Sara Evans calls domestic violence allegations against husband 'bulls—': 'He's feeling shame'

Sara Evans is standing by her man.

The country singer originally filed for divorce from husband Jay Barker in 2021, and in 2022, he was arrested for allegedly attempting to run her over with his truck. She recently revealed that she’s reconciled with him, and now she’s asking for understanding from her fans.

“To this day, I think that he was backing up to see if I was in the car with somebody,” she told People about the events leading up to his arrest. “To my child, it looked like something different altogether. My child had never seen him in that light, and I think that was very shocking.”

As she revealed on her new podcast, “Diving in Deep with Sara Evans,” she was in a car with a friend and her child the night of the arrest. They were going to pull into the driveway when Barker had a “verbal altercation” with her daughter, something she said “scared the s— out of her.”


Sara Evans doesn’t believe her husband was trying to hurt her the night he was arrested on assault charges. (FOX)

“Then he jumped in his truck, and he [was] sort of backing up at a very high speed,” she said. “I knew Jay, so I didn’t feel the same way that my child felt. My child thought he was gonna plow our car down, that he was backing up towards our car, and that she was about to watch something horrific, or at the very least, an accident, which would have been his truck hitting my side of the car, where I was in the front seat. She was terrified.”

Her daughter called 911, and Barker was arrested and charged with felony assault. He eventually entered a best interest plea, meaning he didn’t admit guilt but admitted that there was enough evidence in the case to potentially convict him. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, and he was placed on probation.

Now, Evans said, “I just would encourage people not to just believe [it] without him ever speaking about it. I never spoke about it, that, ‘Oh yeah, he tried to kill her with his truck.’ I don’t like that rhetoric because that’s just what happens, too much bulls— being said without the facts to back it up. I just felt that part of it should’ve been more private because I never spoke to the press. I never said a word.”

Sara Evans and Jay Barker married in 2008. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

A few months after he was arrested, Evans said he reached out to her via text, and they began the process of reconciling. They agreed that he’d attend both individual therapy and couple’s therapy “for the rest of our lives,” because they “need professional help.”

The divorce was dismissed in February 2023, and he moved back into the family’s shared home three or four months ago.

“When he came back into our lives, it was a complete switch, like he altered his brain chemistry almost,” Evans’ daughter shared. “In past times, you could see something that would trigger him or make him mad, and all of a sudden he was quiet, and you could see little looks around the room. Now, he’s completely switched his overall energy. When somebody’s teasing him, instead of getting mad about it, it’s more of a laugh or like a, ‘You’re right.’ I’ve seen tiny steps like that throughout the past year of seeing a totally different man as a fatherly figure.”

Evans did not have children with Barker, instead coming into their marriage with three children with her first husband, a son named Avery and daughters Olivia and Audrey.

Sarah Evans poses with daughters Audrey and Olivia in 2018. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

“It’s like 180 degrees,” the “Born to Fly” singer said of her husband’s behavior now compared to then. “He’s not ever going to be perfect. I’m not ever going to be perfect. But we’re in love. We’re going to do everything we can to stay together and be healthy. Now he treats me like a queen. I would not be here if that wasn’t the case. I want people to know that.”

She noted that she “was serious” when she filed for divorce. “I don’t want people to think that I’m minimizing anything having to do with toxic marriages or abuse in marriage or any kind of addiction,” she said. “I’m not downplaying any of it. I’m just saying, for me, my choice was to stay and put in the hard work but also lay down boundaries and ground rules.”


She added, “This is my marriage. It’s my situation. I’m married to a wonderful man who did imperfect things. I’m a great person who is also imperfect. That was our choice to get better and heal. No one should make their decisions based on me. This is very scary because, again, people are going to be mad. [But] I hope that most people will give me the benefit of the doubt and give Jay the benefit of the doubt and just take me at my word that this is the right decision for me.”

Evans married Barker, a former NFL player, in 2008, and she told People that it didn’t take long for things to turn toxic. Still, she didn’t acknowledge it, explaining, “A lack of attention from men was all I’d ever known. If Jay was jealous, that meant he was obsessed with me, which meant he loved me. I was so madly in love with him, and still am, that it took me forever to tell people. I was in denial. I thought, ‘I can change it. I can manage his behavior. I can just make sure that nothing ever upsets him.’”

Jay Barker was placed on probation after entering a best interest plea, knocking the felony assault charge down to a misdemeanor. (Christopher Polk/ACMA2012/Getty Images for ACM)

It was in 2017 that she realized she didn’t “deserve” that kind of treatment, and by 2020, she “just gave up” on the relationship. They separated in April 2021, and that August she filed for divorce.


“I just threw my hands up and said, ‘I quit,'” she remembered. “‘I’m tired of this, and there’s no reason we should be living this way, because we have everything. We’re so blessed.’ But at the same time, I was heartbroken because I felt like my hand was forced into doing that. I didn’t want to do that because I love Jay. We’ve been married for 16 years now, and 90 percent of that marriage has been very happy.”

Yesterday, Evans released a new single, “Pride,” from her upcoming album “Unbroke.” In a press release obtained by Fox News Digital, she said, “A few years ago I started writing this album during one of the hardest times of my life. I was going through extreme difficulties in my marriage and during our separation, I wrote this song. It’s the most raw and real music I’ve ever written. It’s honest and vulnerable as though I’m talking to a friend in a private conversation.”


The opening lyrics to “Pride,” which Evans co-wrote with two other songwriters, begins with the lines “You left a mark on my face / And brought a dozen red flags in a vase / You thought everything would be OK, but it’s not OK.”

Emily Trainham is an entertainment editor for Fox News Digital.

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