CBB Exclusive: Leighanne Littrell discusses Wylee Bags and her family

03/13/2008 at 01:35 PM ET

Leighanne_and_baylee_cbbLeighanne Littrell knows a thing or two about traveling around the world with a pop star husband, Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys and baby, Baylee Thomas Wylee, now 5, in tow. It’s no wonder that she created the Wylee Bags line. CBB got the chance to pick 38-year-old Leighanne’s brain about her new bag line and her family life in an exclusive interview.

Click below for the interview.


Wylee Bags

In the Bag:

My son inspired me to make my bags. We used to travel a lot and I was breastfeeding. And we had the Boppy and it was so great on planes because I would just sit him right there and he would just breastfeed during takeoff and landing. The [Boppy] was so awkward, and the only bag I could find looked like a little suitcase. So I came home and said, "We have to go buy a sewing machine. I don’t know how to sew, but we’re going to do it."

I got a machine and a sheet and I just cut out a pattern and started working on it. I literally, at one point, had pinned a ribbon from one side of the Boppy to the other and carried it on my shoulder to get through the airport. It’s so awkward, but yet your lifesaver when you want your hands free.

So that’s the reason why I did the baby bags. I could put my Boppy in there and have the whole entire middle section for diapers, bottles or whatever you need to put in it. Then the front pockets are for cell phones or your keys … so you can get to them easily.


Regaining your "pretty":


You kind of lose your "pretty" when you’re breastfeeding, or even when you’re a new mom. Unless you have a chef and a trainer and all that stuff, you lose your "pretty."

I had a tough time with getting back into the swing of things because I’m the kind of person who’s very hands on. I’m just a really, really hands-on mom, so it was really important for me to just learn everything.

It was a little tough at first, I was asking people, "How are you out? What happened to me?" But then I started the bags to help with regaining my "pretty."

The Marilyn bag was my absolute favorite. Because it was just really girlyand it just reminded me of my wedding dress — I had a corset weddingdress. I’ve gotten into the New York backpack, I like that one a lot.

From baby bag to toddler bag:


[Baylee], literally at one year, looked up at me and was like, "What is this boob for?" And that was it. I was like,"Thank God," because I don’t know if I could have handled a rough weaning — my sister had a really hard time. But he did it for me and then I made a smaller backpack and I started calling it my toddler bag.

I have his DVD player in it, his movies, his paper and crayons, and then I have my stuff that I clip to the outside — like my cell phone so I can get to it really fast. And I also use it now when I’m shopping or traveling and even when I don’t have [Baylee].

Listening to feedback:

Everyone has been asking for a handbag! So, I listened and I created a very functional and beautiful bag. We had a lot of Brian’s fans emailing my site, saying that they’rereally beautiful, but they’re so expensive. The reason [they’re expensive] is becausethey’re all hand made, everything is! I can’t do it cheaply — I can’t domass-produced.

You’ve got two bags in one and a lot of care goes intoeach one. They’re not that expensive to people who shop at the higherend boutiques, but offering a bagthat’s not reversible. It’s still pretty and has the lining. I have three more new fabrics in this line coming in by the end of March.  Wyleebagssupergirl

I also came out with the [Mini Bag], kind of a teen lineof bags. They aren’t reversible and they’re fairly cheap and madefrom really, young contemporary fabrics. I have everything from handbags, clutches, wallets, of course backpacks, diaper bags, and our newest bag, coming in April, will be a tote!

Fashionable AND functional:

It has to be functional. I carry my bags for at least a year or so,and I’ve made sure they’re comfortable. Is it easy to grab? Does ithurt me? I love the fabrics, the look of the bags. Is it pretty? Is itdesirable? Will it go with a lot?

A lot of the reason why I made themreversible is because one side is a little more crazy then the other — so you can tone it down. Functionality, obviously the pockets. Have youever gotten a bag and thought, "This will be great because it has a lot ofpockets?" But then you realize you don’t know what to do with all thepockets?

I got a bag recently like that and I thought, "Oh gosh, thiswill be helpful." And it was too much! So I stuck with really simple,and the big bag has more pockets for when you have your hands free. ButI always look for beauty and functionality.


