American Idol winner Laine Hardy left his record label, Disney Music Group last week, more than six months after his arrest. Hardy, 22, was arrested in April for allegedly recording his ex-girlfriend, a student at Louisiana State University. The country singer won Idol Season 17 after auditioning during Season 16.
"I was just 17 years old when I first tried out for American Idol, and at the time, I couldn't have ever imagined where I was headed," Hardy wrote in a statement he published on social media on Oct. 20. "Since then, I've been able to tour across America, play for our troops in Asia, and make new fans in Europe. I had to grow up quickly and I am still learning more about myself every day."
Hardy then confirmed he was leaving Disney Music Group and 19 Entertainment, the company that produces American Idol. "The teams at 19 Entertainment and Disney Music Group have given me so much support and guidance and I will forever be grateful," Hardy wrote. "And now it's time for me to take my career in a new direction and I am figuring that out. Stay tuned for what's coming next. Love y'all."
The Baton Rouge native auditioned for Idol in Season 16. He then appeared on Season 17 to accompany his friend Ashton Gill during Gill's audition, but judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie encouraged him to audition again. He surprisingly won the season, and Alejandro Aranda finished in second. Laine released his first album, Here's to Anyone, in September 2021. His singles "Flame" and "Memorize You" charted on the U.S. Digital Songs chart.
In April, Hardy was arrested by the LSU Police Department for allegedly recording his ex-girlfriend. According to the arrest warrant, the woman and her roommate found a recording device Hardy left on a futon. Hardy allegedly confessed to bugging the room, but falsely claimed he destroyed the device. After reports of his arrest, he published a now-deleted statement on his Facebook page, telling fans he was fully cooperating with authorities.
"I understand that my career has thrust me into the public spotlight, and I embrace that wholeheartedly as my entire world belongs to my music and my fans. However, due to the sensitive nature of this allegation, I humbly ask for privacy at this time," Hardy wrote at the time. "I have the utmost respect for the law and will assist in their investigation as needed moving forward."