Brittany Aldean Reflects on 3rd Anniversary of Las Vegas Shooting: ‘It’s Something That Never Leaves You’
On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, Brittany Aldean was backstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, while her husband Jason Aldean was headlining the final night of the three-day country music event. When a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, she and her country star husband were among the thousands seeking safety.
On the third anniversary of the shooting, which killed 58 people and injured more than 800 more, Brittany is reflecting on that night on Instagram. "On one hand, it seems like an eternity ago, a nightmare you try to forget. On the other hand, it’s (sic) vividness makes it seem like it was yesterday," she says.
At the time, Brittany was eight months pregnant with the couple's son Memphis, who was born on Dec. 1, 2017 — exactly two months after the tragedy. (She'd later recount in an Instagram post that as they huddled behind equipment onstage, she worried that'd she'd never get to hold her baby boy.) Because she used to live in Las Vegas, Brittany had friends at the show that day, too:
"The sound, the chaos, the overwhelming sadness and heartache ... it’s something that never leaves you," Brittany reflects. "They call us the 'Route 91 Family' in my opinion because we are forever bonded. An experience that thankfully only certain people know."
About a week after the shooting, the Aldeans came back to Las Vegas to visit some of the victims who were hospitalized. On Instagram Stories, Brittany calls it "the hardest trip we ever made":
"Our hearts still break for the families who lost a loved one 💔," Brittany's post concludes. "We are thinking of each and every one of you today, and everyday (sic) ... and to the men and women who ran towards the bullets to protect all of us ... WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL🖤💙"
In 2018, Jason Aldean admitted that having his pregnant wife at the festival with him when the shooting to place "definitely was scary."
"I hate that she was there to have to experience it," he added at the time. "On the other hand, I know if she was at home and saw it on the news she would've freaked out — and I don't know what would've been worse."
On Sept. 30, one day ahead of the third anniversary of the shooting, a judge approved an $800 million settlement to end a class action lawsuit from more than 4,000 of the tragedy's victims and their families.
A portion of the settlement will come from the Mandalay Bay, but the majority — more than $750 million — will come from liability insurance. Two retired judges agreed upon by both sides will decide how the money is dispersed.