The country music singer doesn't pass up the chance to celebrate his wife
Cody "CoJo" Johnson and wife Brandi Johnson’s relationship is a country love song come true.
The country music superstar — who was previously a bull rider — first crossed paths with his wife when they were teenagers, but didn’t start dating until years later. Today, Cody and Brandi have been together for more than a decade with two children, daughters Clara Mae and Cori.
During a 2023 interview with Cowboys & Indians magazine, the CMA Awards winner credited his success to his wife. In favor of his music career, Brandi left college so she could work two jobs to help pay the bills. The "Me and My Kind" crooner revealed that had it not been for her selflessness and support, he may not have been able to financially take the leap to pursue his singing career full-time.
"I pretty much owe everything I have to her,” Cody said. “I pray daily, ‘Thank you for this woman.' ... She had all the faith in me."
Aside from red-carpet appearances, Brandi mostly stays out of the spotlight, and while the pair rarely talk about their relationship publicly, she supports him behind the scenes, even inspiring his music.
"When I met her I was a pretty crazy young guy and she’s helped me grow. She’s helped me become a man that I’m proud to be," he told New Country 96.3 in 2022.
So, who is Cody Johnson's wife? Here's everything to know about Brandi Johnson and her relationship with the country music singer.
She and Cody didn't date right away
Brandi was just 14 when she first saw Cody at a Future Farmers of America event. The “Dear Rodeo” singer told Cowboys & Indians that he had been in a bull riding accident, leaving him in a leg cast and crutches. Still, his injury didn’t get in the way of his performance or from catching the attention of his future wife at the age of 17.
The pair didn’t officially strike up a relationship until four years later when Cody saw Brandi on the dance floor at Shenanigans, a strip mall bar in Huntsville, Texas, where he often performed. Before the night was over, Cody got her number — and a month later, they moved in together.
Cody proposed to Brandi after one year of dating, and the couple married the following year.
She is a mom of two
There are a lot of perks that come with being a big-time country music star — but for Cody, the cherry on top is being able to bring Brandi and their two daughters on the road with him. In 2015, the couple welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Clara Mae. She got promoted to big sister in 2017, with the addition of their second daughter, Cori.
As a family of four with two young kids, tour bus living is a lot like a “big million dollar daycare center,” Cody told PEOPLE Now in 2018.
“We’re very fortunate — my wife and my two girls get to come with me a lot on the bus. We got our own bus just for that,” he said. “When you’re gonna go on the lead singer’s bus, you think you’re gonna see a lot of things, not toys and diapers everywhere, but that’s generally what it looks like.”
Clara Mae and Cori have gotten into the habit of putting on their own performances, too. “[They] get their microphones and play their little guitars and scream at the top of their lungs, ‘Daddy, I’m like you,’ ” Cody added.
In honor of the 2022 holiday season, the family released a YouTube video of them singing "Silent Night" together, recorded the year before.
She and Cody keep their family down to earth
During a 2022 interview with PEOPLE, Cody shared that he and Brandi feel it's important for their daughters to understand and appreciate what it means to work hard at what they’re passionate about.
"We don't spoil our kids to where they can have whatever they want," Cody said. "If you want something, you're gonna work for it. Your mom's not your maid. You're gonna clean your stuff up."
He continued, "I teach them there's character in hard work. This is not just, 'You're gonna watch me on TV tonight and it looks real glamorous.' It's a lot of miles, a lot of work."
The same rules apply to Cody when he's tending to their family ranch near Huntsville, Texas. "I'm working my horses, I'm working my cows," the artist continued. "I'm putting out hay, I'm putting out feed. So they still see Dad's a rancher, and he's got this cool other job, too."
Cody also makes a point to share his interests and hobbies with his two girls. The singer is an avid hunter and often invites his kids to tag along.
"You'd be amazed at the conversations that we have," he said. "It’s really not about the hunting. We just tune the world out. And for me, I need that time to turn the volume down a little bit, too."
She and Cody grew closer through the Dear Rodeo documentary
Cody’s documentary Dear Rodeo: The Cody Johnson Story changed the trajectory of his career and marriage. The 2021 project was inspired by Cody and Reba McEntire’s duet of the same name. It follows Cody, McEntire and American Sniper’s Chris Kyle as they break away from their love of rodeo and bull riding to chase careers outside of the ring.
By happenstance, filming the documentary allowed Cody and Brandi to "reinvent their marriage" and, consequently, their parenting styles.
"It's been a complete life-changing thing," Cody told PEOPLE in 2021, adding what the film meant to him, "It's not about the rodeo. It's about letting go, turning the page and trusting the process."
She often collaborates with Cody on his music videos
Brandi is no stranger to the camera. She’s made a handful of appearances in her husband’s country music videos over the years, including in “With You I Am” and “Human,” which features a small cameo from their two daughters.
In 2018, Brandi spearheaded the video creation process for “On My Way to You,” from tracking down the perfect producer to securing a location to shoot the video. Speaking with PEOPLE about the production, Cody said the “relatable” storyline behind the song's visual was brought to life by Brandi’s “great vision.”
The music video illustrates an older couple’s love story and opens with the pair cuddling on their front porch before going to a flashback of when they first met at a bar. It ends in the present day with the couple playing pool at their old stomping grounds.
The camera pans to Cody crooning while stringing his guitar throughout the video. At the end, he’s joined by Brandi and the two cheers their drinks before sharing a kiss.
“It’s a great storyline that paints an incredible picture. The melody was already pretty dynamic,” he said. “For the video, I actually let my beautiful wife Brandi make all those decisions. She had a great vision on the look, the feel, the producer, etc. She did a great job!”
She inspires his music
As a tribute to his wife, Cody released the song “The Painter” dedicated to Brandi — the first single from his upcoming album Leather. The cover art and accompanying lyric video featured pictures of her.
The country singer further teased his latest work with a black-and-white video of him and Brandi dancing together in a field. Shortly after, he shared personal photos of the couple throughout the years in a different Instagram clip.
“My favorite lyric in ‘The Painter’ is ‘for every wall I built, she saw a canvas.’ If there’s anything that describes my marriage with my wife, Brandi, it’s that line,” he said in a press release, per CMT. “And that’s why we’ve been together for 15 years.”
Speaking on Apple Music’s Today’s Country Radio, Cody revealed how having resilience in his relationship with Brandi has impacted him.
“It brings to light for me how a man should take the time to stop and recognize the fact that she can make you remember what's right and what's wrong,” he said.
She is Cody’s biggest supporter
Cody is the first to acknowledge that he’s where he is in his career thanks to Brandi’s sacrifices, support and unconditional love. She can often be spotted in the audience or stage-side at his concerts. In November 2022, Brandi had the honor of telling Cody he had won his first CMA award for music video of the year. He also earned single of the year with "Til You Can't."
In April 2022, Cody took home the CMT Artist of the Year Award and gave Brandi a sweet shoutout in his acceptance speech. “My wife has stood beside me for over 14 years through the thick and the thin, and baby, this is for me and you,” he said.
Most recently, the pair attended the 2023 CMT Music Awards and walked the red carpet arm-in-arm.
Speaking with Cowboys & Indians, Cody reflected on what it's been like having Brandi cheering him on behind closed doors.
“There are times I've wanted to quit music, in the last five years even. I've come home and said, 'I'm done. I can't do this anymore. It's eating me up,' " he shared. "And she'd say, 'Yes, you can. You got to. You've got to get back to work, have a better mindset, and push through.' "
He continued, "And I did. If I had to give it all up for her, I'd do it."
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