Photo: Jazills

Rascal Flatt’s Joe Don Rooney Denies Transitioning Rumors

Best known for playing guitar in Rascal Flatts, Joe Don Rooney has finally broken his silence since pleading guilty to a 2021 DUI. In a lengthy social-media post on X (formerly Twitter), the country music artist has, both, confirmed his sobriety and also dispelled a rumor that he was in the process of transitioning. 

In a protracted statement, Rooney wrote:

“There have been so many rumors and opinions thrown around about me — but I’m finally healthy and ready for the world. And NO, I’m not transitioning to be a woman.” “That thought has never entered my mind. Nothing against the trans community whatsoever but I needed to set the record straight.”

“My life and career took a major detour at 4a in the early morning hours of Sep 9, 2021, when I ran square into a tree and about killed myself,” he wrote. “I was drunk, and 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.” 

Concerning the factors that triggered him to drink, the musician said “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.”

Joe’s divorce from wife Tiffany Fallon was finalized in December 2023 and he credited the car crash with turning his life around. Spending four months in a Utah alcoholism treatment facility, he said:

“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.” Come January 13, Rooney will be sober 28 months.

In 2022, Rolling Stone reported that after pleading guilty. the guitarist would serve two days in jail and lose his license, though the rest of his 11 months and 27 days sentence was suspended. The incident occurred a year after Rascal Flatts had announced plans for a farewell tour, which was ultimately canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the 2000s, along with Rascal Flatts bandmates Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus, Rooney achieved significant commercial success in country music in with the hits “I Melt,” “Bless the Broken Road,” “What Hurts the Most,” and a cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway.” 

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Jazills