Jelly Roll: A Glimpse into the Musician’s Life as a Devoted Father
Jelly Roll’s story is one of transformation, redemption, and the boundless love of a father. Despite being a celebrated country musician, it’s his role as a father to Bailee Ann and Noah Buddy that has often taken center stage in his personal narrative.
Jelly Roll: From Prison to Parenthood
Jelly Roll’s journey into fatherhood started in less-than-ideal circumstances. On the day his daughter Bailee was born in 2008, he found himself incarcerated due to drug dealing. However, the news of her birth marked a turning point for the musician.
“I could no longer be selfish. There was something that was solely relying on me,” Jelly Roll confided in an intimate conversation with 105.7 The Point. Even during that tumultuous period, he recognized the weight of responsibility and the significance of being a parent.
In a candid interview with Billboard, Jelly Roll painted a vivid picture of the day he learned of Bailee’s birth: “A guard knocks on my cell door midafternoon during lockdown. He goes, ‘You had a kid today.’” That moment, he realized, “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.”
Navigating Bailee’s Childhood
Bailee’s early life was fraught with challenges. Jelly Roll was released from prison just in time for her second birthday. Following issues with Bailee’s mother’s drug addiction in 2017, full custody was granted to Jelly Roll and his wife, Bunnie XO.
Despite these hurdles, Bailee has grown resilient and insightful beyond her years. She took to songwriting, much like her father, penning the track “Tears Could Talk” at the tender age of ten. The bond between father and daughter is evident, especially when Bailee joins him onstage during his Backroad Baptism Tour.
However, it’s not just onstage that their bond is evident. Reflecting on their journey together, Jelly Roll shared with Entertainment Tonight, “She knows the story. She knows how real it is. I’m just proud of her. You’ve changed my life in so many ways.”
Introducing Noah Buddy
On Aug. 23, 2016, Jelly Roll’s family expanded with the arrival of his son, Noah Buddy DeFord. While Noah’s life has been kept relatively private, fans got a rare glimpse of the young boy in a heartwarming TikTok video with his stepmom, Bunnie XO, in 2023.
Noah’s innocent charm shines through as he talks about his love for Pokemon, soccer, and his adoration for his big sister. Though fans were eager to see more of Noah, Bunnie XO was quick to point out that she respects the privacy wishes of Noah’s mom.
In a chat with Taste of Country, Jelly Roll opened up about the dynamics of co-parenting and respecting boundaries. “With Bailee, I’m the full-time parent,” he said, emphasizing the differences in his parenting roles with his children.
A Family First
Through all the trials and tribulations, it’s evident that family remains at the heart of Jelly Roll’s life. Whether it’s creating new music, touring the country, or simply grilling hamburgers on a birthday, the devotion and love he has for his children are palpable.
The musician’s story serves as a testament to the transformative power of love and the lengths a parent will go to ensure their child’s well-being and happiness.