The Untold Truth Of Morgan Wallen

When electronic producer-turned-country cowboy Diplo remembered meeting young Morgan Wallen backstage, he recalled a man who was humble about his abilities. "I was never a country singer, I'm just a redneck," Wallen reportedly told Diplo, per GQ. "But he happens to have a killer voice," Diplo added about Wallen, and fans agreed Wallen's husky voice was perfect for country music. And when he made his debut on "The Voice" as a landscaper from Knoxville, Tennessee, he won the hearts of fans, eventually earning a record deal and the prize for Best New Country Artist at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards. The following year, Wallen released his second album, "Dangerous," which dominated the Billboard charts and was the most successful album of 2021, selling 3.2 million album units, which was more than Adele's long-awaited album "30" and Olivia Rodrigo's smash debut album "Sour," per The New York Times.

Even with the huge success, Wallen was shut out of receiving a Grammy nomination, perhaps for bad behavior, per Country Now. Outside of his success in music, this good old country boy didn't always display a positive side and has weathered multiple controversies, including an incident that nearly derailed his career. This, on top of a complicated family life, showed that Wallen's career was not exactly an easy-going ride. Still, he managed to bounce back with each adversity and has continued to make extremely catchy songs.

So pull on your cowboy boots and saddle up for the untold truth of Morgan Wallen.

Inside Morgan Wallen's childhood

A true Tennessean, Morgan Wallen was born in the tiny town of Sneedville near the state's northern border with Virginia. Wallen recalled his childhood home had picturesque mountains all around but in terms of entertainment, "there really only was a Hardees, a Subway and a Pizza Plus ... that's about it," he told GQ. He also grew up in a religious household, since his dad was a local pastor. As a result, "I went to church every time the doors were open," Wallen told The Country Daily. When he was in high school, Wallen's family relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee. He also transitioned away from listening to the gospel tracks he grew up with to more contemporary music like Nickelback, The New Yorker recapped.

As for siblings, Wallen has an adopted sister Lacey and two sisters who appear to support his music career and personal life. "Family is there for you no matter what so I'm here to love and support you through your mistakes and your wins," his sister Mikaela posted in part on Instagram. He's also close with his other sister Ashlyne. In a sweet birthday message, Wallen posted a photo with his sis, captioning it, in part: "She's one of my best friends in the world and always has been." 

Wallen is also extremely close with the other women in his family. "My mom and my grandmother, they've always been my biggest supporters in whatever I do," he explained on "The Voice."

His first career choice

Morgan Wallen played baseball since he was 4 years old and started traveling for competitive leagues around the age of 11. Wallen credited his natural ability to his success in baseball and believed he was good enough to play in college, he told Bobby Cast. However, he also said he didn't have the work ethic of some of his teammates who went on to play professional baseball. Still, Wallen became enthralled with the sport. "I fell in love with baseball and just focused on that ... baseball was my passion," he told The Country Daily.

Unfortunately, an injury in high school changed his plans. He hurt a tendon in his right elbow, which forced him to stop playing. At this time, Wallen remembered he went through an identity crisis. "I was kind of mad at the world, mad at God even because I had put my whole life into baseball and it just got taken away," he explained. Wallen had liked music from a young age as well, but the older he got, the more he focused on athletics because in his opinion, "It's cooler to play sports than it is to play music," he told Nashville Lifestyles.

Though he eventually ended up pursuing music, he still liked to swing the bat sometimes on a softball team that he joined. The singer admitted on Bobby Cast he was rusty at the plate, but he said his defensive abilities in the field were still spot on.

He remembers his musical upbringing

As Morgan Wallen explained in his introduction video on "The Voice," he began singing as a 3-year-old thanks to his mom's insistence that he perform at church. Around the age of 8, Wallen entered into a singing competition. The young man came in third place, but his performance was good enough to earn a record deal. According to Wallen, his mom felt that a normal childhood would be a better upbringing than becoming a childhood star, so he declined the offer. Though Wallen turned most of his energy toward playing baseball, he didn't completely abandon his musical gifts.

As a teen, Wallen began writing his own music, GQ recapped. By that time, he had learned to play multiple instruments. Wallen took violin lessons starting when he was 5 years old, the singer revealed to The Country Daily. According to Wallen, he enjoyed listening to bluegrass music around this time and asked for a violin for Christmas. "And then I started playing piano when I was 7 and I've always really just been interested in it," Wallen told Nashville Lifestyles

When baseball was no longer an option for him after he became injured, Wallen started to play the guitar. "It was a way to help me get my feelings out and just to keep my mind occupied and to say the things that I wanted to say," he revealed. Soon after finishing high school, Wallen began to fully appreciate his gift for writing and performing.

