Darius Rucker is a father to one daughter, Carolyn, with ex Elizabeth Ann Phillips, and two children, Daniella and Jack, with estranged wife Beth Leonard
Darius Rucker is a proud father to three children: daughters Carolyn and Daniella and son Jack.
The “Wagon Wheel” singer first became a father in 1995, when he and his ex Elizabeth Ann Phillips welcomed their daughter Carolyn, 28. The couple split shortly after and Darius married Beth Leonard in 2000. Together, they welcomed Daniella, 22, in 2001, and Jack, 19, in 2004.
Though Leonard and Darius split in July 2020, they were determined to continue co-parenting. Three years later, they seemed to be successful in their goal, with Darius telling PEOPLE in October 2023 that they were still a family unit.
“That stuff hurts and you feel like a failure,” Darius said of divorce. “But we’re still a family — a piece of paper is not going to change that. We’re still a family, and that’s all because Beth is awesome. She knows it’s the best for the kids, and she’s a great human being.”
Darius added that since his father was absent when he was growing up — despite living down the street from him and his siblings — it was all the more important to him to be a present father to his children.
“It was tough growing up without a dad. I hated it,” he told PEOPLE. “I had a lot of great father figures in my life, but not having him there was s---ty, and I don’t ever want my kids to not know where their dad is or how they can get in touch with him, because I never knew how to get in touch with mine.”
He added, “With a job like mine, you travel a lot, but the one thing is, [my children] always know where I am. I think that’s directly from the fact that I never knew where [my father] was.”
From their budding musical careers to their friendships with other celebrity kids, here’s everything to know about Darius Rucker’s three children.
Carolyn Rucker, 28
Darius’ older daughter, Carolyn, was born on April 21, 1995, and was named after the country singer’s mom who shared the same name.
In May 2018, Carolyn graduated from Lynn University, and Darius marked the happy occasion on Instagram. “My oldest, @cary4life, graduated college yesterday. So proud of her!! Love my babies,” he wrote below a photo of all three of his children.
It seems Carolyn may have taken after her musical father. While she was in college, she uploaded videos of herself singing covers of songs like Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” on her YouTube channel.
Years later, the former Hootie & the Blowfish leading man was joined by Carolyn and her two younger siblings when he accepted his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 2023. During his speech, he called out his children, sharing his love and pride in how they’ve grown up.
"Cary, Dani and Jack are my heart, they're my soul," the musician said. "They're everything to me and everything I do is for them."
"It's just been an amazing thing to be your father," Darius continued. "As great as all this stuff is, it's not as cool as being your dad, and I really mean that. I love you guys so much."
Carolyn expressed her support for her father, writing on X, “I am so proud of my dad being able to experience this was amazing he deserves this so much so proud love you dad.”
Daniella Rucker, 22
Darius’ second daughter was born on May 16, 2001, just months after he and Beth tied the knot. Daniella was named after retired Miami Dolphin player Dan Marino — whom Daniella got to meet in 2016.
Daniella made her dad proud when she graduated from New York University in May 2023. While she was in school, Darius told PEOPLE he made it a priority to communicate with her and all his children as much as possible, especially as they were all in different places.
"When phones and FaceTime came into play, it made it a lot easier," he said in June 2023. "[I] just try to call every day."
"The way we tour is great," he continued. "We only tour on the weekend, so it's three days a week and the other four days [I'm] pretty much home, so that makes it a lot easier."
When Daniella was home from school during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and Darius got to spend some extra time together and the two ended up recording a song, “I Don’t Love You Like That,” together.
“Making the best of these stay at home orders & family time I decided to play around with my garage band and put on my producer hat,” Darius wrote on X. “With my daughter Dani back home from college, she joined on lead vocals.”
Many of Darius’ followers remarked how good Daniella sounded, noting that she may be following in her father’s footsteps in the future.
Jack Rucker, 19
Jack, Darius’ youngest child and only son, was born on Oct. 27, 2004. He and Darius are close, often attending events together from football games to red carpets. The two also enjoy playing golf together, with Darius telling PEOPLE in June 2023 that he planned to spend Father’s Day with his son on the course.
"I got a show on Saturday, then I'll fly home right after to go hang out with my son," he said. "My daughters live in Nashville and New York so I won't get to see them, but my son and I will go play golf."
Like his older sister, Jack is now a student at N.Y.U. after graduating from high school in May 2023, making his father an empty nester. Darius joked to PEOPLE that he hoped he wouldn’t have “too much fun” now that the kids were out of the house and he had more free time.
"I'm scared. I hope I don't have too much fun," he joked. "But you're just so proud of your kids and reaching those milestones. I better spend time playing a lot of golf and traveling around and probably traveling to the city that they're at so I can see them."
In February 2023, he announced that he and Phillippe made a song together called “8 / 5 / 18.” “This song is one of my favorite songs I’ve worked on and is the first song that @deaconphillippe and I ever did together. Now out on all platforms,” Jack wrote on Instagram.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.