Rascal Flatts Joe Don Rooney Breaks His Silence, Drops Massive Life Update After Arrest, Divorce + More
At the beginning of a massive tweet, he confirms he's not dead and he's not transitioning to become a woman. Both of those things, Rooney says, were rumored in recent months.
- Rooney's private battle with alcohol became public in September 2021 when he ran his car into a tree. He was arrested and later pled guilty to DUI.
- He says he spent four months in rehab and has now been sober for nearly 28 months.
- His divorce from wife Tiffany Fallon was finalized this fall. Both had admitted to having extramarital affairs.
Rooney recalls being "so far gone with my life" when he crashed his car into a tree — drinking had been an issue for years, and as he got older, it got worse. Pressures of life and career contributed to his anxiety, but he also refers to some childhood trauma.
"I was not a good father — I was not a good husband — and I was not a good bandmate to my business partners (Jay DeMarcus and Gary LeVox)," he writes. I probably would’ve never taken responsibility for any of this if it hadn’t been for my car wreck on Sep 9, 2021."
From there Rooney reveals where his path led in the months that followed that wreck: Four months of alcohol treatment in Utah were very difficult at first, and the 48-year-old admits he didn't want to stay, as he was "full of fear and guilt."
"I never believed I could actually live my life without drinking," he admits. "It had become such a huge part of my daily and nightly routine. I had tried to stop on my own in the past but the powerful nature of alcohol always found its way back into my life."
The final few paragraphs of Rooney's note to fans express gratitude for those who've shown support. He's optimistic about his future, and adamant that he wouldn't have been able to quit drinking without God's intervention and the help of family and professionals, plus his new sober-forever friends.
"I've been able to get the train back on the tracks and live without the burden of alcohol," he writes. "Now I need to protect my family and protect my sobriety."
It's not clear what he'll do professionally in 2024, if anything. Divorce proceedings revealed some financial issues in his household prior to the end of his marriage. During his 20 years with Rascal Flatts, Rooney was primarily the guitarist and backing singer, although he wrote one or two album tracks on most of their 10 studio albums.
Rascal Flatts separated in 2020. Their final tour was squashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.