The trouble with Morgan Wallen: The rise, fall and rise again of a country superstar

The trouble with Morgan Wallen: The rise, fall and rise again of a country superstar

Morgan Wallen cannot seem to keep himself out of trouble.

The “bad boy of country music” was arrested on Monday (8 April) and charged with three felony counts after allegedly throwing a chair off the roof of a bar in Nashville, Tennessee.

After posting a $15,000 bail, he is due in court on 3 May.

The incident comes after Wallen spent years repairing his image after being filmed using a racial slur in 2021.

Despite a string of controversies, Wallen has remained one of the most commercially successful artists in the US.

Earlier this year, his third studio album, 2023’s One Thing at a Time, spent 19 weeks at the top of the Billboard 100 charts, making it the longest-running number one country album of all time.

Meanwhile, his single “Last Night” stayed atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks, beating Harry Styles’s “As It Was” for the record of longest No 1 run for a non-collaboration.

Read on for a timeline of the artist’s biggest scandals.

Morgan Wallen (Getty Images)
Morgan Wallen (Getty Images)

May 2020: Wallen is arrested after being thrown out of Kid Rock’s steakhouse

Wallen was arrested and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct after getting kicked out of Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse in Nashville.

According to The Tennessean, Wallen was removed from the venue for “kicking glass items” before getting into verbal altercations on the street.

“Officers gave [Wallen] several opportunities to walk away with his friends, but he refused to walk away,” Wallen’s arrest warrant stated. Police called him “a danger to himself and the public”.

Wallen responded to the charges the next day, writing on Twitter that he and his friends “were horse-playing with each other”. “We didn’t mean any harm, and we want to say sorry to any bar staff or anyone that was affected,” he added. “Thank you to the local authorities for being so professional and doing their job with class. Love y’all.”

Prosecutors later abandoned the charges.

Wallen in 2019 (Getty Images)
Wallen in 2019 (Getty Images)

October 2020: Wallen cut from SNL after breaking Covid rules

Days before his scheduled debut performance on Saturday Night Live, videos of Wallen surfaced on social media showing him kissing multiple women after a college football game in Alabama.

At the time, Alabama had a statewide mask and social distancing mandate in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“My actions this past weekend were pretty short-sighted and they have obviously affected my long-term goals and my dreams,” he said in an Instagram video after the incident.

Wallen’s SNL invite was rescinded; however, he appeared on the show months later as the musical guest and in a skit, in which Jason Bateman and Bowen Yang portrayed future versions of the singer and warned him not to allow videos of himself partying to circulate on social media.

February 2021: Wallen is filmed using a racial slur

Wallen was suspended from his record label after a video emerged of him using the n-word.

The video, reportedly filmed by neighbours annoyed at the late-night disturbance and then shared by TMZ, showed Wallen coming home from a night out with friends when he yelled the racial slur at a friend twice.

In a five-minute apology video shared a week after the incident, Wallen said he was on “hour 72 of a 72-hour bender” when he’d used the slur.

Revealing he’d been sober since the video was shared, he said he had accepted “some invitations from some amazing Black organisations and executives and leaders to engage in some very real and honest conversations”.

“Who knows if I’ll be able to live down all the mistakes I’ve made, but I’m certainly going to try,” he said.

He was temporarily suspended from industry ceremonies including the Billboard Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, but made a return to both the following year.

In his first interview in two years, Wallen told Billboard in 2023: “There’s no excuse. I’ve never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people, heard stories [about] things that I would have never thought about because I wasn’t the one going through it. And I think, for me, in my heart I was never that guy that people were portraying me to be, so there was a little bit of like, ‘Damn, I’m kind of actually mad about this a little bit because I know I shouldn’t have said this, but I’m really not that guy.’ I put myself in just such a s*** spot, you know? Like, ‘You really messed up here, guy.’ If I was that guy, then I wouldn’t have cared. I wouldn’t have apologized. I wouldn’t have done any of that if I really was that guy that people were saying about me.”

April 2024: Wallen is arrested on felony charges in Nashville

Morgan Wallen poses in a booking photo on 8 April, 2024 (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department via Getty Images)
Morgan Wallen poses in a booking photo on 8 April, 2024 (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department via Getty Images)

Wallen was charged with three felony counts and one misdemeanour after allegedly throwing a chair off the roof of a six-storey bar.

Two police officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department said the chair landed just a few feet from them.

Officers reviewed the bar’s security footage, which reportedly showed Wallen lunging and then throwing the object over the roof.

Hours later, the “Last Night” singer posted bond for $15,250 and was released from Davidson County jail. He is due on court on 3 May, at which time the star will be playing at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium as part of his One Night at a Time tour.

The Independent has reached out to the Nashville Police Department and Wallen’s attorney for comment.