Rascal Flatts bass player and singer Jay DeMarcus is a settled-down family man now, but in his new memoir, he shares a heartbreaking story from his past. In Shotgun Angels: My Story of Broken Roads and Unshakeable Hope, DeMarcus reveals for the first time that he had a daughter who was put for adoption in the years before he shot to fame.

People reports that DeMarcus was in his early 20s at the time, and he'd been dating a woman named Maggie for a month. According to DeMarcus, she got pregnant when the condom broke the first time they had sex, and the news left them with a series of hard choices. He was playing in a Christian duo called East to West at the time, while he and Maggie had to discuss a range of options, including possibly getting married and raising the child themselves.

After they concluded they'd be making that choice for the wrong reasons, they began discussing adoption, since abortion was "never an option," DeMarcus says. Though DeMarcus hoped to work things out to where he could remain in the child's life, and his mom even offered to adopt the baby, Maggie chose to move forward with an outside adoption that did not include him.

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DeMarcus also lost his gig during that difficult time. His bandmate in East to West, Neal Coomer, supported him, but when news of the pregnancy got out, he recalls, his connections in the Christian music industry dried up overnight, something he still laments.

“I understand, I guess, but it does seem that many Christians all too often kill their wounded instead of taking time to be there to help pick someone up,” DeMarcus says in his book.

DeMarcus reveals that he never even got to meet his baby girl, though he holds no ill will toward her mother. His daughter is now in her 20s, and he says he thinks of her every day and wonder if she knows who he is.

“The adoptive family was supposed to give her a letter when she turned 14, explaining that I loved her, did not abandon her, and have tried several ways to make it possible to be in her life," DeMarcus explains.

The musician admits that the episode challenged his faith and sent him into depression, but he recovered to form Rascal Flatts with his two roommates, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney. He married former Miss Tennessee Allison Alderson in 2004, and the couple have an 8-year-old daughter named Madeline and a 6-year-old son, Dylan. They raise their kids in the traditions of Christian faith, and DeMarcus says he hopes his memoir will convey a message of hope to his readers.

"My ultimate goal is that the book will encourage people that no matter where they are in their lives, they can find hope, comfort and strength in their faith," he says in a statement to Billboard.

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