Chris Stapleton Clarifies a Rumor That He’s Sober
Chris Stapleton has cut way down on his drinking, but he's not exactly sober -- contrary to what many fans believe. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Stapleton explains his relationship with alcohol. "I don't drink as much as I used to," the singer allows.
"I'm a 45-year-old man who has a lot more responsibilities and a lot less time for leisure than I used to have. But I do enjoy [drinking alcohol]," he continues. "The first room you walk in at my house, there's probably 200 bottles of bourbon there....I think the word 'sober' got used in an interview, and it's probably a disservice to sober people to call me sober."
The interview in question was a fall 2023 conversation with GQ, in which Stapleton said he felt the need to scale way back after his boozy younger days. "I like to tell people that I got into a drinking contest with myself in my 20s, and I lost," he explained at the time. "...I didn't have to go to rehab, but from a 45-year-old-man health perspective, a doctor's gonna look at me and go, 'Hey, man, probably cut out the drinking,' and I'd be like, 'Okay, cool.'"
It's easy to see where fans might've gotten confused, especially since Stapleton recently launched his own line of whiskey -- a Buffalo Trace Distillery partnership named Traveller. That line takes its name from the singer's 2015 debut solo album, a project that served as his mainstream country breakout. Like much of his discography since then, the songs on the track list reflect Stapleton's harder-drinking days.
Tracks like "Whiskey and You," "Was it 26," "Nobody to Blame" and his breakout hit "Tennessee Whiskey" pain a picture of a hard-living, trouble-haunted singer-songwriter whose love for the bottle is secondary only to his romantic and existential loneliness.
But in real life, Stapleton says, he still enjoys a quaff now and then -- and that in fact, whiskey presented a fun way for him and his band mates to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns of 2020. He tells Rolling Stone that his bass player, J.T. Cure, would drop off small, unmarked whiskey bottles on his doorstep and the doorsteps of a few others; they'd later convene on video chat for blind taste tests.
"That was our social activity," Stapleton remembers. "It would inevitably just end with a bunch of guys cackling on Zoom, but it was fun."
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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes