Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney Suffers Panic Attack During Flight To Nashville

Rascal Flatts / Facebook

Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney revealed on X that he had a panic attack during a situation on a plane. 

On January 16, Rooney took to X to reveal a very scary situation that he went through on a plane. He was flying from Denver on Sunday, January 14 and landed in Nashville at 11:05PM. Unfortunately, the storm and the late hour of their landing, the airport had a “skeleton crew” trying to bring in all the planes that had come in.

His plane ended up waiting on the tarmac for a total of three hours, and explained the whole story on X.

“And as y’all now know… I’m in recovery – and while in recovery from alcoholism, there are many triggers that can affect my sobriety – and this experience was a huge one for me,” he wrote.

45 minutes after they landed, the Captain came over the intercom letting the passengers know that they were in line waiting to taxi. When the Captain turned off the seatbelt sign so passengers could stretch their legs, he knew that they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so he began to panic.

Rooney has been prescribed anxiety medicine for situations just like this, but because he didn’t know he’d be stranded on a plane, he only packed one with him and the rest were in his checked luggage. He took the medicine, but it wasn’t enough

Not only does he suffer from an anxiety disorder, he also suffers from claustrophobia.

He spoke with flight attendants and told them his situation with anxiety, so they let him stand by them and even go in the bathroom if it wasn’t in use get away from the crowd. They offered him an alcoholic beverage, which he declined.

Eventually, he began playing mediation music and counting backwards from 100 in different patterns. Three hours later, they were finalliy able to gett off the plane, but had to wait another two hours for their luggage to come out on the turnstile.

He ended his X post by asking the airline, United, if there is anything they can do to “help people like myself get through a painful waiting process and traumatic experience like I had.”

Joe Don Rooney makes up one-third of the award-winning band Rascal Flatts.

He, along with Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus, formed Rascal Flatts in the late 90s and disbanded in 2020 before they could go on their farewell tour.

In 2021, the band confirmed their split and around the same time, Rooney and his wife announced they were heading for divorce. Later the same year, Rooney was arrested for a DUI after he crashed into a tree.

On January 3, 2024, Rooney broke his social media silence since his near-death experience.

He revealed that drinking “had been an issue for many years.”

“…I was so far gone with my life – I was completely out of control and finished with trying to fight the fears, depression and anxieties that had spun me out in a way I’ve never experienced before,” Joe Don wrote. “The pressures of my career and the many mistakes I made in regards to my home life, coupled with a lot of pain and trauma from my childhood and early on in my adult life, had become too much to bear. I was not a good father – I was not a good husband – and I was not a good band mate to my business partners.”

Rooney was forced to serve jail time, which led him to make huge changes in his life. Following his jail stint, he went the rehab for four months and became sober.

“When I first got there, I didn’t want to stay. I was ashamed of myself. I was so full of fear and guilt, that it took me all of the those 4 months to really start understanding treatment and the AA way and how to best utilize these new tools that I downloaded from the amazing clinicians, counselors and other patients there,” Rooney said.

“My life has been changed forever – and I’m grateful for the change. I’ve been sober now for almost 28 months come this Jan 13.”

See Rooney’s full post below. Note: it was split into two different posts. Make sure to click to expand the post.

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