How Morgan Wallen found his voice

While "The Voice" opened the doors for Morgan Wallen's singing career, Wallen admitted he'd never even heard of the show until his mom revealed she signed him up to compete. His mother believed in his abilities and offered to drive him to St. Louis for the auditions, Wallen told Bobby Cast. He said he went in care-free, especially since winning the competition was never a goal of his. After a couple rounds of auditions, he advanced and earned a spot to be on the show. Ultimately, he placed in the Top 20 before failing to advance.

After his first performance, Shakira and Usher selected him to move forward in the competition, thanks to his one-of-a-kind sound. "It's as manly as it gets," Shakira said about his distinctive voice. Ironically, country singer Blake Shelton didn't choose Wallen, as his team was already full. 

Wallen credits the vocal coach provided by the show to helping hone his skills "and she really helped me figuring out my sound," he told The Country Daily. The singer said he went into the competition trying to sound like a pop singer but left with his true voice and aspiration to be a country singer. Part of the reason he tried the pop angle was by requests from producers associated with the show. "People in LA seemed larger than life at the time so I did what they told me," he revealed to GQ.

One wild night with Morgan Wallen

Early aughts music star Kid Rock transitioned into an entrepreneur with his Nashville venue Big Ass Honky Tonk and Rock N' Roll Steakhouse. The same bad boy attitude that Kid Rock was known for perhaps inspired one of the venue's patrons, Morgan Wallen. In 2020, Wallen was kicked out of the restaurant for reportedly breaking glass items inside. After getting the boot, Wallen apparently began to yell at other people in the street until officers felt they needed to intervene. Police then arrested the singer for being "a danger to himself and the public," and nailed him with public intoxication and disorderly conduct, per the Tennessean. According to the official report, "Officers gave (Wallen) several opportunities to walk away with his friends, but he refused to walk away."

In a public apology, Wallen went on Twitter to explain the situation in a since-deleted post. "We didn't mean any harm, and we want to say sorry to any bar staff or anyone that was affected," the singer wrote, via Billboard. "Thank you to the local authorities for being so professional and doing their job with class. Love y'all," he concluded.

Kid Rock and the establishment even invited Wallen back after his drunken incident. In 2021, Wallen returned to the honky tonk and performed two of his hit songs, "Whiskey Glasses" and "Wasted on You," Country Swag posted on Instagram. Wallen also was credited as a co-writer for Kid Rock's 2022 song, "Still Somethin'," via Genius.

A fun party nearly ruined the country singer

As a young, famous, and successful country music star, it's unsurprising that Morgan Wallen enjoys celebrating out on the town. Unfortunately, Wallen picked the worst timing when he went out to party one evening. Several TikTok videos surfaced of him out in public in 2020 while much of the country was under strict lockdowns or health measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One video showed Wallen kissing several different women, and potentially touching another on the backside, all without wearing a face covering or mask, via Twitter

Following a college football game where the University of Alabama beat Texas A&M, Wallen was in town to party with the hometown fans. Various videos documented the singer playing guitar, drinking, hanging out at victory parties, and other activities, clearly ignoring social distancing recommendations in place, Alabama recapped. Wallen may have also been in good spirits because of his upcoming performance as the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live." That is, until the videos surfaced and the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, cut Wallen from the program, TMZ reported.

As a result, Wallen decided to reflect on his actions and take a break from the parties. "I took almost two weeks and just turned my phone off and just didn't even look at it," he told Bobby Cast. Beyond taking a technology break, Wallen revealed he "drove on a tractor and things like that and just cleared my head. It was really, really good for me."

Who is he dating?

Early in his career, Morgan Wallen dated Katie Smith, and less than five months later, the two were engaged in April 2017. After canceling their wedding the following year, Wallen and Smith officially split in late 2019. By February 2022, however, it looked like Wallen had found another special someone. 

He posted a photo on his Instagram Story with his sister Ashlyne and "some of his fav folks," via Page Six. The caption also said, "Happy Birthday Paige." Wallen was referring to model Paige Lorenze, who was by his side in the photo. According to a source, Lorenze and the country singer had been dating for nearly a year by the time Wallen posted the photo. "They agreed to keep their relationship out of the spotlight, but it's no secret among family and friends," the source added. Soon after, fans spotted Lorenze at Wallen's concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City alongside Wallen's sister. An eyewitness said the model was screaming her support during the entire concert, according to Page Six.

