Luke Bryan Shares the Unbreakable Bond His Nephew Til Had With His Late Father
Luke Bryan says his nephew, Til, had a unique bond with his late father that can't be replaced, and he's looking forward to showing him and his sisters footage of both of their late parents in a new documentary about Bryan's life and career.
The country superstar has suffered the untimely loss of a close family member not once, but three times in his 45 years. In 1996, when Bryan was just out of high school, his older brother, Chris, was killed in a car accident. Then, in 2007, the superstar's sister, Kelly, died suddenly of undisclosed causes.
Kelly's husband, Lee, died after suffering a heart attack in 2014. He'd been raising their three teenagers alone, and when he died, Bryan and his wife, Caroline, didn't hesitate to step in, caring for their two nieces, Jordan and Kris, and legally adopting their then-14-year-old nephew, Til (the Bryans also share biological sons Bo and Tate).
Although nothing will ever replace Kelly and Lee, Bryan, Caroline and the five children have an unbreakable bond. In this instance, tragedy birthed blessings.
Bryan shares the road that has led him to where he is in his life career thus far in new a five-part docuseries on IMDb TV. In Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary, Bryan opens up about his close relationship with Kelly and Lee, and the indescribable pain he and his family felt in dealing with their loss.
Jordan, Kris and Til were young when they lost their mother, and teenagers when they lost their father. With Kelly and Lee playing such an important role in Bryan’s life story, old footage of the couple and even interview footage of Lee is present throughout the series.
During a recent interview, Bryan shared that his nieces and nephew had only watched the trailers for the documentary, and even those short clips were hard to get through.
“That will be the most tense part about having this out, is just watching them react,” Bryan says.
The docuseries serves almost as a time capsule of memories for his nieces and nephew. Bryan knows it will surface a multitude of emotions and understands that Jordan, Kris and Til might want to watch and process through it alone.
“They may want to do it on their own time, too. In our family, it’s going to be something really emotional to watch," Bryan states.
Although it may be hard to watch at times, the country superstar is ultimately excited for them to view the series. “I think they just are going to love seeing their parents, seeing footage,” Bryan says.
Bryan is specifically anticipating raw emotion when Til sees his dad being interviewed.
Til and Lee were close, and although Bryan now has the honor to serve as a father figure to Til, he knows nothing will ever replace that relationship.
“Nobody had a better father-son bond than Til and his dad,” Bryan states.
Now young adults, Kelly and Lee's kids have been through catastrophic life events, but they’ve chosen to reflect and emphasize the good rather than the bad. Though their parents have been absent from their lives for a number of years, Bryan says they still find ways to honor their memory.
It’s the little things, like when Til posted a birthday tribute to his late father or a throwback memory of him with his mother:
“That’s just an amazing thing that they do, that they still honor them,” Bryan notes. “All of the children really do a good job at handling their emotions of what they’ve been through.”
Although the show will have its highs and lows as the whole family watches, Bryan knows the bigger picture of the docuseries surpasses just the impact on his family. “We tell the story to let people know if they’re having stuff in their life that’s challenging and tough, that they’re not alone," he says, adding, "Life is a tricky beast.”
All three of Kelly and Lee's children now live in Georgia, where Til will be a sophomore at the University of Georgia in the fall of 2021.
Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary is currently available on IMDb TV.
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