Before Kelley and his future wife began dating, the singer admits that he had his eye on Lady A’s lead singer, Hillary Scott. But, it’s clear that fate had other plans — better plans. Instead, Kelley, Scott and Dave Haywood formed the award-winning country trio, with no romantic ties to be had between the group.
“Before Hillary, I never really had a close girl friend to help me understand that men and women approach things differently,” Kelley admits. “With guys, if there’s a problem, they just let it go and don’t talk about it. But with women, if there’s a problem, you have to talk about it.”
Kelley and McConnell began dating at the time that she was a publicist for Kelley’s brother, Josh Kelley, and the rest is pretty much romantic history: Kelley was clearly smitten with the gorgeous blonde and proposed in 2008, on Christmas morning. In June of 2009, the couple wed in a civil ceremony in Nashville — and then, they jetted off to the Bahamas over the Fourth of July weekend, ready for a fete full of sunshine and tropics. (See: two weddings!)
This all happened just months before “Need You Now” dropped to radio, and the trio skyrocketed into fame soon after. However, while Lady A churned out albums, went on tour and saw huge success, the Kelleys were struggling with a very real, painful truth: They were having trouble conceiving.
“We started trying to conceive our child a few years ago without any luck — many months went by with negative pregnancy tests and a lot of shared frustration,” McConnell Kelley writes. “I don’t know about other moms (or future moms!) out there, but I just assumed that when we wanted to start a family, it would happen just like that. Well, it didn’t. We went through several years of trying before finally seeing our fertility doctor in Nashville.”
After taking several months off to regroup, the couple happily found out the best surprise news of their lives: They were having a baby. They made the announcement at the beginning of August of 2015, and though it was an extremely tough road, they’re grateful for every step — especially their added time as a family of two.
“I think back over the past six years of our marriage and am grateful for the time that Charles and I have had together, just the two of us,” McConnell Kelley says. “I’m grateful for the adventures that we’ve been on, the places we’ve visited, the lazy days we’ve lounged away on the couch together, the late nights spent on the bus talking about our dreams over a bottle (or two!) of wine. I know all of that will change once our little screaming bundle arrives, but our bond that was built during those precious moments will not. God knows us, and he knows our marriage, and he blessed us in just the right time.”
The Kelleys’ first child, a baby boy named Ward Charles, arrived on Feb. 11, 2016. Their lives have certainly looked different since, but their love remains solid.
“I want to give a special shout out to my husband, Charles, for being the most incredible human,” McConnell Kelley boasts. “His love, support, passion for our marriage and our future children has never, EVER waivered, even when the frustration seemed insurmountable. I am so lucky to have a best friend and partner in life like him, and our child couldn’t have scored a better dad!”
We’re pretty sure the child couldn’t have scored a better mom either.