Why do bad things happen to good people? Luke Bryan’s family has been hit with more tragedy than most, including the car accident death of his brother, Chris, in 2000, and his sister, Kelly’s, death in 2007. However, it was when Kelly’s husband, Ben Lee Cheshire, suddenly passed away in 2014 that Luke and his wife Caroline Boyer had a very serious choice to make, though he says it wasn’t a choice at all.
“We never thought twice about [taking in Kelly’s kids]” explained Caroline to Robin Roberts in an upcoming ABC special. “You know, it was never something that he and I had to sit down and talk about. ‘Should we take this on?’ We just did that.” Luke and Caroline immediately assumed responsibility for Kelly’s son, Tilden, who is now 16, and their two college-aged daughters. The couple also had two sons of their own: Thomas, 9, and Tatum, 7. However, since their own sons are so young, they’d had no experience with teenagers.
“We’re buddies now, though, kinda,” he said in the interview. “Until he makes me… that’s when I get onto him, I’m like, ‘All right, you’re making me be an adult; don’t make me be an adult!’” Caroline is happy to be a surrogate mother for her nephew, and even shared a touching message with Tilden on his birthday. “Happy 16th Til Pickle!” she wrote. “We love you to the moon and back. You make this life so much fun…and nerve racking! Now that you’re driving, I will officially have to be medicated. Remember, ‘Be a gentleman, use good judgment, have good manners, or I’ll kill you.’ We love you Prince!!!”
Although Luke admits that sometimes his family can “get mad at God and we get mad at why this happened,” they do their best to stay strong. “You keep going and you try to, try to be as positive as you can, and you try to appreciate every day,” he said. “You’ll never get back to 100 percent. You’ll always be working to get back to 75 percent.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Life & Style.