The witty platinum-selling country artist‘s kids think he‘s a dork – but he loves being a dad.
Like his song says, life is more than “alright” with Darius Rucker. A native southerner, his debut country album launched three number one hits and went platinum. Having just released a new album entitled Charleston, SC 1966, Darius says he enjoys the best of both worlds, spending his weekends on tour with Brad Paisley and his week days enjoying life with his wife Beth, daughters, Cary (15) and Dani (9), and son, Jack (5). He says, “I sing because God gave me this voice and I have a job that I love, but above all else, I was put on this earth to be a dad.”
You and Brad Paisley have five children between you. How do you make time for them? One of the best parts of country music is that we only tour on the weekend. We go on the road on Thursday and come back Sunday, so we’re home three to four days a week. It’s more like a regular job.
How is raising a boy different than a girl?
Cary and Dani are pretty laid back, but Jack is rough and tumble. Boys don’t have that gene that says, “It’s gonna hurt.” When Jack was 3, he jumped off the top of my piano, hit the ground and was screaming like someone just shot him in the leg. After I calmed him down, he disappeared. I found him standing on top of the piano again. I said, “Dude, you’re on your own!”
What‘s more difficult, Jack‘s first day of kindergarten or Cary‘s first day driving a car?
I haven’t given her the car yet. With kindergarten you know where they’ll be for eight hours, but when a teenager drives off, you don’t know where she’s going.
What is one of your funniest parenting mistakes?
Jack was going to a school function and had to wear a white golf shirt. When my wife got home she pointed out the bumpy shoulders and the buttons the wrong way – it was a woman’s shirt. Man, Jack let me have it.
Do your daughters think you‘re cool for a being a music star or are they embarrassed by your antics?
They think it’s cool to get on the bus and go on the road on the weekends. Me? They’re embarrassed by me as a whole. They think I’m a dork.
What should you teach your son?
It’s your job to teach him how to be a man. That was my biggest problem in my life. I never had anyone tell me how to be a man. I didn’t have anyone to show me how to treat a woman, and that’s my job now.
Cary will start dating soon. How are you going to handle meeting her date at the door?
I don’t own a gun, but I guarantee you when this kid comes to pick her up, every gun my friends own will be out on my table. My buddies and I will be cleaning them, and that boy will sit at that table while we clean our guns.
At one point you lived in a house with your mom, two aunts, grandma and 13 cousins. Your kids have a more traditional household. What‘s the difference?
The biggest thing my children get is a dad, something I didn’t have. What they’re missing is that relationship with their extended family. My cousin Dale was like a brother to me. My cousins were my brothers and sisters and I’m still close to them.
Let‘s talk tattoos. I have a Miami Dolphins tattoo and a flag with a peace sign. The next one will be my kids‘ names around my arm. How will you react if your daughter comes home with a tattoo?
If she came home with a tattoo right now, she may never leave the house again.
Your first country album was Learn to Live and your latest is Charleston, SC 1966. Both are references to your own history. How do you teach your children to learn to live?
One thing I try to instill in my kids is to enjoy life. So many people go through life unhappy, and they die unhappy. I’m so happy, and I’m so grateful. If God took me today, all I could say is, “Thank you.” I want them to be good people, do the right thing and have fun.
Deborah Bohn writes Busy Bodies for this publication in addition to celebrity profiles. She lives in Franklin with her family.