Thomas Rhett’s daughter changed his life with just a photo.
In 2016, Rhett’s wife, Lauren Atkins, 33, visited an orphanage in Uganda and developed a bond with six-week-old Willa, who at the time was named Blessing. In conversation with Bacon, the singer reflected on seeing a photo of Atkins with the baby girl.
“I’ve always thought my wife is the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen in my life, but there was something about this picture that she was like, glowing man,” he said.
“And so was this baby, who I’d never met before, and I remember FaceTiming her that night and saying, ‘Who was that baby that you were holding?’ And she said well, ‘This is Blessing and there are no living parents or living residents, so she has no family.'”
Rhett continued, “She’s been at this children’s home now and she, her name is Willa Gray but her name was Blessing at the orphanage. And she had been there for like a week. She was 6 weeks old.”
The couple soon decided that they wanted to adopt Willa, though Rhett admitted that at the time, he was still apprehensive about having children.
“And my wife was just talking to me, like ‘We have to find a home for this child,’” Rhett said. “And I’ll never forget it dude, it was 2 o’clock in the morning where I was, half asleep, and it just kind of blurted out of my mouth. ‘We’re going to bring her home.'”
He continued, “I don’t even know if I was ready to have kids yet. I was really loving the road thing, my career was just starting to take off, I was like, ‘Man if we have kids right now, what is that gonna do?’ And I’ll never forget those words coming out of my mouth.”
For the next year, Rhett and Atkins returned to Uganda a dozen times before formally adopting the then-18-month-old.
The couple, who married in October 2012 after being friends since childhood, share three other daughters: Ada, 5, Lennon, 3, and Lillie, 19 months.
In April 2022, Rhett shared that it was his wife’s “dream” to have five children.
“Lauren’s whole dream [is that] she wanted to have five kids,” the country singer said on an episode of the “Making Space With Hoda Kotb” podcast. “Since the day we got married, she’s [been] like, ‘I want to have five,’ and I’m sitting there going, ‘That’s fine, you know, that would be great.’”