An Hour-Long Conversation with Caroline Bryan

On her latest Get Real podcast, Nashville insider Caroline Hobby invited Luke Bryan’s wife Caroline to the show to talk about everything. And by everything, I mean everything: how to dress kids for skiing without dying, what she first thought of Luke when they met at Dingus Magee’s, what happens when you do round-offs in a hotel hallway, how her mother-in-law is a real-life Maxine, and how sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay.

This is just a sample of what the two Carolines covered.

On why the Bryan family ski trips are so good right now: “Finally, the kids are at the age where I don’t have to dress them. To all the moms out there: if you have small children, do not put your own ski clothes on before you dress your child. You will die. It’s like being in a sauna. I learned that the hard way.”

On sharing her pranks with the whole world: “Here’s the honest truth. My niece Jordan told me, ’Aunt Caroline, your Instagram is lame. Just be you. Who cares what anybody thinks?’”

On what Luke’s mom LeClaire is really like: “She owns it. She’s a mess. She knows she’s funny. Do you remember the character from the Hallmark cards, Maxine? She was an old lady smoking a cigarette, drinking her coffee? She’s Maxine. There is no filter.”

On having a house full of guys: “Til is 17, he’s 6’4″, he’s so cute, and he’s sweet. The house is usually more full of boys than it is girls, thank God. One time some girls showed up at the door at 9:45 at night, and I was in my robe. I was like, ’No thank you, not gonna happen, thanks, bye.’ Actually I let Til and his buddy come downstairs and tell them. He’s a gentleman.”

On meeting Luke at Georgia Southern: “We met my first week of college, at a bar called Dingus’, and we were just hangin’ out. It was Thursday night. I was a freshman. It was my first time in a bar. I was so sheltered growing up in a very small town — Sandersville, the kaolin capital of the world — and I’d had the same boyfriend since 8th grade. We’d agreed to go our separate ways and just see what was out there. Luke’s personality was so big, I was staring at him like, ’Is this guy for real?’ He was the second guy I ever kissed in my life. Ever.”

On their decision to break things off: “We dated for year and a half, and then I got freaked out because he was talking about marriage. We separated for four years. Us breaking up was horrible. It was Christmas of my sophomore year, when he was leaving school. I dated two other guys, but Luke was always the sweetest and the best. Hands down. But I wasn’t ready to be in love. He had the nerve once to bring a girl to my house in college for a preparty. I got pissed and I left. I was like, ’What the hell? I hope this bitch goes in my room and sees my pictures.’”

On reconnecting after college: “I was a drug rep in Macon, but I was in Statesboro for work, and my brother said, ’Guess who is playing in town.’ I saw Luke playing, and something was different. We made eye contact and we locked eyes. I was in my work clothes, not going-out clothes. I felt like a grandma. Then he took a break, and I thought he was trying to avoid me. So I left. He called my brother’s house at 3 a.m., and I answered. He was like, ’Where did you go?’ I said, ’I thought you didn’t want to see me.’ Anyway, we’ve been together ever since. He and I would’ve never ever, ever lasted if we didn’t have a break. We appreciate each other.”

On financing Luke’s neon dreams: “I had a great job, so for four years or so my income paid our bills. Because in those days, he’d play for free.”

On the sad realities of miscarriages: “After Bo was born when we’d only been married for six months, I had a miscarriage, and Luke didn’t know how to comfort me. It sucks and it hurts. It’s awful physically. But guys don’t know. They haven’t felt it or seen it. For girls, it’s a true loss.”

On the road-life struggles of motherhood: “Luke was touring and I was like, ’How do I do this?’ We decided to go on the road with Luke. For the first year, Luke was brand new and sharing a tour bus, and there was no room for Caroline and the baby. So I would make a bed in the back of the bus out of all the band guys’ suitcases. The poor band. They never complained. They never said a word.”

On the tragedies that have hit them so hard: “Luke’s brother died in 1996. Then 13 years ago, his sister passed away unexpectedly. She was healthy, beautiful, and the best mom to ever walk this earth. Then their daddy Lee had a massive heart attack in front of me and Til. That was the other worst day of our life. So Til (Luke’s nephew) moved in with us immediately. The girls (Til’s older sisters Jordan and Kris) are back and forth constantly, they’re still in college. And then we lost our niece Brett when she was seven months.”

On how it’s okay to not be okay: “Trust me, there are times when I just lose my shit. Sometimes I just go sit in the shower and cry. I struggle with Luke being gone all the time and how to make everybody happy and how to make this charity (for her late niece Brett) go well. It’s hard to be alone a lot. Our family thing is, you can take two paths in life: one of being bitter and angry, or one of I’m gonna find the happiness in this and make the best of something that’s horrible.”

On the realities of girls-trip shenanigans: “It was for the U.S. Open in New York. I went with my tennis team. We drank a lot, and for some reason I decided, ’I think I can tumble again.’ I do a back flip on a bed, and I landed thinking, ’Okay, I’ve still got it.’ Then I go in the hallway and start doing round offs, and on the last one I slipped and landed on my neck.”

On her secrets to running a big, busy household: “Jesus and wine.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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#Repost @carohobby with @get_repost ・・・ TODAY ON GET REAL PODCAST: Caroline Bryan LINK IN BIO. _____ I discovered @linabryan3 Instagram page last year and my life was changed forever. Not only is Caroline a total bombshell, she is the funniest prankster I have ever witnessed. Over Christmas, Caroline did “the 12 days of pranks” where she hid in a life size teddy bear and scared every family member and friend walking by, put fingernail polish on a bar of soap only to hear @lukebryan wonder why it’s not lathering up lol, plus many more pranks involving snakes, fog horns and fart machines. _____ She also has a sidekick, LeClaire @leclaire.bryan, Luke’s mother-in-law. Luke definitely got his dance moves from his mother, bc she can cut a rug! The Bryan Family is so much fun and so inspiring. They know how to enjoy life and find joy in everyday. Caroline and I chat about her love story with Luke and how they met in college. _____ We also talk about how she and Luke have survived tragedy. Luke lost both his siblings and brother-in-law, and took in their 3 children: a son who was in high school and 2 college age daughters to live with them and their 2 sons Bo and Tate. Caroline and Luke also started a charity, Brett’s Barn, with Caroline’s brother and sister-in-law, in honor of her brother’s daughter Brett who died at a very young age. _____ Brett’s Barn @brettsbarn opens its doors to sick and disabled children to come pet and love on the animals. It’s a true sanctuary. Caroline has a heart of gold and uses her life to spread love and healing and laughs. She is such an example of faith. It was amazing to hear her story with Luke and see how they have such an incredible marriage and life in the midst of the wild world of the music industry and personal heartbreak. LINK IN BIO. #getreal #getrealpodcast #carolinebryan #lukebryan

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Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.