All About Carrie Underwood’s Parents, Carole and Stephen Underwood
11 mins read

All About Carrie Underwood’s Parents, Carole and Stephen Underwood

Carrie Underwood is an Oklahoma girl through and through thanks to her parents, Carole and Stephen Underwood.

Married since 1968, Stephen and Carole live in Checotah, Oklahoma, the small town where they raised their three daughters, Shanna, Stephanie and Carrie. They still reside in the same house the girls grew up in.

Growing up, Carole took


Carrie to talent shows, even making her sparkly costumes, and was the one who encouraged her daughter to take the leap to try out for American Idol. Carrie would go on to become the season 4 winner and is now one of the most famous faces in country music.

“I am the luckiest person to have such incredible parents, and they’ve always been super supportive of me,” the “Before He Cheats” singer told SiriusXM in 2019.

Carrie is very close with her mother, often taking Carole as her date to award shows and bringing her up on stage. She also told PEOPLE in 2016 that her dad “is my biggest fan.”

Here’s everything to know about Carrie Underwood’s parents, Carole and Stephen Underwood.

They have been married for over five decades

Stephen and Carole wed on April 21, 1968. Carrie shared photos from her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary on Facebook in 2018, including a sweet one of her parents sharing a kiss and another of them cutting a two-tiered white cake.

“We listened to stories of how they met and their first years together…the good Lord sure did bless them…and us!” Carrie captioned the photos. “I think these crazy kids are gonna make it!”

The couple raised their family in Checotah, Oklahoma, a quaint town about an hour southwest of Tulsa that Carole described to Today in 2021 as “a small town — everybody knows everybody.”

Carrie admitted to PEOPLE in 2020 that she doesn’t “get to go back as much as I would like to see them, because my schedule is so crazy,” but she tries to visit as much as she can.

“But I do get to go back a few times a year, and I really don’t do much of anything! I just want to go hang out with them, spend time with my parents,” she said. “Being outside is important to us, even if we’re just sitting on the porch swing, getting to enjoy the outdoors.”

They have three children

Stephen and Carole are the proud parents of three daughters, Shanna Means, Stephanie Shelton and Carrie.

There’s a significant age gap between Carrie and her older sisters — they’re 13 and 10 years her senior, respectively. Carole previously told Today that “Carrie was kind of like an only child because she was so much younger.”

And the singer said that she considers herself “not a mushy person at all,” some of which stems from how she grew up.

“We were never a huggy family. Or a ‘let’s talk it out’ family,” she told Marie Claire in 2013, adding that the siblings’ age gap made her “a little more selfish, a little more independent, a little closed.”

Stephen and Carole are also grandparents. All three of their daughters have children, including Carrie’s two sons, Isaiah and Jacob, whom she shares with husband Mike Fisher.

Carole has a mother-daughter tattoo with Carrie

In July 2023, Carrie celebrated the first run of her Las Vegas residency by getting inked with her mom and sisters — and it was all Carole’s idea.

All four got small heart tattoos to commemorate the occasion. Carrie shared photos of their outing on Instagram, which showed Carole getting the tattoo on her wrist, while the Grammy winner was seen sitting on a table so her foot could be tattooed.

“When your 74-year-old mother asks you and your sisters to get matching tattoos with her in Vegas, the only questions are, ‘what?’ and ‘where?’ ” the country crooner captioned the photos. “I never would’ve thought I’d see the day that Mama Carole would be gettin’ some ink!”

They are very supportive of Carrie’s career

Stephen and Carole have long been Carrie’s biggest cheerleaders, supporting her both in private and publicly.

They’ve been by her side at major events, with both attending the CMA Music Festival’s 17th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge in 2007, and Carole joining Carrie at the 2006 and 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards shows.

In September 2018, Carole flew out to Los Angeles when Carrie was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In a 2010 Father’s Day roundup for The Boot, Carrie shared that her dad doesn’t directly say he’s proud, showing his feelings through gestures instead.

“My dad’s the kind of person that most likely he’ll never look at me or my sisters and say, ‘Hey! I’m proud of you,’ or ‘You’re doing a great job,’ or anything like that. But I catch him watching things that he’s taped of me on TV. That means a lot,” she said. “I’d meet co-workers of his that used to work with him, and they’d say, ‘Your dad has pictures of you all over his desk.’ ”

Carole’s older daughters followed in her career footsteps

In Oklahoma, Stephen worked as a paper-mill operator and Carole was an elementary school teacher for 25 years. Both Shanna and Stephanie followed in their mothers’ footsteps, working as teachers since the 1990s in Oklahoma and Tennessee, respectively.

