When Darius Rucker first met his future wife, Beth Leonard, he was still flying high with Hootie & the Blowfish, and she was working at VH1. However, for the musician, it was essentially love at first sight.

"I don’t know what it was about her," the country star once said. “I mean, it was everything about her."

Seeing as how the two have been married since 2000, it's clear the connection they've forged is a solid one, even if Leonard apparently needed some convincing that Rucker was the one.

"I had been trying to get her to go out with me, and she wouldn't," Rucker once recalled to The Boot. "I was in New York [with Hootie & the Blowfish], and it was one of those rare nights off. I didn’t have anything to do — we always had something to do when we were in New York! We had the night off, and I was just in my hotel room. She called me and said, 'Hey, do you want to go see this play?' I was like, 'Sure!'"

Hanging out together at the play only cemented Rucker's intense feelings for her, he added. "She was walking up the stairs [to her apartment], and I said, 'Well, you know that I'm going to marry you, right?' She just laughed," he remembers. "Her roommate or her boyfriend was up there in their apartment, and I yelled, 'To whoever's up there in Beth Leonard's apartment, you can just leave because I just want you to know that I'm going to marry her!'"

Leonard certainly could sense that Rucker wasn't just being over the top; in fact, she once said that she "had the feeling that he was a sincere person" when she met him. However, he will be the first to admit he's not always the easiest person to be around.

"I thank her every day for staying with me and being the strong woman she is, because with Hootie & the Blowfish, I could be gone for three months and then I’d come home for two days and then I’d be gone again for a month, and she put up with all that crap," Rucker says. "You know, her and country music saved my life."

To that end, Rucker doesn't take her — or their marriage — for granted. His 2009 No. 1 hit "Alright" details the low-key pleasures of his life, including Beth: "Cause I've got a roof over my head / The woman I love laying in my bed / And it's alright, alright." And he's not shy about also putting these words into action.

"Marriage is not easy," he tells The Boot. "You have to decide to work. That's what it really comes down to, two people deciding to stay together or not.

"I work hard to let my wife know how much I love her," he adds. "I try to do that every day. Romantic stuff is not something I really remember. I'm sure she could tell you some stuff that I've done that's really cool, but for me, I just want her to be happy. She's a strong woman. It's hard to be married to me, and it was a lot harder when I was younger!"

The Ruckers have two children together, daughter Daniella Rose and son Jack, who are now teenagers. (Rucker's oldest daughter from a previous relationship, Caroline, graduated college earlier in 2018.) And as they close in on nearly 20 years of marriage, their relationship is in a good place.

"Beth’s a strong woman," Rucker has said. "It takes a strong woman to be married to a musician, especially a musician who was drinking and partying as hard as I was, and I think life for us is where we are now. It took a long time for us to get to where we are now, and we say to each other all the time, ‘I love us. I love our family. I love us.’"

Shockingly, after two decades together, Rucker and his wife announced they were splitting up on July 11, 2020.

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