Actor Charles 'Chip' Esten might best be known as Deacon Claybourne, an alcoholic, emotionally distant musician on the hit ABC TV show, 'Nashville,' but in real life, he says that role couldn't be farther from the truth.

“I’m very different than Deacon in many, many ways, but there’s a lot of ‘there but for the grace of God go I,'" he explains. “He’s had it harder than I’ve probably had it, so it’s taken its toll, and he’s got his demons that he battles; and I guess everybody does, but I’m pretty different. But I’m glad for it.”

Different, indeed. While he plays a perpetually single and unavailable musician on the TV drama, who is in love with Rayna James (played by Connie Britton), Esten is actually happily married to his wife, Patty, who he wed in 1991, and is the father of three. But one thing that is similar to his role on 'Nashville' is his love of music -- especially songwriting.

"Now that I'm in Nashville the thing that I'm loving the most is co-writing," he tells Virginia's the Connection.'"You walk into the room and you shake hands with someone you've never met before and you walk out four hours later and you've got this thing … sharing ideas and everything, it's almost magical, like a miracle."

When not filming 'Nashville,' Esten can often be found writing and performing around Music City. He made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry last year.

'Nashville' airs on Wednesday nights at 10PM ET on ABC.