Hootie & the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker announced on Saturday, July 11, that he and his wife, Beth Leonard, have split after 20 years of marriage.
“Beth and I would like to share that after much reflection we have made the decision to consciously uncouple,” he captioned a photo on Instagram of the pair at the CMA Awards in 2017 while referring to the phrase Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin introduced to the world when they broke up in 2014.
“We remain close friends and parenting partners and continue to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders,” he continued. “Our priority will always be our beautiful family. We have so much love in our hearts for each other and will continue to encourage growth and expansion in one other. Please be kind as we take on this journey, and we thank you for your love and support always.”
The couple, who wed in 2000, share daughter Daniella, 19, and son Jack, 15. The country singer also has a 25-year-old daughter, Carolyn, from a previous relationship.
Rucker and Leonard met in 1998 when she was working in NYC for VH1 and he was in town with Hootie & the Blowfish.
“I had been trying to get her to go out with me, and she wouldn’t,” the “Alright” singer told The Boot in 2010. “[The band] had the night off, and I was just in my hotel room. She called me and said, ‘Hey, do you want to go see this play?’ I was like, ‘Sure!'”
After the show, “She was walking up the stairs [to her apartment], and I said, ‘Well, you know that I’m going to marry you, right?’ She just laughed,” he recalled. “Her roommate or her boyfriend was up there in their apartment, and I yelled, ‘To whoever’s up there in Beth Leonard’s apartment, you can just leave because I just want you to know that I’m going to marry her!'”
In 2018, he told the outlet that he wasn’t the easiest person to be married to and said that he thanked his wife “every day for staying with me and being the strong woman she is.”
“You know, her and country music saved my life,” he added.