Lainey Wilson Opens Up About Body Image, ‘Yellowstone’ And More In New Special


“I’m here to make a splash.”

Like any good country song, Lainey Wilson is wearing her heart on her sleeve.

The Baskin, Louisiana, native and her meteoric rise to fame is the subject of a new ABC News Studios special, “Lainey Wilson: Bell Bottom Country,” streaming now on Hulu.

The country music artist who was once told she’s “too country for country” has been sweeping the awards — including her first Grammy win in 2023 as well as entertainer of the year wins at both the CMA Awards and ACM Awards.

“I am a Grammy Award winner. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to saying that one out loud,” Wilson, who won best country album for “Bell Bottom Country” back in February, said in the special. “It means a lot. It means a whole lot.”

Wilson also opened up about her visit to D.C. earlier this year to testify before Congress about the dangers of how artificial intelligence could be misused in the music industry.

“I’m very proud to have gone there,” she said of the experience. “I plan on doing whatever else I need to do to make sure that things actually get done about it.”

Wilson, along with her family, sat down with “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts for the special to discuss the ups and downs she has experienced as one of the brightest stars in country music the past few years.

During their chat, the two discuss — among other things — Wilson’s body image journey, filming the hit show “Yellowstone” while her father was facing health struggles and coming “full circle” to the Grand Ole Opry.

Wilson on her body image journey

Though Wilson calls herself “a tough woman” who can “pull myself up by the bootstraps,” she admits sometimes “it’s not easy.”

“I have my days, just like everybody else, where you got to do whatever you can to crawl out of those dark holes,” she said.

One of those tough days came back in November of 2022 when Wilson said she was scrolling on TikTok and noticed “a few videos of my butt that had gone viral.” Weeks went by and she only saw the online attention increase.

“I was like, ‘Golly, it’s still there.’ It wasn’t just like a small little viral moment,” she recalled. “It was a big — no pun intended — moment.”

Reflecting on how she brushed it off and found gratitude in people discovering her and her music no matter the means, Wilson told Roberts, “First of all, I’m like, ‘How’d y’all just notice that I got a big ol’ butt? It’s been back there the whole time.'”

The “Things a Man Oughta Know” singer said she reflected on how the greats of country music, women like Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, would handle the situation.

“They’d laugh about it and they’d move on with it. That’s just part of it,” she noted. “And, of course, don’t go down the rabbit hole of looking at comments … I’ve learned my lesson with that.”

Wilson said it “definitely has been” frustrating to have her body scrutinized, saying, “I’m not going to sit here and say that it has not just made me feel weird.”

“But at the end of the day, me gaining a few pounds or me losing a few pounds, it ain’t got nothing to do with my story or me singing or my songwriting,” she added. “If you got a problem with that, turn off the radio ’cause you’re gonna be hearing me on the radio.”

Wilson on filming ‘Yellowstone’ amid her dad’s health battle

Part of Wilson’s star rising in the music world was having a few of her songs featured on the hit series “Yellowstone.”

“I think people knew some of the songs on the record. I think they knew my name. I think they knew what my voice kind of sounded like when it came on the radio,” she said. “But they didn’t know me. Appearing on ‘Yellowstone’ put a face to a name.”


Years later, series creator Taylor Sheridan called wanting Wilson to join the show. Come season 5, she was playing Abby, a country singer who becomes a romantic interest for Ian Bohen’s character Ryan.

Wilson, who admittedly had “never acted a day in my life,” said having the support of Sheridan and having someone of his pedigree see something in her become “one of the most important things for my self-esteem.”

But just as this new door opened for Wilson, she faced a family emergency.

“When Lainey was shooting up to the top, we were having some major lows in our life,” her mother, Michelle Wilson, said. “My husband was diagnosed with mucormycosis, which most people don’t live through.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mucormycosis is a rare but serious fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes that mainly affects people with weakened immune systems and most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs but can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn or another type of skin injury.

With this happening, Wilson said she didn’t feel she could leave her dad’s side — but he had something to say about that.

“I said, ‘If I’m supposed to be here, I’ll be here. If I’m not, you come to my funeral,'” Wilson’s dad, Brian, recalled telling her at the time. “I mean, it’s hard to tell somebody to do that, but to me it was the right thing to do.”

So Wilson said she “dried my tears and I hopped on a plane” to film “Yellowstone” in Montana.

“I would do a line and I would go over to the corner and I’d cry, and then I’d come back and I’d do a line,” she recalled of the experience.

“Of course my job is very, very important, but I still am a daughter and I think it was maybe life’s way of keeping me grounded and reminding me what is most important,” she added

Wilson on making it to the Opry

Wilson made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry, a place she said “is where my dream got sparked,” on Valentine’s Day 2020.

“When I was 9 years old, I came to the Opry. Where I was sitting, I was looking at the stage, and I knew in that moment that I was supposed to be doing this,” she said. “And so, it’s a full circle for me. It’s a place that makes me feel at home.”

The “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” singer said making it to this point in her career has felt “like the stars have had to align over and over again — and then over again.”

Wilson said she hopes her career can inspire young people “to see that if I put in the work and I treat people right, then who knows what can happen.”

“I try to make sure that I recognize what’s happening, but now it’s time to see what’s next,” she said. “I was not given this gift or this opportunity to just cross one thing off the list. I’m here to make a splash, and we’re gonna keep doing it.”

Since the filming of the special, Wilson has been invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry and will be inducted on June 7.

Katie Conway, Danielle Genet, Freda Kahen-Kashi and Katerina Rosen contributed to this report.