Blake Shelton may often seem like a tough guy who uses humor to shield his feelings.
But not when it comes to his late brother, Richie, who died in a car crash about 25 years ago.
Back in November of 2015, Blake Tweeted a sweet message on the anniversary of Richie’s passing, calling him his “hero.”
Wow… 25 years ago today we lost my brother Richie Shelton. He's still my hero going strong. Wish everyone could've known him.
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) November 13, 2015
When Richie died, he was 24 years old — Blake was just 14 years old. Obviously, this tragic event has permeated every part of Blake’s life. He’s written hit songs inspired by it. His ex-wife, Miranda Lambert, even wrote a song in honor of Richie.
“Over You” — Miranda Lambert
After four years of marriage, Shelton and Lambert separated in August 2015, but not before they co-wrote “Over You,” an award-winning ballad.
Here’s a taste of the tune: “But you went away / How dare you? / I miss you / They say I’ll be okay / But I’m not going to ever get over you.”
The music video matched the heaviness of the real-life sadness. It shows Lambert walking through the woods, trudging through the snow. In the background, two young boys are playing, but at some point in the video, one of boys disappears.
The song won Song of the Year at the 2012 CMAs.
“It’s a very, very personal song,” Lambert told US Weekly.
“I asked him a year ago, ‘Do you want this song?,” Lambert said. “It’s obviously about your life. And he said he’d rather me have it, mainly because he wasn’t sure he could get through it every night onstage. It’s one of our favorite songs.”
“I can hardly even remember writing it,” Shelton told Men’s Journal. “[My dad] got to see it going up the charts. That was pretty cool.”
The day he heard about Richie was like any other day, until he heard those sirens.
“I was standing outside, waiting for a buddy to pick me up for school,” Shelton recalls. “And I heard all these ambulances go by. I didn’t think anything of it. When I got to school and Dad pulled me out of class, I thought, ‘Oh shit. That’s what I heard.'” As it turned out, Richie had been in the car with his girlfriend when they slammed into the back of a school bus. “One of those things,” Shelton says. The girlfriend was driving, Richie was in the passenger seat, and her four-year-old son was in the back. “It was a three-casket funeral,” says Shelton, a catch in his throat. “They buried him on his fifth birthday.”
Richie had been in the car with his girlfriend when they ran into the back of a school bus. His girlfriend was driving and his four-year-old son was in the back.
“One of those things,” Shelton said. “It was a three-casket funeral. They buried him on his fifth birthday.”
But he won’t ever forget Richie.
Richie was especially important to him.