While Little Big Town‘s Kimberly Schlapman was mourning the death of her first husband, Steven Roads, she didn’t expect to find that kind of love ever again. After he died of a heart attack in 2005, the singer’s friends came around her and supported her — and one friend in particular, Stephen Schlapman, really stood out.
“I wasn’t planning on falling in love, at all,” Kimberly Schlapman explains. “I didn’t want to … I wasn’t sure that I ever would. So, my husband now and I were just really good friends, and after my late husband died, all my friends were calling me, all the time. Just checking up on me. He was just an old friend. We had known each other for about six years, and he started calling me just like everybody else did. But he started calling me more than everybody else did [laughs].”
The two bonded through something unexpected: grief. While Stephen Schlapman didn’t lose a spouse, he did lose a close friend, and the two related deeply over their respective losses.
“I had a lot of grief left, and he just took it and listened and accepted it and was so understanding and let me talk about my late husband all the time,” Kimberly Schlapman adds. “We still talk about him a lot, and he’s totally fine with it. He says that that made me who he fell in love with, and he never minds if I bring anything from the past up, which is just really sweet.”
The Georgia native and her now-husband grew a beautiful marriage out of a painful time, but she remembers being hesitant about her feelings at first, admitting she was “shocked.”
“I remember when I first realized that I was having feelings, I just thought, ‘Okay, this is so weird. What is this? I haven’t felt this in a long, long time.’ But eventually I allowed myself, and it’s been the most beautiful gift of my life,” Schlapman says. “It pulled me out of the deepest hole that I’ve ever been in and healed me.”
The couple married in 2006 and are parents of two, Daisy Pearl and Dolly Grace.