When singer Rory Feek found out his daughter had same-sex attraction, he was more shocked than anybody. Having raised her in a conservative Christian home, it was really the last thing he expected. But shortly after the death of his second wife, Joey, to cervical cancer in 2016, his daughter, Hopie Feek, said she was in love with a woman named Wendy.
Now, the country star has opened up about the impact that the life-changing piece of news had on him, and has revealed how his faith informed the way in which he responded to his daughter.
“My first reaction was not the best one because it was such a challenge to my faith,” he told “Today.” “I didn’t really know how to react.”
Hopie, desperate to maintain a good relationship with her father and get to know her half-sister, Indiana, appealed for him to understand. But Rory admitted that, in light of his Christian faith, he found it difficult to fathom the outworking of her sexuality.
“What happens when your daughter says, ‘I’d like to marry my friend Wendy at the farm?’ And she’s waited her whole life, her whole life for this moment,” Rory noted.
But as time went on, Feek realized that his Christian faith could actually effect the change required in his heart to love his daughter unconditionally.
“You go from one thing you think you can’t handle, that you end up learning so much from, to another thing that you didn’t see coming that you’re gonna learn so much from,” he said. “I’m learning how to love her even when our faith and our choices don’t line up exactly.”
As you can imagine, Feek received some backlash from Christians who believe he should have challenged Hopie’s lifestyle choices more than he has chosen to do so. But Rory himself is adamant that, by accepting his daughter just as she is, he made the right decision. After all, said the country singer, aren’t we all called to be more like Jesus in the treatment of those around us?
“It’s a challenging situation. But if it shows up at your house, you might look at it differently,” he said. “The biggest thing that it’s shown me is that if I were going to be more Christlike, wouldn’t it be this? Wouldn’t I love greater?”
Powerful words, but the “To Say Goodbye” singer, who performed regularly with his wife Joey before she passed, has even offered up his farm as a wedding venue for his daughter and her wife. If that wasn’t enough, he is also allowing Indiana to be a flower girl at the celebration.
“I am thrilled. I love Hopie. I love Wendy … And I just want what’s the best for them,” he said. “What’s been really fun is seeing my daughter realize that I love her. I love her no matter what. I could’ve got that wrong.”