

In 2016, Rock dealt with the sudden loss of a friend from a gruesome ATV accident. According to TMZ, Michael Sacha, who worked as the musician's personal assistant, was found dead on Rock's Nashville property in April 2016. Sacha reportedly escorted two people to the street to meet an Uber after a cookout, and was found dead the next morning by Rock. 

 "[Sacha was] a member of our family and one of the greatest young men I have ever had the pleasure to not only work with, but also to become friends with," the rocker said in a statement.

TMZ later shared details from the autopsy report, which said Sacha had operated the ATV with a blood-alcohol nearly three times the legal limit. The report said Sacha suffered a traumatic head injury in the accident. He was just 30 years old, according to his obituary

He played emcee at the CMTs

Believe it or not, Kid Rock might have a future in awards-show hosting. When he announced that he'd be emceeing the 2010 Country Music Awards in Nashville, the singer said, "All I can promise is I will be awesome." 

And apparently he was. According to CBS News, he drank and smoked on stage during the entire show and also performed a medley of his own hits, including, "Cowboy," and "Bawitdaba" and a snippet of the The Dukes of Hazzard theme, "Good Ol' Boys." As the emcee, Rock also made sure no one attempted to pull a Kanye West and interrupt another artist's acceptance speech. "Anyone thinking about grabbing a mic, myself or Bocephus will personally punch you in the mouth, all right?" he quipped (via CBS News). "We might even get Trace Adkins on the deal."

He's not that into country music

Although Kid Rock hosted the 2010 CMTs, don't expect him to put out a country album. When asked about the idea, he actually scoffed at the notion in 2010.

"Maybe I'll put out a compilation one day of the stuff I've had country success with, but doing one thing in life at any point—when I love so many different things—seems boring and contrived for me," he told the press (via CMT News). "I'm not one of those people who came to Nashville, like, 'Oh, they know the numbers. They're still playing records. This, that and the other. I'm going to go get in on that market.'... I always just followed my heart to where the music was, and I hope that's what I can continue to do. People can appreciate the realness of the songs I write and they feel it. I guess I've been blessed at the end of the day."

At the time of this writing, Rock has released 10 albums but achieved marginal success in the awards department. He's been nominated for five Grammy awards between 1999 and 2008, but has yet to win a trophy. He was inducted to the Music City Walk of Fame in 2009.

He hates ex-wife Pamela Anderson

There's no love lost between Rock and his ex-wife, Pamela Anderson. The high-profile pair's romance played out in the press, and it didn't end well. According to People, they filed for divorce in November 2006, after four months of marriage. 

He told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that he and Anderson aren't very friendly. "If I saw her somewhere I'd say hi, but I try not to go in the same circles," he said (via E! News ). "I try to avoid that." When pressed further about the distance and bitterness, he said, "I touched stove, stove was hot, I think I not touch stove anymore."

The rocker described their short-lived union to Howard Stern (via HuffPost) in 2012 saying, "Getting married kicks ass, being married sucks." He added, "[The relationship] started to affect my son, when it started to affect my son, I was like 'I'm out.'"

Although those comments must have stung, they pale in comparison to the drama he caused when he chatted with the shock jock in 2007, the year after his split. Per Today, Kid Rock hinted that money troubles drove a wedge between them, hinting that Anderson was relatively broke, considering her fame. "The worst thing in life is to be famous without money," he told Stern, claiming Anderson moved into his $12 million Malibu beach house and started spending his cash. He claimed she told him, "If we don't fix this house, I'll throw up."  

He was hospitalized for exhaustion

Rock has built a reputation on his hard partying ways, but that lifestyle reportedly forced him to bow out of Britain's Download Festival in 2008. According to NME magazine, Kid Rock was scheduled to take the stage around 3:30 p.m. on June 13, 2008, when someone announced over the loudspeaker that the rocker had been rushed to the hospital.

A spokesperson told NME that Rock suffered stomach cramps and dehydration, but People reported that he was partying hard the previous night and spotted at Central London's Whisky Mist nightclub into the wee hours.

The internet said he died in a meth lab explosion

The internet is full of death hoaxes, and Rock was among them in July 2017. On Independence Day, a story surfaced saying the star perished in a meth-lab explosion at his home.

Channel 23 News reported the bogus story, alleging that police and firefighters found his body; a fake cop said, "If I had to guess, Kid Rock was making meth and something went wrong."

Rock took the crazy tale with a grain of salt, poking fun at the hoax on Instagram. "WHEW!!!! Thank GOD that isn't true.. woulda REALLY wrecked my day!hahah cooking meth??? Sheesh! Internet?? Y'all are CRAZY! Hahahha," adding the hashtag "dontcookmeth."

He supports the confederate flag

The rocker has ruffled plenty of feathers over his staunch defense of the Confederate flag. He told The Guardian in 2008, "I still use the confederate flag. Why should someone be able to own any image and say what it is?" He added, "Sure, it's definitely got some scars, but I've never had an issue with it. To me it just represents pride in southern rock'n'roll music, plus it just looks cool."

In 2015, Rolling Stone reported that protestors had gathered outside the Detroit Historical Museum, which houses a Kid Rock exhibit, to demand he stop supporting the stars and bars. Rock responded in a statement to Fox News: "Please tell the people who are protesting to kiss my ass/Ask me some questions."   

He's returning with new music

Kid Rock will be the first act to play at Detroit's brand new Little Caesars Arena in September 2017, according to Billboard. If filled to capacity, some 20,000 fans will get a chance to not only see the new facility but also hear new music from the rocker.

"It's kind of going back to Rock n Roll Jesus, Devil Without a Cause. I've got a lot of different things on there— – big rock songs, rootsy-sounding stuff, some hard-core rap stuff, kind of all over the board. I do have a lot of songs, but I'm not sure what I'm going to put on the record or how I'm going to release it yet. It's like the wild west right now, so we'll see," he told Billboard.

Rock is stoked to be the artist to break in the arena in his hometown. "It means a lot to me to be the first act—bigger than me just playing a show," he told Billboard. "After touring for 30 years, proximity becomes kind of a big selling point. And also having a home right down the street here in Detroit makes it very interesting."