Although the jury's still out as to whether or not Trace Adkins will take orders from Donald Trump or his castmates on the season premiere of the first-ever All-Star Celebrity Apprentice premiering Sunday (March 3) on NBC, there is one person this 6-foot-6 star has no qualms obeying -- his wife.
"My wife made me do it," he said of rejoining the show, something he vowed not to do again following his successful run five years ago on season seven of Celebrity Apprentice. Placing runner-up to Piers Morgan in the final boardroom event, Adkins was still able to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, a cause that hits close to home due to his daughter's severe food allergies.
"And she was right," he said of his wife's persistence.
His change of heart is the result of heartbreaking loss that happened two years ago when his home was destroyed by fire. Adkins was not at home when the fire broke out and, thankfully, his family was able to escape safely. However, many of their personal belongings did not. Among the first responders on the scene were members of the American Red Cross, the charity Adkins will be competing for this time around in hopes of winning the final bonus check of $250,000.
"You need to try and repay your debts," he explained.
"They showed up at our house fire, and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know they did that," he said. "But the Red Cross responds to over 70,000 house fires a year. And a lot of times, they are the only thing that those people have. My family, we were fortunate enough that we had someplace else to go, and we had means. But there's so many families that when that happens to them, they don't have anywhere else to go, and the Red Cross is the only place they have to turn. Thank God they're there."
Currently working on an album of love songs due out this spring as well as his first Christmas project, Adkins is also busy acting in a few movie roles on the side, including a Western and a comedy.
The busy star recently visited the CMT offices to talk about his latest Celebrity Apprentice venture. During an interview with CMT.com, he opened up about the most difficult aspect of being on the show, a few of his radical castmates, an unlikely new friendship and what he really thinks of Piers Morgan.
CMT.com: You don't strike me as the reality TV show type.
Adkins: No! And I said I wouldn't do it again. The only reason I ever did The Apprentice in the first place was because of that charitable aspect. And I've said that much to the dismay of the NBC folks several times -- that that's the only redeeming thing that it has going for it.
Is there anything you learned the last time you were on the show to help you this time?
I think so. Last time, I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't even seen an episode of The Apprentice. So, I spent probably the first six weeks or so just trying to get the lay of the land and how is this supposed to go. This time, I knew I didn't have that luxury because everybody that was on the show this time was on the show before. I knew you had to come out guns blazing that first day. Everybody did.
What has been the most difficult aspect of being on the show?
Just trying to maintain your composure is probably the hardest thing for everybody. And not just me. At some point, everybody's going to reach that tipping point where they're about to lose it.
I watched you the first time you were on Celebrity Apprentice, and you really seemed to maintain your composure quite well. There are some extreme personalities on that show.
Who is the most extreme this time around?
You can't get much more extreme than Gary Busey! He's extreme in a lot of ways. And then there's Dennis Rodman. He's extreme. Yeah, a lot of extreme personalities. That's a good way to put it.
Have you developed any surprising friendships?
Hmmm. Penn Jillette, I think. I didn't really anticipate developing the relationship that's developed between him and me.
What about Donald Trump? Is he really as ruthless in the boardroom as he seems? Is it that intense?
He's pretty tough, yeah. He's pretty tough.
Piers Morgan returns as an advisor this time. What's it like coming face to face with him again?
I try not to pay much attention to what Piers says or does. (laughs) I don't want to give him the satisfaction of thinking he gets under my skin in the least -- but he does.