As one of country music's biggest stars, it's hard to imagine that Brantley Gilbert has ever experienced a low moment in his life. But as Gilbert reveals in a tell-all interview with The Toledo Blade, his road to success was a shaky one.
Gilbert grew up in a church-oriented family, since his grandfather was a church deacon and his father was once a church youth minister. But like many teenagers, Gilbert rebelled a little against his parents, and found himself entertained by the party lifestyle.
"I always had a rebellious nature, and it went into overdrive for a while," Gilbert says.
Gilbert's combined love of music and partying led him to write "My Kinda Party" at age 17, a song that later went on to become a major hit for Jason Aldean.
Early in his career, Gilbert often found himself playing in bars, which threw him deeper into the party lifestyle. Gilbert became so consumed by alcohol that his girlfriend of five years, Amber, broke off their relationship.
"She finally said, ‘Man, if that’s what you’re about in your life, it’s not something I can be a part of,'" Gilbert says. "I learned to respect her for it, but we went five years without speaking or seeing each other."
A few years later, Gilbert was riding his motorcycle home when he came across a familiar church along the way. Gilbert stopped his bike, leaned against the cross, and realized in that moment he had to turn his life around.
"I think that was one of the first times I realized that drinking wasn’t just a hobby or something I did to have a good time," he says.
Gilbert had his last drink on December 18, 2011, and even though he is still surrounded by the party lifestyle, he doesn't let it tempt him any more:
"I drink vicariously through others now. I enjoy being in that environment. There are people who can party and handle it, but it can’t be part of my life anymore. Me and alcohol can’t be friends anymore; we get in too much trouble."
Not only is Gilbert sober now, but he has many hit songs under his belt, and even won back the heart of his former girlfriend Amber, whom he married on June 28, 2015.
"I’m one of the few people I’ve ever met who is blessed enough to be able to love the one who got away," Gilbert says about Amber. "She makes me a better man."
We've always had a ton of respect for Gilbert and his music, including his hit song "One Hell of an Amen," which you can listen to below.
Now that we know more about Gilbert's backstory, we have even more respect for him than we did before.
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