Lauren Akins Kept Husband Thomas Rhett 'In The Friend Zone' For Years

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Lauren Akins said her now-husband, country star Thomas Rhett, “stayed in the friend zone for a minute.”

Akins recently met with podcast host Jennifer Vickery Smith on an episode of Got It From My Momma, a podcast featuring interviews with mothers connected to the entertainment industry. Previous episodes include conversations with Luke Bryan’s mother LeClaire and wife Caroline, Chase Rice’s mom, sister duo Tigirlily Gold’s mom, Hailey Whitters’ mom and many others. The interview with Akins was recorded live at CMA Fest earlier this month in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Rhett and Akins met in first grade, and their families remained friends with one another while they were growing up. Although they dated briefly in high school, they temporarily parted ways and Akins kept the “Gone Country” singer “in the friend zone” for about five years.

“We stayed in the friend zone for a minute,” Akins admitted to Vickery Smith. “I was not aware of all of his feelings in those five years of friendship. We double dated (and) we had other great relationships and were friends with each other. We never stopped doing life together…it was better for us to be friends in that time.

“I had the moment where I kissed the guy who I thought we were just friends, and he dared me to kiss him and I love to, you know, really show up for a good dare,” she said later. “And so, we kissed, and it was like my world that I knew all of a sudden just went upside down, and it was like, you thought you knew and you don’t. And then we were engaged later that year.”

Rhett and Akins got married in October 2012. They’re now parents to four young daughters: Willa Gray (8), Ada James (6), Lennon Love (4) and Lillie Carolina (2).

The award-winning country artist is getting ready to release his seventh studio album, About A Woman, later this summer. So far, Rhett has released “Beautiful As You” and “Gone Country” from the 14-track project. The album is set to release on August 23.

Rhett is one of many artists taking the stage at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Festival, returning to the T-Mobile Arena stage on September 20 and 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Other artists in the genre-spanning lineup include Big SeanCamila CabelloDoja CatGwen StefaniHozierKeith UrbanNew Kids on the BlockParamoreShaboozeyThe Black CrowesThomas RhettVictoria Monét, and more. Ryan Seacrest will host the two-day festival. 

Eligible Capital One cardholders will have priority access to presale tickets for the iHeartRadio Music Festival beginning Wednesday, June 12 at 1pm ET/10am PT through Friday, June 14 at 1pm ET/10am PT or while presale tickets last. For presale tickets and more details, visit Tickets go on sale to the general public on beginning Friday, June 14 at 2pm ET. 

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