In 2020, country music fans were stunned when musical trio Rascal Flatts announced they were breaking up. The group, known for songs such as "What Hurts the Most" and "My Wish," hadn't indicated they were headed for a split, so the news seemed almost impossible to believe. Previously, the band decided to celebrate their 20th anniversary with a farewell tour, which was ultimately canceled due to the pandemic.
Now, Rascal Flatts frontman Gary LeVox is telling a different story about how the band fell apart. So why did Rascal Flatts break up? Here's everything we know.
Why did Rascal Flatts break up? One band member may have quit.
In a new interview with People Magazine, lead vocalist Gary LeVox reveals that he was "never okay" with how the band ended. Of the band's three members, including Gary, Joe Don Rooney, and Jay DeMarcus, Gary hints that the band began to fracture when one member decided to quit.
"I wasn't happy that Joe Don quit," Gary admitted.
Gary seemingly blames both the pandemic and the departure of bandmate Joe Don for feeling dissatisfied with the way Rascal Flatts ended, saying, "[Joe Don leaving] kind of came out of nowhere. It was like, 'Let me try to wrap my head around this.'"
He added, "And then I certainly wasn't okay with the pandemic, which canceled everything. I hate the way that it ended. I hate that we didn't get to do this farewell tour. I can't stand the fact that it just feels there's no closure with something that we've been so blessed with. That will always be in my heart."
Despite the rift between the three bandmates, all members of Rascal Flatts appeared at the ACM Honors together in August 2021. Since their split, all three band members have pursued solo careers. Recently, Jay DeMarcus released the song "Music Man" in honor of his late father. Gary and Joe Don have also continued to pursue solo music, with Gary leaning into a more Christian rock lens for his next chapter.
Ex-Rascal Flatts member Joe Don Rooney was arrested for a DUI in September 2021.
It sounds like it's been a difficult year for guitarist Joe Don, who not only separated from Rascal Flatts but was also arrested for a DUI following a car accident in Nashville. Joe Don was booked after crashing his car into a tree around 4 a.m.
When asked if he had spoken to his bandmate after the accident, Gary revealed to People, "I have not talked to him. And I was heartbroken too. But you know what? I think God gets your attention in different ways. I just wish him the best and I hope he gets everything that he needs to get well and take care of whatever issues he's got going on. There's power in prayer."
Fans are hoping that the members of Rascal Flatts can eventually reconcile after such a difficult time. Perhaps to make up for their canceled farewell tour, fans will see a reunion tour?