From celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan to Olympian Scott Hamilton to reality stars Kristin Cavallari and the Chrisleys, a quick look at the stars who have recently moved here
Nationally known celebrities — who aren’t even country singers — are part of the recent waves of people flocking to Music City and the region. Here are some of the most famous newcomers of the past 20 years.
Kathie Lee Gifford
longtime presenter of a television talk show; Actress; Singer; Song writer; former “Hee-Haw” honey; 68 years old
Move to Franklin: 2018
Why Central Tennessee? “It’s a culture of kindness in Nashville,” she told the Today Show in 2019. “They’re genuinely kind… and upbeat!”
Kathie Lee Gifford sits down with the Tennessean
Kathie Lee Gifford sits down with the Tennessean to talk daytime TV, music and life in Franklin, TN.
Mike Fant, Nashville, Tennessee
What she likes to do here: Make lunches for and write with some of Nashville’s greatest songwriters, including Brett James, Kelley Lovelace and Stephanie Bentley, she told the Tennessean.
Where you might discover Gifford: Gray’s on Main in Franklin or the Franklin Farmers Market
► In the next five years: Chamber Projects Another 200,000 are coming to the Nashville area
Watch out for Nashville: More people are coming from Chicago, New York and Los Angeles
Creator and star of History Channel show “American Pickers”; antique shop owner; 57 years old
Moved to Leiper’s Fork: 2011
Why Central Tennessee? “I’m a huge fan of country music,” he told the Tennessean. “And I love the collaborative atmosphere that prevails here.”
What he loves about it: “I love the way people hold onto history here more than anywhere else in this country I’ve been to.”
VIDEO: ‘American Pickers’ Mike Wolfe on what he loves about Middle Tennessee
“American Pickers” host Mike Wolfe shares what he loves about Middle Tennessee.
Josie Norris, Nashville, Tennessee
Where you might spot wolves: The Country Boy Restaurant in Leiper’s Fork or his ancient archeology shop in Marathon Village in Nashville
Food Network celebrity chef; restaurant owner; 45 years old
Move to Franklin: 2014
Why Central Tennessee? Business partners suggested Music City as a place to open restaurants, and Chauhan visited and loved it.
All in on Nashville from the jump: “It was love at first sight,” Chauhan said during a Tennessean Nashville Storytellers event in 2016. “That’s how my love story with Nashville began.”
Where you might spot Chauhan: Loveless Cafe, King’s Market Cafe or at one of their Nashville restaurants, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Chaatable, Tansuo or Mockingbird Nashville
2002 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher; Author; 43 years old
Move to Nashville: 2015
why? Zito ended his career as a pitcher for the AAA Nashville Sounds and decided to stay here after retiring
About moving from California to Nashville: “It felt like a reset here. Nobody knows me in the malls or whatever. I feel like I can really be myself,” he told the Tennessean. “I’ve always felt like I was on the alert in the Bay Area or Los Angeles. I don’t get any of that here, so it’s a liberation.”
Former conservative voice on national TV talk shows The View and Fox & Friends; one-time “Survivor” contestant, 44 years old
Move to Belle Meade: 2016
Why Nashville? Hasselbeck told the Tennessean that she fell in love with the city after hosting the K-LOVE Christian Music Awards show here in 2015
She loves it here because: “Nashville is a city that has eyes that other people see, room for kindness and hands to lift someone up when they need it.”
Where you could discover Hasselbeck: A Titans game, a Predators game, or a fundraiser for Mending Hearts, The Next Door, or other programs that serve drug-addicted women
Elisabeth Hasselbeck on beasts of prey “You [Stink]’ to sing
Elisabeth Hasselbeck says she has conflict with the Nashville Predators’ You [Stink]’ Singing for opposing goaltenders at ice hockey games.
Henry Taylor, The Tennessean
Justin Timberlake (sort of)
International pop star; Actor; founding member of ‘N Sync; Music producer; restaurateur; 40 years old
Bought a spot at Leiper’s Fork: 2015
Why Central Tennessee? A Memphis native, Timberlake acquired land in Williamson County and opened a restaurant in downtown Nashville to get a sense of “community” and return south, his business partner Trace Ayala told the Tennessean.
Ready for a change: “We’ve been touring all over the place and living in LA, and it was so far from where we came from,” Ayala said. “I think now that we’ve found this place and ended up here, we kind of settled things back down.”
