Lainey Wilson and Devlin "Duck" Hodges stepped out publicly for the first time at the ACM Awards in 2023
Lainey Wilson is head over boots in love with boyfriend Devlin "Duck" Hodges. The former NFL player-turned-real estate agent has been a pillar of support for Wilson as she navigates her newfound stardom in country music.
The couple began dating in 2021 but didn’t go public with their relationship until two years later when Hodges accompanied Wilson to the ACM Awards in May 2023. Their red carpet debut doubled as one of the night’s most talked-about moments.
"But I'll tell you, he is good as gold,” she added. “Supports me, would never come in between anything that I'm trying to do.”
So, who is Lainey Wilson’s boyfriend? Here’s everything to know about Devlin "Duck" Hodges and his relationship with the country music singer.
His college football coach gave him the nickname "Duck"
Hodges, who affectionately goes by “Duck,” received his nickname while playing football at Samford University in Alabama. During an appearance on The Bobby Bones Show, Wilson shared the story of how her boyfriend’s moniker came to be.
"His college football coach was like, 'You're one of the best quarterbacks I've ever worked with. And you remind me a lot of one of my favorite quarterbacks I got to work with years ago, and we called him Duck,’ ” Wilson said. “And so he and the team just kind of started calling him Duck.”
Coincidently, it also turned out that Hodges was an avid duck hunter, too.
He is a former NFL player
After college, Hodges went on to play professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was with the team for two years before joining the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. Similar to Wilson, Hodges understands the importance of a hard work ethic, which is one of the many shared characteristics that first brought them together.
"He knows what it’s like chasing a dream because he's done that for himself,” Wilson said on The Bobby Bones Show. "He was in the NFL. He tried out literally for the Steelers and made it and had a really great run with them. Went out to LA Rams and did that.”
Hodges later signed a three-year contract with the Canadian Football League team Ottawa Redblacks as a starting quarterback. But in April 2022, the team announced his retirement from the sport.
“I’d like to thank the REDBLACKS for bringing me to Ottawa and giving me this opportunity. I have gained a lot of respect for the CFL and its fans — particularly RNation!" he said in a statement. "I’m excited to see what the future holds but I know that the next chapter in my life is going to be fun.”
He works in real estate
Since retiring from the sport, Hodges has taken a keen interest in real estate. In November 2022, he joined the team at Mossy Oak Properties in Louisiana. An outdoorsman and hunter himself, Hodges specializes in helping clients find their dream “hunting camps, hunting land [and] farm land,” per his profile.
He and Wilson started dating in 2021
The pair began seeing each other in 2021 after meeting through mutual friends in Nashville. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Wilson recalled rolling up at a dance hall and saloon for their first date that was known for its cheap drinks and live music.
“We went to this old place called Silverados, and it had free beer and wine from 5 to 10 p.m.,” she said. “I was like, ‘This boy likes to ball on a budget too. This is gonna work out.’ "
The two immediately hit it off and have been together ever since, but refrained from publicizing their romance for over two years. “I said, ‘We gonna see if you’re in it for the right reasons,’ ” Wilson told PEOPLE of deciding to stay mum about their relationship for so long.
“Turns out, he is,” she continued, adding, "it feels really good to talk about it.”
They made their red carpet debut in 2023
The couple confirmed the status of their romance when they walked the red carpet of the 58th ACM Awards hand in hand. The singer-songwriter was nominated for six different categories that night, four of which she won.
Wilson looked stunning in an all-green ensemble consisting of a cape and her signature bell bottoms that she accented with chunky jewelry and a green-brimmed hat. Meanwhile, Hodges stepped out in a blue suit that he paired with a bolo tie and cream cowboy hat.
Wilson and Hodges posed for photos, interlocked in one another’s embrace. A rep for Wilson confirmed to PEOPLE that the pair were, indeed, dating.
Albeit, speculation about their romance sparked weeks prior when Wilson was spotted wearing Hodges’ Steelers jersey while performing in Pittsburgh. Eagle-eyed fans quickly notified the former Steelers quarterback of Wilson’s outfit on social media, which he happily played into.
"Did she really?!?! Y'all are lying !!!! @laineywilson holla at me !!! 🏈," he wrote on Twitter (now known as X), replying to a fan who tweeted about Wilson’s concert attire.
He is very close with Wilson's friends
Hodges has Wilson’s friends’ stamp of approval! Speaking with PEOPLE about their relationship, the “Heart Like a Truck” crooner joked that Hodges has been slowly “stealing all my buddies,” including her country music pals like Cole Swindell and HARDY.
“Somebody said how funny it was watching him high-five all of my artist friends at the ACMs, and I said, ‘Those are his friends!’ ” Wilson shared, following their red carpet debut in May.
In all seriousness, however, Wilson said that having Hodges and her friends get along so well is a big blessing. “I don’t have to convince anybody to like him. He’s a very lovable person,” she added.
He is immensely supportive of Wilson's career
“Duck is the kind of dude who high-fives me on the way in the door and on the way out and says, ‘Go get it,’ " Wilson told PEOPLE, while speaking about how much Hodges’ support means to her. "He knows how important this dream is to me."
Wilson echoed similar sentiments during a guest appearance on Access Hollywood. “He’s a good guy. He knows I’m not the kind of girl that can be tamed and kept inside of a box,” she said, noting that she “couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
He is Wilson's muse
Looking into the future, Wilson is excited to try her hand at writing love songs. She hinted to PEOPLE that her “healthy relationship” with Hodges, whom she describes as “one of my biggest cheerleaders and champions,” has become a big source of inspiration for her musically.
"I was never really able to write love songs, because I don't know if I had actually felt it, but I'm writing me some love songs now," she shared. "I’m grateful for him.”
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Read the original article on People.