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Jelly Roll’s Daughter “Saved” His Life And “She Doesn’t Even Know It”

Jelly roll daughter

Jelly Roll is a Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling country artist today, but he believes he would be in prison—or worse—if it weren’t for his daughter, Bailee Ann.

The 39-year-old, whose real name is Jason DeFord, has never shied away from sharing details about his troubled youth. Jason spent the majority of his formative years in jail, with his first arrest at 14. The crimes gradually became more serious. And at 16, he faced a possible 20-year sentence for aggravated robbery.

“I never want to overlook the fact that it was a heinous crime,” he told Billboard in 2023. “This is a grown man looking back at a 16-year-old kid that made the worst decision that he could have made in life and people could have got hurt. And, by the grace of God, thankfully, nobody did.”

Fortunately, a judge only sentenced Jelly Roll to just over a year behind bars and seven years of probation. But despite the close call, he continued to go in and out of jail. At 18, he had his first arrest as an adult. At 23, he was in jail for drug dealing when he learned that he had become a father, which was a defining moment that began his path to stardom.

“I’ve never had nothing in life that urged me in the moment to know that I had to do something different,” he told the publication. “I have to figure this out right now.”

Jelly Roll Lived An “Exremely Selfish Life” Until He Became A Father

Shortly after, Jelly Roll moved from the violent offenders’ unit to the education unit where he started working towards his GED. He passed the test on his first try and was finally released in time to meet Bailee Ann on her second birthday.

In his documentary, Jelly Roll: Save Me, Jason admitted that had it not been for Bailee Ann, he probably wouldn’t be a musician and would “be dead for sure, or in prison doing life.”

“My daughter saved my life,” he said, “and she doesn’t even know it.”

“On more than one occasion, my daughter was a divine intervention in my life,” he continued. “I think I lived an extremely selfish life until that moment. I think it was the first time in my whole life that I thought about putting somebody in front of me. In that moment, I made a promise with her that I had to be there for her. It’s almost like something clicked right then.”

Today, the singer has custody of his daughter. She lives with him and his wife, Bunnie, and his son, Noah, in Nashville, TN.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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