Where you might see Timberlake: The Twelve Thirty Club at the 5th + Broadway entertainment/dining complex downtown.
Figure Skater with Olympic Gold Medal; television commentator; Actor; Philanthropist; Cancer survivor, age 63
Move to Franklin: 2005
Why Central Tennessee: Hamilton’s wife, Tracie, is from Tennessee, and the Los Angeles couple were looking for another place to raise their children.
Quotable: “I love Nashville — the most generous city I’ve ever been to, period,” he told the Tennessean.
Where you could discover Hamilton: Scott Hamilton Skating Club at the Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue or at almost any charity fundraiser in Nashville
Grammy-winning bluesman; Guitarist; Singer; Song writer; Actor; political activist; 70 years old
Move to Franklin: 2010
why? Keb’ Mo’ found a home here while playing a show at the Ryman Auditorium and his wife encouraged him to try.
First impressions: “I was standing right there on the deck and I looked around and I said, ‘That’s not so bad. That’s going to be okay,'” he told the Tennessean.
walk of fame: Mo’ will be inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame in April along with country artists Deirks Bentley, Connie Smith and Bobby Bare.
Ben “Zorilla” Zobrist
2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Hero; longtime major league baseball player; 40 years old
Move to Franklin: 2005
Why Central Tennessee? His then-wife, Julianna, was a rising Christian music star, and the contemporary Christian music industry is based in Franklin and Nashville.
A rocky road here: Zobrist and his ex-wife settled for a messy divorce, with allegations in court that Julianna Zobrist was having an affair.
reality TV star “Very Cavallari”; jewelry designer and shopkeeper; ex-wife of former NFL and Vanderbilt football QB Jay Cutler; 35 years old
Move to Nashville: 2017
Why Central Tennessee? She and Cutler spent several of their first weeks in Nashville. The two bought a house eight months later, hoping to move here when Cutler’s football career ended.
What she loves about Nashville: The mother-of-three told the Tennessean that Music City “is a great place to start a family.”
Where you might spot Cavallari: Your shop, Uncommon James, in Gulch or Nashville Farmers Market or Restaurant 5th & Taylor
Rocker; Manufacturer; singer/songwriter; record company owner; 46 years old
Move to Nashville: 2005
Why the move: After rising to rock ‘n’ roll fame with the White Stripes in his hometown of Detroit, White sought a change. “This was a music business town where I could do my thing on the side and sneak through the cracks,” he told the Tennessean in 2018.
Jack White’s History in Nashville
Did Jack White create the “new Nashville”?
The result? “I think I’m a Detroiter for life, but now I feel like a Nashvillian.”
Where you might see white: Third Man Records, his record label/concert venue/record store/bar/photo studio near Music City Center
Todd and Julie Chrisley
USA Network’s Chrisley Knows Best reality TV stars, real estate magnates, restaurateurs, 52 and 49 years old
Move to Nashville: 2016
Big plans for Music City: Last year, the Chrisleys told the Tennessean that they plan to open a restaurant serving Southern comfort food and a “classic” champagne bar here soon. “If we’re going to compete in something, I want to compete in something classy, and you’re not out here fighting in a bar,” Todd Chrisley said.
Where you might see the Chrisleys: Moto, Hattie B’s, Green Hills Grille, Arnold’s Country Kitchen
award-winning chef by James Beard; restaurateur; founding chef of the acclaimed Husk chain; cookbook author; New York Times bestseller
Move to Nashville: 2013
why? To open Nashville’s version of Husk, an award-winning Southern restaurant he opened in Charleston, SC
Quotable“The energy here in Nashville is incredible right now,” he told the Tennessean in 2016. “What you see now is a bunch of young, enthusiastic, creative people.”
Where you might see Brock: His rustic flagship restaurant Audrey in East Nashville, or his fine-dining restaurant The Continental at the Grand Hyatt—or his burger joint Joyland in East Nashville
Fox News personality; Fox Nation commentator; influencer; Author; 29 years old
Move to Nashville: 2020
Quotable: “Nashville, Tennessee, my new and current hometown. A vibrant, tight-knit, and normally safe southern city…” she said in a comment following the Christmas 2020 downtown bombing. “I know our city is resilient, proud, and strong.”
You can reach Brad Schmitt at [email protected] or 615-259-8384 or Twitter @bradschmitt.