Jay DeMarcus said it was a grueling experience to admit the pain he endured after his baby daughter was put up for adoption.
The Rascal Flatts bassist recently penned a memoir titled “Shotgun Angels: My Story of Broken Roads and Unshakeable Hope,” where he described being in his early 20s when his then-girlfriend of one month, Maggie, got pregnant the first time they slept together. While the now-48-year-old wanted to be a part of the child’s life, and his own mother even offered to adopt her, he claimed Maggie moved forward with an outside adoption.
“I think having a child at such a young age and ultimately, placing her in adoption services was the most difficult part I had to live through and have ever had to live through,” DeMarcus told Fox News. “I wanted to be a part of her life so badly, but after we explored all of our options, the mother decided that the best option for her at that point in her life was to not raise a child, but to let someone adopt her.”
“It was very painful for me because I never wanted her to grow up to feel like I had abandoned her or didn’t want her in my life,” the artist continued. “It’s something quite honestly, I had to live with every day since. So writing about that, and having to relive that was definitely a monumentally painful moment for me in the book for sure.”
In the book, DeMarcus said he immediately knew Maggie became pregnant after he realized the condom broke. At that point in his life, DeMarcus was part of Christian duo East to West alongside Neal Coomer. He worried about how the news would impact his career.
And while DeMarcus and Maggie discussed their options, including getting married and raising the child themselves, he claimed: “It became evident that Maggie wanted nothing to do with me.” DeMarcus also shared that the pair would be tying the knot for the wrong reasons. And he stressed abortion wasn’t an option.
DeMarcus knew he could have kept the bombshell a closely guarded secret, as he has for years now. However, DeMarcus wanted to be completely honest with his fans in hopes that it would let someone in a similar situation know they aren't alone.
“I feel like they need to know that failure is not fatal, and because you may feel like you failed yourself or you fail others around you, it’s easy to let yourself slip into a state of depression and really beat yourself up,” explained DeMarcus. “My thing is that there’s always hope there for you. There’s always a way out. There’s always a way to move forward. You find that hope in different things. People that love you — friends. My hope happens to be in a relationship that I started early on in my life with Jesus Christ. I’m just simply writing the book also to suggest that maybe, instead of looking everyone else, you can find some of the answers you’re looking for in your own relationship with Christ.”
DeMarcus admitted he’s always wondered what happened to his daughter or if they would ever reunite someday. He said he’s leaving that decision completely up to her.
“My situation with her is something that I hold very close to the vest,” he said. “I certainly think about her a lot, and I wonder where she is and what she’s doing. But that’s going to be her choice. If she wants to find me, then I want to respect her decisions. And when that day comes, hopefully, she will make the best decision for her. That’s what I want.”
In 2004, DeMarcus married former Miss Tennessee Allison Alderson and the couple share an 8-year-old daughter named Madeline and a 6-year-old son named Dylan. The family happily reside in Nashville, Tenn.
“I think it’s mutual love and respect,” said DeMarcus on the secret behind his lasting marriage to Alderson, 42. “I think it’s that we realize that we have something special in our relationship with each other, and we balance each other out. I married a woman who is nothing like me and I’m nothing like her, and I think that healthy balance helps keeps us together and keep us centered.”
And DeMarcus insisted his faith in God continues to be a driving force in his life, even after achieving success with the celebrated country music group.
“I feel like it’s any other relationship in your life,” he explained. “You have to nurture it. You have to work at it. You have to make time for it. So what I do in my personal life is I make sure that I wake up early enough in the morning to spend at least a few minutes by myself praying and thanking God for what I’ve been given and just asking him for his guidance. It doesn’t take much. It doesn’t take much to form that relationship, and if you take the smallest steps toward him, he will take very large steps toward you.”
“I believe that he will start to make himself known to you in ways that you can’t even imagine if you just put a little effort into nurturing that relationship,” advised DeMarcus. “I try to do that every day. I’m not great at it. I’m not perfect at it by any means but I try to keep my connection in the airways open all the time.”
In October 2018, DeMarcus launched his own Christian music label, Red Street Records, which pays homage to his early roots in the industry. He said it was his way of “going back home,” all while giving aspiring musicians a place to express their faith through song.
“I feel like there are some misconceptions about Christianity in general,” said DeMarcus. “I feel like a lot of people think that it’s guilt-driven, and you got to do this, and you got to be perfect… being a believer for me is less about the religion and the beating you over the head with it, and more about recognizing that we all need help.”
“I feel like there are a lot of people hurting in this world, and we all need somebody to help us along the way. We’re not meant to live this life by ourselves, and I want to spread the message that there is someone out there that loves you… Bottom line, that’s why the message matters so much to me in Christian music. I feel it’s literally life-changing.”
While his past may haunt him at times, DeMarcus is looking ahead at his future and what it holds for him. He hopes his memoir will let others struggling in similar situations know they aren’t alone.
“I just hope it causes one person to have a little more hope and a better outlook on life,” said DeMarcus. “… If it gives them pause for just a little bit that they may even consider a relationship with Christ, the book is [then] a success, in my opinion.”