Morgan Wallen Shares How the Birth of His Son Has Helped Him Grow Over the Past Year (Exclusive)

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Morgan Wallen is giving props to his son. ET's Cassie DiLaura spoke to the country music singer at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas Sunday night, where he shared how his son has helped his "grow" over the past year.

"I think mostly I can attribute it to being a dad," Wallen said of his growth over the last year, which he attributes to one-year-old Indigo, who he shares with KT Smith. "Just seeing that I have another life that I'm responsible for kind of put things into perspective for me, so, I just didn't really have a choice."

The 28-year-old country singer, who came under widespread scrutiny in 2021 after a video emerged of him using a racial slur, is also making his Billboard Music Awards debut Sunday to perform "Wasted on You" and "Don't Thank Jesus."

As far as what he wants fans to take away from his performance, particularly "Don't Think Jesus," Wallen told ET he hopes his story and how he's approached the last couple of years comes across.

"I think that kind of just speaks for my story -- 10 years but especially the past couple. I feel like that song is really a big representation of a lot of things that I've been through and the attitude that I've approached it with," he explained. "So, I hope that comes across."

Wallen, who hit the carpet with his mother, Lesli, said in addition to his fans, he's received support from his friends and family have helped him through the ups and downs of the last year.

"My family, my friends and just a really good team -- know my kid. I've had a lot of really positive things going on behind the scenes that maybe weren't necessarily brought to life, but I've been able to be in a good place because of all that," Wallen shared.

Morgan Wallen and Lesli Wallen
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

He's had some support from the music industry too, with Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Eric Church and even tonight's BBMAs host, Diddy, who said he wanted to "uncancel" the singer.

"Everybody tells you that they're your friends when everything's good, so it's really nice to have people who really mean that," he said before adding of Diddy, "I have never, ever spoke to Diddy, but I would like to tell him thank you tonight, so, that means a lot."   

Though he was barred from last year's show and others as a result of the controversy, Wallen ended up winning in three top country categories, including Top Country Artist, Top Country Male Artist, and Top Country Album for Dangerous: The Double Album.

Wallen apologized for his behavior at the time of the incident, telling ET in a statement, "I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back."

He continued, "There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

During an interview on Good Morning America, Wallen said he had checked into rehab, connected with organization leaders and donated roughly $500,000 from album sales -- which had spiked after the incident. 

Last year, Dick Clark Productions explained that barring Wallen wasn't a permanent move. "It is heartening and encouraging to hear that Morgan is taking steps in his anti-racist journey and starting to do some meaningful work," the company's statement read. "We plan to evaluate his progress and will consider his participation in future shows."

In a statement to BillboardMRC shared why they invited Wallen to perform at this year's ceremony.

"We oppose discrimination, harassment, or racism of any kind," the statement read. "We believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect. After a thorough review and robust discussions internally and with the artist’s team, in which we found a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to meaningful work and outreach, we extended an invitation to participate in this year’s show."

He returned to the awards show circuit in March at the Academy of Country Music Awards, where he won Album of the Year

The Billboard Music Awards air Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC. The show will be streamed live on Peacock.


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