TV

Music City Star Rachyl Degman on Keeping Reality in Reality TV

The Show's Star On Love, Marriage and Life In Front of the Lens

Editor’s note: The following article contains spoilers from the season two finale of Music City.

Life in front of the cameras cannot be easy.

But for Music City’s Rachyl Degman, it’s more than fine, especially in this current season of life. It’s an opportunity to show real vulnerability and truth, and a chance to put the reality back in reality television.

CMT.com spoke with Degman exclusively in anticipation of the show’s second season finale Thursday night (Jan. 31), and she was as delightfully candid as you would expect, even more so given the troubled waters of her marriage to musician Kerry Degman displayed in full view for audiences this past month.

“I have always believed that if people would just be more freaking honest about everything and just be more vulnerable, that every part of this world would be better and would be healthier,” Degman Rachyl told CMT.com. “I mean, my friends and family will tell you, I’m always the one that’s like sharing too much and vulnerable. But I really believe that. And it’s been so encouraging because I kind of took a risk hoping that it would work, basically. I hoped that if I share the ugly and the good stuff, that it will help other women and encourage other women.”

“I get emotional even just talking about it because I’m really emotional,” she added.

Throughout the season, the Degmans’ storyline remained a source of tension, not only between the Degmans themselves, but also between Rachyl and her friends, particular the newly-engaged Jessica Mack, who had a different position than maybe the others on Rachyl’s friendship with Jeremiah and vocalized it with the best of intentions. We saw the ebb and flow of the girls’ friendship, and felt even closer to them, because who cannot relate?

“I get a message every day that’s like, ’Thank you so much for sharing on Music City,'” Rachyl said.

“The compliment I always get is: ’You’re the most real cast member, and I love seeing your story.’ And then people will go into detail of ’My husband’s in the military, he’s always gone,’ or ’My husband this or I went through a divorce.’ And it makes it all worth it. I would do it 10 times over again just to feel like I’m connecting with these women. It’s really encouraging to me to think that there are women out there alone, watching the show at their house while their kids sleep, feeling like, ’Even this girl that’s on TV is struggling with these same things.'”

The life of a touring artist’s wife is not for the faint of heart. It’s painted in such a glamorous light online and in the media, but both Rachyl and Kerry Degman’s willingness to pull back the curtain re-wrote the narrative, bringing to light the hardships and the intense loneliness.

“I spent a lot of nights alone,” Rachyl confessed. “Like, a lot of nights I spend alone with my son. I have no support. I have no family in Nashville. So, I’m literally just alone unless a girlfriend wants to stop by or something. But how many times can you ask your girlfriend to come to your house and drink a glass of wine?”

As much as you want or need, as we saw this season when Alisa, Ali and even J-Mack rallied to support their friend. But it was still hard to watch the hurt and pain shatter the picture perfect portrayal that we all want to see of marriage. But that’s the reality, and reality is sometimes harsher than we’d like it to be.

But fortunately, at the end of the season, we saw the glimmer of hope for reconciliation and for forgiveness between Rachyl and her husband. Yet another example of how honesty can truly be the ultimate healer.

Honesty, and of course, self-awareness, growth and the realization for women that your value also lies within your unique identity and not solely in your sacrifice as a wife or mother. For Degman, that was one of the biggest awakenings of all.

“I don’t know why, but women martyr themselves day after day,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s in our nature or our culture. But, they martyr themselves to their marriage. You’re not doing anyone any favors. You don’t need to sacrifice yourself to your marriage. That doesn’t help anyone. That doesn’t help the United States. That doesn’t help your family. That doesn’t help yourself. You need to either have a healthy marriage that you want to be in or get out.”

So given the finale we saw last night, is she in or is she out?

She’s taking charge, that’s for sure, and she’s excited about what’s next.

“What I’m most excited for is the next step in my personal life,” she said. “I think I’m just excited to make a life for Wolfgang [she and Kerry’s son] as he grows up and for myself, and this might sound kind of bitchy, but whoever that includes and doesn’t include, that’s fine with me.

“At this point in my life, I’m like, ’You know what? You made your life what it is. You’re not a victim, and you create the life that you want for yourself, and nobody else can make you do or say anything or change your life. You’re the only person that can change your life.’ So I’m just really excited to just move forward with Wolfgang, hopefully with Kerry, and see where his music takes us and where the TV show takes us. And, hopefully, where our marriage can take us.”

Hope for their future as a family, but ultimately for everyone’s happiness. For now, Degman, a gifted and successful painter, is focusing on her blossoming art career along with her heart, a return to her roots before Nashville.

“When I met Kerry, I had just published a children’s book that I was all excited about and it was my first kind of personal project. And I was working for Tom Shoes, and I was just living up my dream out in L.A. as an artist, which was why the move to Nashville was so devastating for me because I was leaving my dream. All that to say, it was all worth it. Now, with Music City, I just thank Jesus every day because people are just sending me requests and I just pray they keep on coming.”

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That Denver sunshinin in. 18×24 for @mguzy828

A post shared by Rachyl Degman (@rachyldegman) on

Other gems from CMT.com’s chat with Degman:

CMT.com: Who experienced the most growth in season two?
Degman: It’s hard for me to say who showed it because I am there in reality and then what’s on screen … they try and get as much as they possibly can on screen, but they can’t get it all. It’s not a documentary. But J-Mack, for sure.”

On the timeliness of her friendship with Alexandra:
“Pretty much as soon as we started filming and spending more time together as a group, Ali and I just totally hit it off. Sometimes you just need a girl to come alongside you, like ride or die, whatever. Whatever you choose to do, I support you.”

On what Jackson and Ali are really like:
“Jackson is incredible. He and Ali are like family to me. And they both just have really warm, really, really warm, welcoming hearts. They’re both really open-minded even though they come from where they come from. They’re super open-minded. I mean, I know their moms are the same way. Their moms have been through it, divorces, different things. So they are a Christian family, but they’re really loving and open. And that’s just so, so exciting to me.”

On the reality of the show:
“Just having seen the first season, I felt really confident with the way that they portrayed me, just the way that I looked on television. I was like, ’Oh, yeah, that’s accurate. That’s who I am. That’s the good and the bad, and it felt really well-rounded and pretty accurate, and I attribute that to everyone, but especially Adam [DeVillo]. I trust him so much now.”

Just how close were they before the cameras?
“I knew J-Mack the best just because we run in the same circle and we went to church together. So I know her the best. We have a lot of friends in common. She and Kerry are the more established musicians, and they had bumped into each other through different writing sessions and things like that.”

Is Jackson okay?
“Jackson is 27. He’s got a lot of stuff he needs to work through. He’s going to be okay. We’ll take care of him.”

…did she really want to hire that stripper for J-Mack?
“I did not want to do that. I did not understand. I did not think it was a big deal. I didn’t want to do it. But it’s like, at the end of the day, I do care about J Mack, and it ruined her night and she hated it. I can apologize for that, you know?”

The season two finale of Music City is now available On Demand and on CMT.com. Catch up on all things Music City by visiting the show page on our site.

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.