Previously, Lorenze was romantically linked with Armie Hammer. The actor allegedly used a knife in their intimate moments and reportedly left her with a scar, she told Page Six. She then added Wallen to her list of famous exes. Reportedly, Lorenze believed Wallen was cheating and had enough with the singer. Once she and Wallen became Instagram official, Lorenze claimed that multiple women messaged her claiming they slept with Wallen, per Page Six.

Morgan Wallen explains the origin of his look

Originally, Morgan Wallen had longer hair. He kept the idea in the back of his mind to have a signature silhouette but couldn't quite figure out how until visiting his family back home. While Wallen looked through wedding photos of his parents, he noticed his dad had a mullet at the time when he was 25 years old. Wallen just so happened to also be 25 and thought if his dad could look that cool with a mullet, so could he. 

Wallen said his label was originally against the idea of the mullet, which only made the singer want the divisive hairstyle even more. After getting the cut, Wallen had no idea how well his fans would receive the new look. "I didn't expect it to become a thing," he told Bobby Cast about the positive reception. "I didn't expect to show up at shows and dudes are wearing mullets and cut off flannels. ... I just liked how it looked," he said, referencing one of his signature, sleeveless onstage outfits. As for creating an audience full of lookalikes, "I still can't believe people are wanting to show up dressed like that," he admitted to GQ.

In addition to working with a stylist to create vintage, Southern rock-inspired looks, Wallen admitted he likes to create simple outfits with a nice pair of jeans and boots by Tecovas. Up top, Wallen said he is a big fan of Wrangler shirts, per WWD.

He was caught red handed

In 2021, TMZ released a video of Morgan Wallen returning home with a few friends after a night out in Nashville. In his driveway, Wallen was loud enough to disrupt his neighbors and appeared intoxicated, but his motor skills weren't the worst part of the video. Wallen referred to his friends as profanities, including a racial slur. 

"I'm embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back," Wallen told TMZ after the video surfaced. "There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better," he added. However, the apologies did little to reduce the fallout of the incident. Wallen's record label, Big Loud, suspended his contract. The Academy of Country Music announced Wallen was ineligible to win awards at their event and his music was pulled off of Spotify and Apple Music playlists, in addition to radio groups like iHeartMedia, the Los Angeles Times recapped.

In the aftermath, Wallen said that he learned he could never make everyone happy. As for the fateful night recorded, the singer explained he got drunk while hanging with his old friends who were briefly visiting. He admitted the group normally did dumb stuff together and when it came to using the slur, "In our minds, it's playful. That sounds ignorant but that's really where it came from and it's wrong," he told Good Morning America.

Life as a dad for Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen became a dad in July 2020 when he welcomed his son, Indigo Wilder, with his ex-fiancée, Katie Smith, People reported. In a photo holding his baby boy, Wallen captioned on Instagram, in part, "Since you came into the world Friday, I see mine differently now. It's not just me anymore, and I'm glad it's not." Wallen admitted that he was a little scared of what it would be like to be a dad, but said after his son's birth, "It's the coolest damn feeling." 

The following year, Smith shared a series of photos on Instagram of Indigo's first birthday. Wallen was there for the occasion, posing with Smith and his son. At that point, Smith and Wallen were already separated, per Page Six. According to Wallen, life as a single dad "is definitely not how I imagined parenthood," he told People. "I wanted to have a family like my parents. My parents are still together, you know. ... That was my idea for what my life would look like." In fact, he even admitted to struggling with the fact that his picturesque family ended with his split from Smith.

After videos surfaced of Wallen out partying, kissing women, and ignoring social distancing measures, the backlash caused Wallen to realize others look up to him as a role model. "I have a son now and I don't know that I'd be proud to show him those videos," Wallen told Bobby Cast.

He has aspirations beyond singing

Morgan Wallen may have never released his popular song "7 Summers" if it wasn't for social media. After releasing a demo snippet of the song on Instagram, the track gained even more popularity thanks to TikTok, Wallen said in a press release for the song, via CMT. The popularity meant that he wanted to go big on visuals for the song and expand his artistic expression. 

He released a normal music video, but also a short film of "7 Summers," with Wallen portraying a baseball player. The singer revealed on Twitter that his role in the short film was his acting debut. According to Wallen, he loved being an actor and planned to pursue more acting roles in the future, per WWD.

It turned out that he would get a chance to act on live TV when he appeared on "Saturday Night Live." Originally, Wallen was scheduled to be a musical guest on the sketch comedy series, but was uninvited due to violating the program's COVID-19 protocols, per TMZ. However, the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, didn't close the door forever on Wallen and invited him back a few months later. In addition to returning as the musical guest, Wallen appeared as himself in the SNL skit "Morgan Wallen Party," which recreated the party-filled night that got him in trouble in the first place. Wallen told Nashville Lifestyles that he was relaxed going into the skit and "it was fun as hell."

