Remember When John Rich Was Deemed ‘Too Drunk to Fly’?
It's no secret that John Rich likes to have a good time, but he might have taken the party too far on this day in 2011.
The Big & Rich singer had performed with Cowboy Troy the previous Saturday evening, Dec. 3, at Las Vegas' Eastside Cannery. "Had fun with the folks in Vegas!" he posted on Twitter afterward. "What a great night! Country fans are the BEST! Thx for coming out to the show, see you soon!"
According to multiple reports, Rich showed up at the airport for a Las Vegas-to-Nashville flight that was scheduled to depart at 10:50AM PT on Sunday morning, Dec. 4, but when he tried to board, Southwest crew members deemed the singer — who was pursuing a solo career outside of Big & Rich at that time — too drunk to fly according to government rules.
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"Our crew assessed the situation and determined that the passenger was not fit for travel under governing federal aviation regulations," a Southwest spokesperson told TMZ. "The customer was rebooked on a later Southwest flight out of Las Vegas, but chose to make alternative travel arrangements. We have processed a refund for the customer and his travel companion."
Sources who were on the flight told TMZ that Rich was visibly affected and arguing with other passengers before trying to board the plane, but that he left without resistance when crew members told him he was too intoxicated and needed to disembark. In a statement to the Boot, a representative for Rich denied at least part of that claim.
"Did John Rich have a great time with fans in Las Vegas? Yes. Was there an altercation? Absolutely not," the statement read.
Rich has never made any secret of his fondness for alcohol, even installing a fully-stocked bar in the club that he built into his mansion in Nashville. But he tells the Boot that his marriage to his wife, Joan, has helped keep him a bit more on the straight and narrow.
"It definitely evens me out. If I have nobody to talk to and nobody to report to at the end of the day, with as wild as my life is, I'll wind up drinking too much, getting in too much trouble and my music would suffer," he admitted in 2009. "She's a great equalizer."
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