Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins Want to Encourage Daughter Willa Gray to 'Embrace' Her Culture

Thomas Rhett and wife Lauren Akins adopted their oldest child, daughter Willa Gray, from Uganda in 2017, after Akins met her on a mission trip. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Rhett shared that he and his wife are committed to encouraging their daughter to embrace her culture and who she is, and that it's "something that we talk about really openly."

"I think me and Lauren's main thing we want to get across is how proud we are and that we want her to grow up proud of herself and of her family... and to embrace who you are and to embrace your uniqueness and embrace your culture as well," Rhett said, noticing that his 4-year-old has noticed that her family "looks a lot different" than others. "That's something we want to educate her on as long as she's still in our household and even beyond that," Rhett added.

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The 30-year-old also gushed about his daughter, calling her "one of the smartest that I've ever met." "She is so smart," he said. "Even when she comes from school ... the main thing [her teachers are] saying is how intuitive she is and how much she recognizes at a young age."

Along with Willa Gray, Rhett and Akins share daughters Ada James, 3, and Lennon Love, 7 months. "Willa Gray acts like such a mom now," Rhett shared. "Ada James is a little young to kind of take on that role, but Willa... I mean, she'll feed her. She'll comfort her. She'll hold her in her lap. She can hold her standing up now. So, it's been really cool to just watch them become amazing big sisters to Lennon."

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Rhett noted that "it's hard to watch the news" amid police brutality and racial injustice, but he and his wife are doing their best to teach their girls to be kind.

"We just try to preach to our kids to shine your light everywhere you go and realize that the world is cruel, but that doesn't mean that you have to be," he said. "We're still dealing with it just like everybody else and we're still trying to ask the right questions and educate ourselves as well."


Akins has said that she wants five kids, and the couple told ET last month that they are considering adopting again and having one more biological child. "Adoption is very important to us and our family and there's a few people in our family who were also adopted, so it weighs pretty heavy on our hearts so we would love to do that again," the "Be A Light" singer said.

He also joked that his wife "might need a year just to come up for air" before they add to their family. "I feel like at this point I perfected the girl dad role, so if we had another girl I would be thrilled. I would like a boy at some point, for sure," Rhett said. "Maybe in a couple years we'll start trying again, because my wife does want five kids. So, we'll see what happens."