After everything Zac and Shelly Brown have been through together, it’s hard to imagine that anything could tear them apart. Still, in October 2018, they announced that they were separating after 12 years of marriage. From drugs to near-arrests and more, here are some of the biggest hurdles Zac and his estranged wife went through together.

His Rise To Fame

Zac met Shelly when he was still on the come-up. His group self-released their first album in 2005, and their first album with Atlantic Records came out in 2008. Shelly was there every step of the way, as she married Zac in 2006. At the time, she has just graduated from college.

“We ended up New Year’s Eve playing a show,” he said in a 2015 interview. “My date had stood me up and I remember walking back to my friends with like two minutes before midnight and thinking, ‘I’m not gonna have anybody to kiss on New Year’s.’ And there she was, standing right there and I remember kissing her and then that was game over.” Shelly went on to have her own successful jewelry company, and they always had each other to lean on and keep them humble.

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Starting A Camp Together

The pair teamed up to create Camp Southern Ground, and they actually talked about it when they first met. “A friend of his introduced us. I was really young – I had just finished college,” she recalled in an interview with the Grand Ole Opry’s “Better Half”. “On our first date, [Zac] told me he wanted to create a camp for kids … I can’t ever tell this story without crying … I’m going to cry.” She reminisced about meeting an autistic camper who changed her life. “He had never been invited to a birthday party or anything like that, and now he had all these friends and talked about that,” she explained. “That was, like, amazing!”

The Infamous “Drug Bust”

The couple has been through some tough times too. In 2016, four people were arrested at a hotel party Zac attended. Luckily, he was spared, and promised that he did not take part in the cocaine that was found there.

“I attended a private gathering at a Miami-area hotel and had only been there for a short time when police officers arrived and arrested two people in the room who had just showed up a few minutes before,” he said on Facebook. “I did not know these people and had no idea that there were drugs in their possession. I cooperated fully with the authorities and am not part of any ongoing police investigation. Everyone is responsible for their actions, and I regret using poor judgment and putting myself in that position.”

Zac Brown, Shelly Brown
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The Gaggle Of Kids

Zac and Shelly have a big family, including son Alexander, 5, and daughters Joni, 8, Georgia, 8, Lucy, 11, and Justice, 12. We’re sure they’ll continue to be amazing parents to their beautiful kids, despite where their relationship stands.

The Separation

On October 5, country music fans were crushed to learn that Zac and Shelly were separating. “We feel blessed to be on such an incredible journey in life and sometimes the journey begins to lead in different directions,” they said in a statement. “It is with deep love and respect that we announce we are separating as a couple.”

“We have led a whirlwind life together growing into a beautiful family with five amazing children and while life will be rearranging a bit, our love and commitment to our family will always be there,” they said. “This was a difficult decision, but we’ve done plenty of tough things together and this is our next venture — love, mutual respect, and care for each other are what we are moving forward with.

“Family comes in all different forms,” they explained. “We would like to ask that rather than commenting or spending any energy towards this, that you take this moment to send love to your family, in honor of ours.”