Lainey Wilson Shares How Dolly, Reba Helped Her Handle Viral TikTok Moment

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Lainey Wilson reflected on some of her most significant challenges and monumental accomplishments in the new special, Lainey Wilson: Bell Bottom Country, which premiered on Wednesday (May 29).

The reigning CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year spoke about everything from her childhood in Baskin, Louisiana, to her decision to move to Music City in pursuit of her lifelong dreams, to her breakout hits and first-ever Grammy Award and more. Throughout her meteoric rise in the music industry — far from an overnight success, she notes, after spending more than a decade building that career in Nashville, Tennessee — Wilson has encountered some obstacles in her path. One of those unexpected hurdles was brushing off comments from TikTokers when her butt went viral.

In that moment, Wilson thought of country legends Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire to guide her.

Wilson told the special’s host, Robin Roberts, that she thought at that time, “‘how would Dolly handle this situation? How would Reba handle this situation? And they’d laugh about it, and they’d move on with it. That’s just — it’s part of it.” The Bell Bottom Country star admitted that she learned not to go down the “rabbit hole” looking at the comments too much, and responded when Roberts asked whether comments about her body, particularly as a woman in the music industry, have been frustrating: “It definitely has been [frustrating]. …but at the end of the day, me gaining a few pounds, me losing a few pounds, it ain’t got nothing to do with my story or my singing or my songwriting. If you got a problem with that, turn off the radio. Because you’re gonna be hearing me on the radio.”

“I’m a tough woman, and I pull myself up by the bootstraps, but it’s not easy. I have my days just like everybody else, where you gotta do whatever you can to crawl out of those dark holes. But that don’t mean it’s not hard.”

Wilson’s manager, Mandelyn Monchick, who was interviewed during the special, noted that after those viral TikTok’s, Wilson and her team dealt with rumors that she’d lost weight using weight loss gummies. Wilson said in a PSA to her fans last year that the ads for weight loss gummies were “entirely fake.” 

“Alright, y’all. By now, I’m sure a lot of y’all have seen some ads about me losing weight, being hospitalized, and that I started taking some of weight loss gummies and blah, blah, blah, it saved my life. Well, surprise. It ain’t true,” Wilson said at the time. “People will do whatever to make a dollar even if it is lies. Because ain’t nobody sent me any gummies. If I have lost weight, it’s because I am working hard and playing hour and a half shows and running around every night of my life. And to be honest, me losing weight or gaining weight ain’t got anything to do with my music. I love y’all. I just don’t want y’all spending your money on something that ain’t real. Do not fall for it.”

Wilson went on to deliver her testimony during a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property field hearing earlier this year. She spoke about AI (Artificial Intelligence), and “how much of a gut punch it is to have your name, your likeness or your voice ripped from you and used in ways that you could never imagine or would never allow.” She said if she’d lost weight that year, it was after playing about 180 shows rather than taking gummies, and she and her team “just could not keep up with” the false advertisements as they popped up. Wilson said in the special that testifying about AI “might’ve been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.”

However, Wilson continues to return to her strong work ethic and passion in the face of hardships. She credits her family with instilling that work ethic in her, including parents Brian Wilson and Michelle Wilson, both of whom appear in interviews in Lainey Wilson: Bell Bottom Country (Brian encouraged his daughter, for example, to return to Yellowstone filming amid his health scare in 2022). Wilson told stories of growing up listening to Tim McGraw, Parton, Lee Ann Womack, Vince Gill and many others. She remembered the first time she performed on stage during a school talent show, the first song she ever wrote when she was 9 years old (“Lucky Me”), her job as a Hannah Montana impersonator and how it taught her to engage with audiences, and everything in between. The “Heart Like A Truck” powerhouse moved to Nashville in 2011, after she had a vivid dream of her grandfather telling her that she was supposed to be there. Now, Wilson looks back on highlight moments like her first headlining arena show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Montville, Connecticut, her performance at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Jefferson County, Colorado, taking the historic stage at the Grand Ole Opry and everything in between.

Lainey Wilson: Bell Bottom Country premieres two days before Wilson is set to open her bar, Bell Bottoms Up, in Downtown Nashville. On that same day, Wilson will also kick off her headlining “Country’s Cool Again Tour,” titled after one of the tracks on her forthcoming album, Whirlwind, arriving on August 23. The ABC News Studios special on Wilson’s life and career — which also includes interviews with “Heart Like A Truck” co-writers Trannie Anderson and Dallas Wilson, producer Jay Joyce, iHeartRadio’s Bobby Bones and more — is available to stream on Hulu.

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