Lainey Wilson sings about heartbreak in her music, but in real life, she’s found lasting love with Devlin “Duck” Hodges.
The country singer introduced her fans to Hodges while attending the 2023 ACM Awards, but the duo’s romance actually began two years prior. Wilson confirmed their timeline in June 2023, teasing that she almost blew her own cover in April of that year while giving a nod to her boyfriend on stage.
“What’s funny is literally a couple weeks before the [awards] show, we had played out in Pittsburgh and me and my band, we all wore Duck Hodges jerseys,” Wilson said on The Bobby Bones Show. “And so that kind of started a few rumors.”
Hodges was a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and a few other NFL teams before he retired in 2022. His nickname “Duck” dates back to his college football days and has nothing to do with the fact that he is also a duck hunter.
“I’ll tell you, he is good as gold,” Wilson said of Hodges in June 2023. “Supports me, would never come in between anything that I’m trying to do. He’s like, ‘Go get it, girl.’ And I made him wait for a while. I mean … it’s been a little over two years now.”
Scroll down to see Wilson and Hodges’ romance from the beginning:
The twosome began dating sometime in 2021, which Wilson confirmed two years later.
Wilson first commented on Hodges’ Instagram page when he posted a photo of himself sitting on a fence in the country. “I’m your huckleberry,” Hodges captioned the snap, which prompted Wilson to reply, “What you on the fence about?”
Wilson sparked romance speculation with Hodges when she wore his Steelers jersey at her Pittsburgh show. “Is Lainey Wilson wearing a @DevlinHodges10 at the concert tonight. Homeboy is gonna be in heaven when he finds out,” one fan wrote via X. Hodges saw the message and responded, “Did she really?!?! Y’all are lying !!!! @laineywilson holla at me !!! .”
The singer commented on the post as well, writing, “This is me hollerin .” Hodges replied, “OH.MY.GOD hello.” The former NFL player later posted pictures from the Pittsburgh concert, revealing he was there in person.
Earlier that month, Hodges hinted at their relationship by sharing a photo from what appeared to be Wilson’s Stagecoach Festival performance in California. He wore a Wilson T-shirt, yellow bandana, camouflage jacket and cowboy hat. Hodges gushed about how “thankful” he was “for the friendships and memories” while celebrating his birthday via Instagram.
Just weeks after flirting via X, the couple made their red carpet debut at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards.
“He’s been around for a while,” Wilson said of Hodges during an appearance on The Bobby Bones Show. “I just decided to make him wait for two and a half years.” She told host Bobby Bones that the retired athlete is a “good dude.”
Wilson revealed that Hodges is also very close with her inner circle. “It’s so great. I mean, he’s buddies with all my buddies,” she shared. “He’ll FaceTime me and he’ll be with Hardy or he’ll be with Cole Swindell and all of them. I’m like, ‘Can you please stop taking my friends?’”
Hodges joined Wilson and her family at the 2023 Country Music Association Awards in Nashville. After Wilson won five awards, including Entertainer of the Year, her boyfriend sang her praises on social media.
“She already heard what I’m fixing to say, but I just want y’all to hear it once. This girl is the most hard-working person I know,” Hodges wrote via Instagram, sharing photos of the pair getting cozy at the awards show. “Her work ethic and her desire to be the best person she can be is contagious. I’m so happy that all the hard work continues to pay off. Congrats on all the awards last night and especially the BIGGEST AWARD OF THE NIGHT! ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR!”
He added: “I’m so glad she can be some of y’all’s favorite artist, sing your favorite song. Or be your daughters favorite role model. I’m just thankful to call her my best friend. Love ya LW .”
Wilson gave fans a look into her life on the road in an episode of CMT’s “On the Road.” Within the first few minutes, Hodges popped up on screen and gave Wilson a kiss before she took the stage for a show in Las Vegas. The episode was filmed in December 2023.