Everything Hasn't Always Been "Sweet" With Sugarland — Why Did They Break Up?

“We are taking a few months just to chill and relax and sleep in our own beds and contemplate how we want to approach what's next.”

Jamie Lerner - Author

Apr. 9 2024, Published 2:13 p.m. ET

Sugarland performs at the 2019 ATLive Concert
Source: Getty Images

When Sugarland announced their hiatus in 2012, country fans around the world were devastated. The band first came together in 2002 with members Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush, and Kristen Hall, although Kristen left in 2006. After that, Sugarland’s fame and success continued on an upward trajectory as a country duo, but in 2012, they “broke up.”

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Since then, Sugarland has appeared together sporadically, but fans haven’t forgotten their time off from making music. Now that they’ve announced a reunion tour called Take Me Home with fellow country band Little Big Town after their iconic 2024 CMT Awards performance, fans want to know why they broke up all those years ago.

Sugarland poses at the 2024 CMT Music Awards
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Sugarland break up in 2012? They went on a temporary hiatus.

In 2012, a lot changed for both Jennifer and Kristian. Kristian was going through a divorce while Jennifer was becoming a new mother. In November 2011, Jennifer told Taste of Country, “We are taking a few months just to chill and relax and sleep in our own beds and contemplate how we want to approach what's next.”

The announcement came on the heels of a two-year tour, but they weren’t done just yet. They started their fourth headlining tour in April 2012 and by June, they announced that Jennifer was pregnant and due in November of the same year, just two months after the end of the tour. At that point, Sugarland went on hiatus while Kristian started working on his solo career.

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Sugarland at the 2012 CMA Awards when Jennifer was pregnant
Source: Getty Images

Over the years, both Kristian and Jennifer worked on different solo endeavors. Jennifer released several solo albums from 2013 to 2021 while Kristian released his own solo album in 2015. He rose as a songwriter and producer in the country music industry, while Jennifer also dabbled in acting.

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But according to both Jennifer and Kristian, they never officially broke up. “I used to love VH1 Behind the Music, but they made everything a soap opera, you know what I’m saying?” Jennifer told Country Living in 2019. “But that’s really not the case. I was ready for something different and ready to make brave new steps in my life and my career and so I did. It’s pretty simple.”

Sugarland performs at the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Source: Getty Images
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Sugarland officially got back together in 2018 when they started writing together again. Two singles turned into an album over the course of a few months, which turned into a reunion tour. Since then, they’ve also appeared on American Idol, several music awards ceremonies, and more. And now in 2024, Sugarland is ready to co-headline their sixth major tour.

Original Sugarland member Kristen Hall left voluntarily, but there was still drama.

According to all three original Sugarland members, Kristen left of her own accord. In January 2006, Sugarland released a statement announcing Kristen’s exit shortly after they appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno sans Kristen. "Kristen has decided that she wants to stay home and write songs, and we support her in that decision," the statement said.

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Sugarland (Kristen Hall, Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush) at the 2005 CMA Awards
Source: Getty Images

However, in July 2008, Kristen sued Jennifer and Kristian for her share of the band’s profits. Kristen claimed she came up with the band’s name and allowed the remaining members to have “equal co-ownership of the trademark.” This led to her lawsuit for $14 million, although Jennifer and Kristian claimed they never made any sort of profit-sharing agreement upon Kristen’s exit. The case was eventually settled out of court in November 2010.

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