Runaway June guitarist Jennifer Wayne comes from within a famous family. While it's not a musical family, it is still one fans could instantly recognize. As it turns out, she's late Hollywood star John Wayne's granddaughters. Wayne, 40, has easily made a name for herself away from her famous name, beginning her music career as a member of the trio Stealing Angels. She co-founded Runaway June in 2015 and the trio's biggest hit so far is "Buy My Own Drinks" from their 2019 album.
Wayne never met her famous grandfather, who died three years before she was born, but that hasn't stopped people from asking about the True Grit star. She understood her grandfather was an icon at an early age though. "When I was little, I would always ask the other kids, 'What channel is your grandpa on?' because mine was always on AMC and I could just turn it on [and see him]," Wayne told Risen Magazine. "So, I'd always ask what channel their grandpas were on because I didn't know that it was any different."
Wayne's family has also shared plenty of great stories about John Wayne with her. One of her favorites is about how the actor loved mornings and wanted everyone else to join him when the sun rose. "He used to wake my mom up early in the morning and say, 'Get up! You're burnin' daylight!'" Wayne recalled. "My mom also said that there was a rule in the house that if you walked by him, you had to give him a kiss," Wayne later noted. "He was so affectionate and loving with his family. He was such a family man."
Wayne is the daughter of Aissa Wayne and Earl Lawrence Kuhle II. Aissa, 66, is John Wayne's daughter from his marriage to Pilar Pallete, to whom he was married from 1954 until his death in 1979. Like John Wayne's other children, Aissa can be spotted in some of his movies, including McClintock! and The Alamo.
In April, Wayne and her husband, Austin Moody, welcomed their first child together. Their daughter Lilya Maria Moody was born on April 18. Wayne has continued sharing adorable photos of Lilya, including one post in which she reflected on being a first-time mother.
"Still trying to figure out how to do it all and be a good mom... a lot of times I feel like I'm failing... exhaustion is something I'm getting used to," Wayne wrote on June 21. "A lot of times I'll tell Lily, I'm so sorry you got me as a mom! I have no idea what I'm doing! But moments like these make me think maybe she's ok with it."
Wayne began her music career in 2007 with the founding of Stealing Angels, a trio that also included Loretta Lynn's granddaughter Tayla Lynn. A few years after Stealing Angels split, Wayne co-founded Runaway June with Hannah Mulholland and Naomi Cooke. Mulholland and Cooke have both left, replaced by Natalie Stovall and Stevie Woodward. They released their first album, Blue Roses, in 2019 and earned a CMT Music Awards nod for Breakthrough Video of the Year for "Buy My Own Drinks." They served as a supporting act for Carrie Underwood in 2019 and Luke Bryan in 2020. They also released a Christmas album.
Outside her country music career, Wayne and her former Stealing Angels bandmate Caroline Cutbirth took part in The Amazing Race 22 in 2013 and The Amazing Race: All-Stars in 2014. They finished in fourth place in their first season and second in their second.
"The important thing that I took away from the experience is that people all over the world are good," Wayne told Risen Magazine about The Amazing Race. "There are so many good people out there and people genuinely want to help you when you need it. You constantly have to ask people for directions, or water, or for food when you're starving and when people had nothing to give, they would still give you something. That is the coolest thing I got from it."