But it’s taken me this long to realize how little I knew about Tyler Hubbard’s struggles before he met Brian Kelley and started the duo.
On the show, the first home videos from Hubbard’s collection feature him as the world’s cutest little dirt biker when he was in kindergarten. Then there are shots of him when he was a worship leader at his church and listening to some hip-hop and rock when his parents weren’t looking. He headed to Nashville’s Belmont University after high school.
Meanwhile, back at home in Georgia, his father had picked up a new passion — a helicopter he bought.
“It was cool to see him doing something he really enjoyed besides going to work every day,” Hubbard recalled. His dad had even cut half the trees down in their yard and the woods so he could land the helicopter there.
But then, the unthinkable happened. In February of Hubbard’s sophomore year, he headed home for a visit. But that visit turned tragic.
“(My dad) flew in, and something happened, man,” Hubbard said. “And to this day, we don’t know exactly what happened, but they came in short and ended up clippin’ a tree and went down right in the backyard.”
Hubbard’s father Roy, just 43 at the time, died in that helicopter crash.
“I ran outside and saw the whole thing,” Hubbard said. “I have that image ingrained in my brain forever of what we saw that day and how fragile the human body is and how fragile life is. As I get older, it’s funny the things that I learned from him that I didn’t even know I learned — how to treat a lady. By far, he was the best husband.”
Hubbard considered leaving Belmont for good to stay home with his mom, but she convinced him to stay in college. It turned out to be one of the best decisions he ever made since he met Kelley shortly after he returned to campus. I’m sure Hubbard’s father would be very proud of everything that happened after that.