Allison DeMarcus and her husband Jay DeMarcus (born Stanley Wayne DeMarcus Jr.) are the stars of a new Netflix reality show called DeMarcus Family Rules, which follows their colorful family as they navigate parenting and marriage in between Jay’s tours with superstar country trio Rascal Flatts. Episodes include an impromptu family camping trip, a rowdy Thanksgiving, and Allison planning her own beauty pageant.
Here’s what you need to know about Allison, Jay, and their family.
1. Allison Was Born Allison Leigh Alderson
Jay’s wife is Allison Leigh Alderson of Jackson, Tennessee. Her mother Mary Jane is featured on DeMarcus Family Rules along with her older sister, Amy.
“My mom is a firecracker, she’s little but she’s loud,” says Allison of her mother.
It sounds like Amy and Allison are close, though they do have a friendly rivalry. As Amy quips in the DeMarcus Family Rules premiere, “I think most people are surprised to find out that we’re related. Allison won the genetic lottery, she’s like 5’10 and never gains any weight.”
But Amy and Jay actually have a great relationship — they love to do stuff together, including getting manicures and pedicures together, watching football, and “commiserating about Allison.”
2. She’s a Triple Crown Pageant Winner
Allison has held three major beauty pageant titles: Miss Tennessee Teen USA in 1994, Miss Tennessee in 1999, and Miss Tennessee USA 2002. She went on to compete in the Miss Teen USA pageant where she finished in the top 6, and the Miss America and Miss USA pageants, though in those pageants she did not advance out of the general pool.
However, at the 2000 Miss America pageant, she was awarded the Waterford Scholarship for Business Marketing & Management. In an interview with the Memphis Flyer, Allison said that she grew up going to the Miss Tennessee pageant.
“I grew up going to the pageant with my mom,” said Allison. “As a little girl I knew I wanted to enter a pageant one day, but I wanted to do it at a time when it wouldn’t conflict with my education … My mom was kind of surprised when I told her I wanted to do it. I’d never had an interest like that before. I was always a basketball player.”
Sister Amy was also a pageant queen. She was Miss District of Columbia USA in 1999. She is also married to a country artist, James Otto.
Now, Allison and her mother direct the Miss Tennessee Volunteer pageant, which is the subject of the season one finale of DeMarcus Family Rules. Allison’s goal is to take the pageant national as the Miss Volunteer America pageant. The first national competition is scheduled for March 2021.
3. Allison Was Engaged When She Met Jay
Jay and Allison met when she appeared in the music video for Rascal Flatts’ song “These Days” in 2002. The song is about a man who runs across an ex-girlfriend and they get caught up on their lives. He ends up confessing to her that he spends most of his time thinking about her as the one that got away.
When Jay first met Allison, he was disappointed to learn that she was engaged, he wrote in his 2019 memoir “Shotgun Angels: My Story of Broken Roads and Unshakeable Hope” (via People). He called her after the video shoot, but she never called him back. Then a few weeks later, they ran into each other and Allison agreed to have lunch with him if he would leave her alone.
“‘I’ll go to lunch with you, but that’s it,’” she told him, according to the book, “’And then you have to leave me alone. I’m getting married in four months, and, well, you just have to leave me alone.’”
That lunch date lasted all day, with Allison left struggling about what to do. She asked Jay for some space to sort things out and a week later, she had called off her wedding and they went to dinner together. They’ve been together ever since.
They were married in May 2004, with DeMarcus’ bandmates Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney serving as groomsmen and fellow country singers Cledus T. Judd and Vince Gill performing at the wedding, according to The Boot.
4. They Have Two Children
The DeMarcuses welcomed daughter Madeline Leigh in December 2010 and son Dylan Jay in July 2012. According to the show, Madeline is shy and loves to read. Dylan is rambunctious.
“We’ve actually started putting handcuffs on him just so he can get a feel for ’em,” quips Jay on the show.
Allison actually went into labor with Dylan while Rascal Flatts was touring, so Jay had to hop on a plane to fly back to Nashville when he got word the birth was imminent. He then flew back to Detroit for the band’s gig that night, taking the stage in his hospital scrubs.
5. Jay Gave a Baby Girl Up for Adoption
In his memoir, Jay revealed that in his early 20s, he and his then-girlfriend Maggie got pregnant and decided to give the baby up for adoption.
“[Maggie and I] discussed many options, including getting married and raising the child ourselves, but we quickly determined we’d be making that decision for the wrong reason … There was no interest in the two of us somehow working things out so we might raise our child together,” DeMarcus wrote in the book. “Abortion was never an option, so we began to discuss adoption.”
DeMarcus never got to meet the baby, which he wrote was a “hard pill to swallow.” He said he thinks about her all the time — she would be in her 20s now — and wonders if she knows who he is.
“My heart finds satisfaction in knowing that she ended up with a wonderful family, but I’ve had to live with this my entire life,” he wrote. “The adoptive family was supposed to give her a letter when she turned 14, explaining that I loved her, did not abandon her, and have tried several ways to make it possible to be in her life.”
DeMarcus Family Rules is out now on Netflix.
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