How quarantine shaped him

By 2019, Morgan Wallen was truly becoming a star. His debut album "If I Know Me," released the year before, was growing in popularity, Nashville Lifestyles recapped. Wallen recalled that around that time, he "began to feel momentum really, really building and I could feel things start to shift to a whole other level," he told WWD. Then, his plans at expansion were paused — like much of the world — due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With extra time on his hands, Wallen turned to what he did best, writing songs.

He explained that the pandemic was hard on everyone, including himself, but he hoped his songs could provide an escape. "Music is one of the only ways to get my mind off of it, so I figured most people felt the same way," he told the Grammy Awards. With this in mind, Wallen explained that he wanted to provide as big of an escape as possible. The result was a massive double album named "Dangerous" that featured 30 tracks split across two discs. The album was well-received critically, according to Pitchfork.

Prior to quarantine, Wallen already had about 20 songs in the work, but said that seemed a little excessive for a normal album. Once quarantine started, he said he quickly wrote another five songs and started setting his sights on a double album, per Lyric Magazine. "As terrible as quarantine has been, it's also been very beneficial to my career," he explained to WWD.

What Morgan Wallen really thinks about fame

Although his fans might argue that Morgan Wallen has been popular for a long time, the singer was modest about his success during his ascent in the industry. According to him, it wasn't until the backlash he received from partying during the pandemic that he realized how famous he really was. "I guess that's when I truly figured out that things are different now," he told People about his life in the spotlight. 

While his public celebrations may indicate that Wallen loves his role as a famous country music star, the reality is more complex. "Most days I wake up and I'm thrilled to be able to do what I do. But some days, you know, you don't," he revealed on CBC Radio. The singer said that, even though he aspired to be a musician and his dreams came true, nothing could prepare him for the pressures of fame. "I don't feel like being Morgan Wallen sometimes," he confessed. 

Even seemingly fun parts of the job, like playing live shows, became burdensome after grueling performance schedules. Still, Wallen tried his best to not let fame get the best of him, as he had seen happen with others. "A lot of people get too caught up in trying to be Hollywood ... like that's the epitome of success or something," Wallen told The Washington Post. In his opinion, Wallen said it was important to remember his upbringing and to always treat people with respect.

The charitable side of Morgan Wallen

In addition to wowing audiences during live performances, Morgan Wallen uses his philanthropic side to bring joy to others. One of his most important projects is his More Than My Hometown Foundation. The singer established the organization in 2021 after his parents adopted a child. "There are many elements that aid in the development and protection of an adolescent's life, and that is why I created the foundation so a child's resources are not limited due to their circumstances," Wallen wrote. In 2022, he and his foundation donated $25,000 after wildfires caused extensive damage in his home state of Tennessee, AP News reported.

The foundation also donated $100,000 to the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, per USA Today. This was the last part of a larger promise of $500,000 total to the Black Music Action Coalition. These donations were one of several ways Wallen publicly apologized after a video showed him saying a racial slur. The event actually caused a spike in Wallen's music sales, which his team estimated to be around half a million dollars. So, Wallen felt this would be the amount he should donate to various organizations, he told Good Morning America.

During his Dangerous Tour in 2022, Wallen partnered with Greater Good Music to help communities where his tour bus stopped. For example, the town of Evansville, Indiana received a truck worth of food delivered thanks to the singer, 14 News reported.

Here's how much the singer is really worth

For having only released two albums and a relatively short career, Morgan Wallen has built up an impressive bank account. As of 2022, he was worth an estimated $4 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. It seems that even controversies couldn't bring down Wallen's ability to attract fans. Following the 2021 incident where he was caught on video using a racial slur, his digital album sales increased 327%. The next day, those sales increased an incredible 1,220%, Rolling Stone reported. The support continued for his live performances, too. Later that year, he reportedly sold over 36,000 tickets in under two hours for a three night concert series in Lexington, Kentucky, per Rupp Arena.

Though the incident didn't have all negative effects, Wallen may have wanted to leave that chapter of his life behind him by selling the house where he was caught cursing on camera. The singer sold his huge, four bedroom home in Nashville, Tennessee for $835,000 in 2021, TMZ reported. Wallen first moved to Tennessee and lived in a Mount Juliet apartment with his guitar player, he explained on an episode of Bobby Cast. After a few years living in the apartment, Wallen became popular enough to upgrade his living arrangements. 

More than just spending money on a home, the newly famous Wallen bought himself a nice way to get around town. One of his first big purchases was a luxury truck, Wallen revealed on "The Ty Bentli Show."