Carrie is very supportive of her mother and sisters. In July 2009, she joined the nonprofit Teachers’ Count’s campaign, which that year was themed “Behind Every Famous Person Is a Fabulous Teacher.”

“Teaching was something that ran in my family,” she said, per The Oklahoman. “I have always admired my mother and sisters for making a difference in the lives of so many.”

Carole used to make Carrie’s stage outfits

When Carrie was little, she decided she wanted to perform in talent shows, but was a little hesitant about doing so.

“I would call and say, ‘Can Carrie sing? Will you let Carrie sing on this one?’ ” Carole told Today in 2021. “And, you know, she hated it, because her friends were going to be out there, and she didn’t like to sing in front of her friends. And sometimes it was like — she might be crying before she would get up there to sing. But she did. … She just truly had a gift from God.”

Carole also used to sew Carrie’s competition outfits.

“I remember we got a pair of boots at the dollar store for a dollar, and she built this whole outfit, like sparkles and sequins and all this stuff around this design on this dollar pair of boots,” she once shared with SiriusXM.

They encouraged her to try out for American Idol

Carrie graduated from Northeastern State University with a degree in mass communication. She considered a music career a former dream — but then a show called American Idol came along.

“We never even considered that she could win it at all, but at least maybe she could have some face and name recognition, and she would get to be an anchor or something on one of our local TV shows in Tulsa,” Carole explained to Today.

Carrie was nervous to fly to the audition, and though her father gave her the option to turn around, she ultimately decided it was better to face her fear than give up before it started. The rest was history as Carrie won season 4 of Idol.

“It didn’t really dawn on me at that particular moment what was possibly going to happen,” Carole said. “Up to this time, it was just a competition. She won, and then my next thought [was), ‘Well, where do we go from here?’ ”

During a March 2022 residency show in Las Vegas, Carole joined her daughter onstage to sing “All-American Girl.” Carrie later shared a photo of the big moment on Instagram alongside a sweet, nostalgic caption.

“‘If you wanna go, I’ll take you.’ These might have been the most pivotal words anyone has ever spoken to me. I was busy talking myself out of trying out for American Idol and my mom said these words…the rest is history,” the Oklahoma native wrote. “Tonight, I got to sing with her on stage in front of the most incredible crowd in #LasVegas ❤️ Life sure is amazing! Thanks, Mom, for everything!”

They’ve been included in her music

Carole has been known to make appearances alongside Carrie. In addition to her appearance in Vegas, she rapped Ludacris’ part of “The Champion” during an October 2019 stop on Carrie’s Cry Pretty Tour 360. She also made a cameo in the 2010 music video for Carrie’s “Mama’s Song.”

Stephen has been an integral part of Carrie’s music as well. She co-wrote the song “The Girl You Think I Am” with Hillary Lindsey and David Hodges. It depicts the relationship between a daughter and father and appears on Carrie’s 2015 album, Storyteller.

“Anybody that knows my family will probably be able to very much pick out the lines that are about my dad and it’s about how great a father is in a daughter’s life,” she told PEOPLE in 2016.

While discussing the song, Carrie shared that her father is her biggest fan.

“When I think about my dad I know that he thinks I am so much better than I am for real,” she said. “I would love to be the girl that he thinks I am because he holds me up so high and thinks I can do no wrong. He thinks I’m brave. He thinks I’m beautiful. He thinks I can do anything. He thinks I’m fearless.”

Carrie’s “most impactful” compliment came from her dad

Carrie once shared a memory with PEOPLE about the time her father helped her through a rough day when she was 14.

“I’d had a particularly rough day at school because I had been teased by a boy in one of my classes. He made fun of my makeup. Hey, I was just 14 … I was still learning what to do and how to do it,” she joked.

“At dinner that night, for no reason at all, my dad told me that I looked really pretty,” she continued. “He had no clue about what happened that day, nor is he exactly the kind of guy to give out compliments like that freely. But those words turned a bad day into a really good one.”

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