by Marcus K. Dowling
If needing another reason to connect with the fast-rising success of Morgan Wallen, consider that he’s achieving his success while also co-parenting his seven-month-old son, Indigo Wilder, with KT Smith, his former girlfriend.
The 27-year-old Sneedville, Tennesse native, did not imagine that this scenario would be his introduction to parenthood. Noting that his parents are still together, Wallen’s situation is not unusual. Pew Research data shows that the share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017.
However, Wallen laments, “I wanted to have a family like my parents. My parents are still together, you know. They raised [me and my sisters] together. That was my idea for what my life would look like. Obviously, that’s not the way it turned out. And I struggled with that a little bit when I first found out.”
Wallen and Smith had ended their relationship before their child’s conception. However, childbirth has not been detrimental to their continued friendship. He’s “thankful” to share parenting duties with “someone [he cares] about. We’re doing our best to figure it out, just trying to do the best we can with the situation. I mean, a lot of people have been in this situation before — having a kid with someone you’re not with — but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.”
Given that Wallen’s just released Dangerous — a voluminous double-album — the fact that he tells People that he’s had “some [initial] difficulties” as a new co-parent makes sense.
These issues include his COVID-19 protocol violation that led to his October cancellation, then re-booking as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Online videos surfacing showing him unmasked during a weekend at the University of Alabama. The incident highlighted the importance of parents setting a quality example for their children to the young country star. “I don’t know that I’d be proud to show him those videos,” he said to broadcaster Bobby Bones. “I gotta think about some things a little bit differently.”
As well, adjusting for overnight stays and ensuring that his son is well cared for are issues that he is currently handling, too. “We just got everything figured out. But KT’s worked with me throughout the whole time, so I’ve been able to see him a lot since he was born. So if you walk in my house now, you think a baby lives here,” he tells People.
Given that Nashville and other American cities in Wallen’s typical touring schedule are likely to be hosting live performance events in the coming months, his ability to co-parent in-person will be strained. His parents Tommy and Lesli, have traveled from their home in Knoxville, Tennessee, to help care for their new grandson. Wallen also feels that he’ll likely have to hire a nanny for assistance, too though he still wants “to be as much a part of [his son’s] life as he can.” “I’m still learning,” Wallen adds. “I would definitely not consider myself an expert by any means.”
Ultimately, Wallen notes that his child, who he and Smith refer to as “Indie,” is “happy,” “healthy,” and “incredible.” “[I’ve] honestly have been a little scared,” he continued. “But it’s the coolest damn feeling, and I’m ready for whatever God has planned for me and my little guy.”