Brett Young + Taylor Mills — Country’s Greatest Love Stories
The pair originally met a decade or so ago in Scottsdale, Ariz., while Mills was a student at Arizona State University. They dated for about six years — and even moved to Los Angeles together — but ended up cooling their jets after Young decided to move to Nashville to pursue his music career there.
"I wrote a lot of my first record about her," Young tells People, referring to his 2017 self-titled debut. "There was never any bad blood; it was just the wrong time for us."
Still, they never lost that spark, he adds: "We recently got back in touch and realized that we were both finally in the same place and knew it was right."
Naturally, Young's proposal honored their history together, and took place at a hotel near his alma mater, Ole Miss. "I thought it would be romantic to propose where I went to school,” he explained, while adding they're eyeing up ASU as a likely wedding location. “We were able to get a suite with a large covered patio, and the hospitality staff at the hotel set it up while we were at dinner, so it was waiting for us when we got back."
Young's attention to detail extended to Mills' oval-cut diamond ring, which was custom-made by St. Louis-based jeweler David M. Kodner. "I suggested we utilize their initials — playing off Brett’s logo on his website and album,” Kodner tells People.
At any rate, it's clear that after weathering distance and breakups, the two have emerged stronger on the other side. "She was in all the little beach bars, and at our terrible gigs; she's seen every side of this business," Young told reporters backstage at the 2018 CMA Awards. "Then, when it all finally started happening for me a couple years ago, we were separated. I didn't even realize how much I needed somebody to share this with, because it all makes it so much more meaningful.
"I can't imagine it even being worth it without her at this point," he admits. In fact, he told ABC News, even earning at No. 1 single — as he did on the radio airplay charts with "Mercy" earlier in 2018 — feels more meaningful.
"I think No. 1s are never going to get old,” he says. “They’re always one of the most exciting things in this business, but if I didn’t have her to share it with, it wouldn’t mean anything."