Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney addresses rumors he’s transitioning into a woman


Life is a highway for him. 

On Wednesday, Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney, 48, took to social media to clarify rumors that he’s transitioning to be a woman. 

“First off, I am alive! There have been so many rumors and opinions thrown around about me — but I am finally healthy and ready for the world,” the country musician posted on X

“And NO, I’m not transitioning to be a woman. That thought has never entered my mind. Nothing against the trans community whatsoever but I needed to set the record straight.”

Together with Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus, Rooney was part of Rascal Flatts from 1999 to 2021. In 2020, the band appeared on “CBS This Morning” to announce its 20th-anniversary farewell tour. But, due to the pandemic, that tour never happened.

Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney (left), Jay DeMarcus and Gary LeVox. Getty Images for CMT

“I’ve never been OK with the way that it ended,” LeVox, 51, told People. “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.”

Rooney also addressed his 2021 drunken driving accident, in his lengthy post. 

“My life and career took a major detour at 4a in the early morning hours of Sep 9, 2021 when I ran square into a tree and about killed myself,” he said.

“I was completely out of control,” Rooney said about his drinking. Getty Images for Spotify
Rooney with his then-wife, Tiffany Fallon, in 2018. FilmMagic

“I was drunk and I was so far gone with my life – I was completely out of control and finished with trying to fight the fears, depression and anxieties that had spun me out in a way I’ve never experienced before,” he confessed. 

“My drinking had been an issue for many years…The pressures of my career and the many mistakes I made in regards to my home life, coupled with a lot of pain and trauma from my childhood and early on in my adult life, had become too much to bear.”

The country singer was married to former Miss Georgia USA Tiffany Fallon from 2004 until they split in 2023. They have a son, Jagger, 14, and daughters Raquel, 12, and Devon, 8.

Rooney said that due to his drinking, “I was not a good father, I was not a good husband.” Rick Diamond

He went on to cite his drinking problem as a reason that, “I was not a good father – I was not a good husband – and I was not a good band mate to my business partners.”

He said he probably wouldn’t have “Taken responsibility for any of this” if his drunken driving car wreck hadn’t happened.

He added: “And btw, going to jail sucks!”

After Rooney’s 2021 crash, he was arrested and found guilty of driving under the influence. He was sentenced to two days in jail – with the remaining 11 months and 27 days of his sentence suspended. 

Rooney and DeMarcus Getty Images for ACM

“I have not talked to him,” his former band mate LeVox said, shortly after Rooney’s arrest. “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.”

In his lengthy social media note, Rooney expressed gratitude that nobody else was involved in the crash. “I didn’t injure or kill anyone.I could literally be in a Federal Prison for life right now. That is the reality of what my life had become.”

He also described how the incident led him to seek treatment for alcoholism in a facility in Utah for four months.

Rooney and DeMarcus Getty Images for ACM
Rooney said that going to jail “sucks!” Getty Images

“When I first got there, I didn’t want to stay. I was ashamed of myself. I was so full of fear and guilt, that it took me all of the those 4 months to really start understanding treatment and the AA way and how to best utilize these new tools that I downloaded from the amazing clinicians, counselors and other patients there. My life has been changed forever – and I’m grateful for the change.”

Rooney claims he’s now been sober for “almost 28 months.” 

He finished his note saying, “I never believed I could actually live my life without drinking. It had become such a huge part of my daily and nightly routine. I had tried to stop on my own in the past but the powerful nature of alcohol always found its way back into my life…With the help of my family and so many other professional clinical advisors and now numerous new sober forever friends, I’ve been able to get the train back on the tracks and live without the burden of alcohol.”

“Now, I need to protect my family and protect my sobriety,” he added in conclusion. “I have new healthy boundaries for the first time in my life. Only positive, loving, caring & understanding people may enter. It’s an absolute blessing in ways I can barely put into proper words.”

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