Luke Bryan may have reached the top of the country charts, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t dealt with tragedy.
The Leesburg native stars in a new IMDb TV docuseries, “Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary.” In it, he opens up about his grief after his brother and sister died.
When Bryan was 20, his older brother, Chris, died in a car accident. Bryan had planned to go to Nashville the next morning.
“When Chris passed away, it was devastating because no one was more fired up about me going to Nashville than him,” Bryan said on Sunday Today of the 1996 incident.
The singer remained in Leesburg, going to college and working for his dad. Then, just as stardom came in 2007, his sister, Kelly, suddenly died. Her husband, Ben Lee Cheshire, died seven years later, of a heart attack. Bryan and his wife took in their nieces and nephew.
The couple adopted then 20-year-old Jordan, 16-year old Kris, and 13-year-old Til. They joined the Bryans’ sons Tate and Bo, who were 6 and 4.
“Obviously my nieces and nephew, they didn’t ask for this,” Bryan told People magazine in 2015. “Their life was amazing before Caroline and I took a more prominent role, even after losing their mother. Now my focus is trying to do what we can to help them.”
“When you start talking about the loss of siblings and even the loss of my brother-in-law — I mean, he was my brother, he had been in my life since I was 7, 8 years old — and the hesitancy is, gosh, you almost feel anxiety of telling aspects of your life that are so tragic,” Bryan said on Sunday Today.
“You worry about people at home just really wondering why this much tragedy and unfortunate things have happened in my life,” he added.
Still, the Academy of Country Music Award-winner knows he isn’t alone.
“I have to remember there are people out there that have gone through similar stuff that I have,” he said. “And so me telling my story of how we get through this as a family, you pray and you feel like you’re going to help some people. At the end of the day, that’s really what we’re trying to do. We’re tryin’ to just tell the story of my dirt road diary.”
Byan’s new single, “Songs You Never Heard,” is an ode to his late brother.
“I tell you what. When you’re in the moment of trying to really capture it right, it’s very emotional. Sometimes the songwriters will cry. Sometimes I’ll cry,” he said.