The country singer is a proud dad to two kids: Bailee Ann and Noah
Jelly Roll is a proud and protective papa bear to two kids: daughter Bailee Ann and son Noah Buddy.
The country music singer has repeatedly said how the birth of his daughter in 2008 forever changed his life for the better. On the day Bailee was born, Jelly Roll was in prison for drug dealing.
“I could no longer be selfish. There was something that was solely relying on me,” Jelly Roll openly shared with 105.7 The Point. “I knew that that was an important task. So I wanted to take it seriously. And I did. I take it very seriously to this day.”
Jelly Roll and wife Bunnie XO eloped in 2016, and were granted primary custody of Bailee. Their family of three also grew that year with the addition of Jelly Roll’s son from a previous relationship.
The couple rarely posts about Bailee and Noah on social media out of privacy, but that hasn’t stopped the “Son of a Sinner” vocalist from gushing about his kids in interviews. Following his three-win sweep at the 2023 CMT Music Awards, Jelly Roll broke down while talking about Bailee and the meaningful significance the career milestone has for their family.
“She knows the story. She knows how real it is. I’m just proud of her,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “I love you, Bailee Ann, so much. I thought about it the moment I walked off stage. You’ve changed my life in so many ways. But it’s just unreal. This is bigger than just a single award for us. We came from nothing.”
Here’s everything to know about Jelly Roll’s two kids, whom he co-parents with wife Bunnie XO.
Bailee Ann, 15
Bailee Ann was born on May 22, 2008. A 23-year-old at the time, Jelly Roll was incarcerated when he learned of his daughter’s birth — a moment he refers to as his “road to Damascus.”
“A guard knocks on my cell door midafternoon during lockdown. He goes, ‘You had a kid today,’ ” Jelly Roll recalled during an interview with Billboard. “I’ve never had nothing in life that urged me in the moment to know that I had to do something different. I have to figure this out right now.”
Despite being “irritated” by the news at first, Jelly Roll said his daughter's birth "inspired him to change.” He was released from prison just in time for Bailee’s second birthday, where he “grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.”
Today, Bailee lives with her father and stepmom, Bunnie XO. The couple were granted full custody of Bailee following her mother’s drug addiction in 2017. On an episode of Bunnie XO’s Dumb Blonde podcast, Bailee opened up about her rocky upbringing and shared that she and her mom, Felicia, are working to mend their relationship amidst her recovery journey.
“I had an extra, interesting, traumatic childhood. Bunnie did, my dad did. They’re important reasons for why my mom is in my life now and is sober,” Bailee said during an appearance on her dad’s Hulu documentary, Jelly Roll: Save Me. “As a teenager, I’ve moved on. I’ve worked through my childhood. But that doesn’t make it go away. It made me who I am today.”
Much like her father, Bailee has turned to songwriting as a means of therapy and joy. She wrote “Tears Could Talk” when she was just 10 years old. The song was featured on Jelly Roll’s 2010 album A Beautiful Disaster. Bailee also appears alongside her dad in the song’s music video, and has joined him onstage during his Backroad Baptism Tour to perform the duet.
During a stop in Georgia, Jelly Roll introduced his daughter to the crowd by thanking his fans for their support. “Not only have y’all changed my life, you’ve changed her life in ways that we can’t even describe," he shared, per Music Mayhem magazine.
Noah Buddy, 7
Jelly Roll’s son, Noah Buddy DeFord, was born on Aug. 23, 2016. Apart from a birth announcement on Facebook, Jelly Roll has refrained from publicly speaking about his son in interviews. Fans got their first major introduction to Noah when he and his stepmom, Bunnie XO, made a TikTok video ahead of his seventh birthday in 2023.
“My name is Noah and my favorite color is red,” he says to the camera with a shy, big smile.
Elsewhere in the video, Noah shared that his favorite hobbies are Pokemon and soccer, and that he wants both a dog and cat for a pet. He also teased that he thinks his big sister is cooler than his famous dad.
While fans were surprised to see Noah appear in the TikTok, Bunnie XO clarified in the comments that she received Noah’s mom’s approval before posting the video.
Speaking with Taste of Country, Jelly Roll shared that Noah is very much part of the family and often goes on vacation with them. In those instances, he added, they traditionally “always try to shoot [social media content] around him” out of respect for Noah and his mom’s privacy.
"With Bailee, I'm the full-time parent, I'm the judge, the jury and the executioner, when it comes to decisions with her," Jelly Roll explained. "I try not to get in the way of what she [Melisa] is building over there, and I never want to step on her toes, with what she's doing with him, that I want to just respect that boundary.”
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