Lainey Wilson kept her romance with her boyfriend, former NFL player Devlin “Duck” Hodges a secret for a long time, but now she is ready to share their love story with the world. The “Watermelon Moonshine” singer and Hodges made their red carpet debut at the 2023 ACM Awards, going public with a relationship that she had kept quiet about for more than two years.
“I just decided to keep something for myself, you know?” Wilson tells the New York Post. “And I laugh and say I wanted to see if he was in it for the right reasons — and turns out he was. He’s a good boy. He’s the kind of dude that high-fives me on the way out the door. He’s just a good person, and he’s my cheerleader.
“He knows how important country music is to me, and he knows how important my job is to me, and he just cheers me on from the sidelines,” she continues. “It’s really cool to be able to share a life with somebody who also was super passionate about something since he was a child.”
Hodges grew up with dreams of being a professional football player, dreams that came true when he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although Hodges isn’t Wilson’s first boyfriend, he is the first one that inspired romantic songs from her, which she says will, for the first time, appear on her next album.
“I’ve never really been able to write a genuine love song … until I met him,” Wilson acknowledges. “It’s been really fun to kind of dive into that emotion. And, you know, even though I’m madly in love and crazy about him, it’s still not those kinds of love songs that are just googly-eyed. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows — it’s going to have a little grit and edge to it. Because the truth is, that’s our relationship.”
“It’s crazy,” Wilson admits. “I mean, there’s a few categories where I’m competing with myself. It’s wild. If you would have told little Lainey that this would happen this soon into my career, I would have told you you were lying.”
The Louisiana native’s path to success wasn’t easy, but the slow climb was more than worth it in the end.
“I got here in 2011 in my little camper trailer, and it was 12 years August 1st,” Wilson recalls. “But I feel like I’ve only had my foot in the door for a couple of years. Some people just show up to Nashville, and it just happens and that’s it. But I have always truly had the mentality of, ‘Okay, if this takes me longer, that’s fine.’ That means that I’m going to have longevity, that I’ll be here till the cows come home.”
Wilson just announced her Country’s Cool Again headlining tour, taking place in 2024. She will also join Morgan Wallen next year on his 2024 One Night At A Time World Tour. Find music and tour dates at LaineyWilson.com.