Brian’s Bag:

Brianlittrellwyleebagcloseup_2When we found out that Brian was going to get to sell two pieces ofpersonal merchandise on the Backstreet Boys tour, we were excited andgot right to work on creating a bag that he loves and loves to wear. Hewas very instrumental in the design of the bag! It is a crossbody bag — some people alsolike to wear it around their waist.Wyleebagsjewelry_2

Jeweled inspirations:

The circles represent never-ending love. And, every piece of jewelry I created with three circles represents our family — my son, my husband, and me.



And Baylee made three:

To tell you the truth, mepersonally, I wasn’t ready for children. God just kind of decided itwas a good time for us to have one. I’ve always been a perfectionist,so you can imagine how hard it is to have a baby and then haveeverything go right or have everything go your way.

It’s taught meto be a little more laid back. It’s taught me how much I really know,like if you listen to your body and you listen to your child’s body … howmuch is out there that we kind of ignore everyday. You learn to listento your baby.

You hear "You have to do this… You have to do that…"But no, you don’t. If you listen to your baby, it will tell you exactly what it needs. You don’t realizethat as a mom, you think you’re supposed to "know" everything. It’s alittle more laid back then I thought it was, but it’s all consuming andall-time consuming.

Regaining sense of self:

It’s hard for me to make time for myself.People always say "Leighanne, you have to make time for yourself." And I’m trying to do it now — make time for myself. And Ithink before I got pregnant that’s what I was worried about, completelylosing myself. So I’m trying to find a happy medium.

All about Baylee:

He’s so sweet. He’s the kind of kid that makes a ball of wrapping paper into something amazing. He’s into making things, the other day he decided we had to do a book.We homeschool, and my sister is a substitute teacher, so she comes twodays a week and homeschools him, and we do the other three days. It’s beengreat that way, but again, it’s very time consuming.

We’re learningwhile he’s learning. He’s just amazing to me. He writes his own littlesongs and music; he decided that he was going to start a group with hiscousins. He’s an amazing creator. He’s probably going to be a writer orbe someone creative. But there’s nothing easy with this one, you can’tjust say, "Let’s go build a fort." It has to be a certain fort with a pulleythat flies across … And he likes everything motorized, he always saysit needs to move.

Terms of endearment:

[Baylee] has gone from BooBoo to Pooper to Punkin; he was my little monkey. He gets really mad if I call him Baylee. I call my husband, "husband" when we’re out because if I yell "Brian!" everyone turns around. And the other day I called him Brian and [Baylee] said "Mommy, don’t call him Brian, call him Husband or Daddy." And I was like, "Okay, honey. I won’t call you Baylee or him Brian."

It was really heartbreaking the other day. He said, "Momma, can I stop calling you mommy?" And I was like "Noooo, you’re 5! You have to call me Mommy until you’re at least 16."

Being involved in everything:

It’s hard in the celebrity part of it, to trust who’s going to keep your kids. We don’t have a nanny, we’ve only had an assistant who — literally — was like a glorified baby sitter. But we have done everything.

[Brian]’s a hands-on Dad. He’s amazing that way. Our assistant left to be a nurse and I haven’t replaced her, because it’s very important for us to have someone in our lives who is good quality. Baylee invests a lot into these people, so they need to be right. We’re just family first!

A day in the life:

When we’re home, we get up and we’re late risers, because none of us are morning people. So, we’ll get up and eat our breakfast. [Baylee] likes to drink a cup of decaf tea — Earl Gray — or decaf coffee. He’s my old soul baby. We’ll have breakfast and he usually has some cereal and then some eggs, and we eat for like an hour. It’s just kind of funny.

He’s like I was when I was little, I’d eat myself to sleep. Then we’ll go out and do school for a little while. If it’s a "me" day we do it in the afternoon, but if it’s my sister’s day they go up around 10:30/11am. And they’ll do school for two hours. They usually do a craft and they’ll do their letters (he’s starting to put words together). Then he’ll play around with the piano or something — my sister is teaching him that as well.

We’ve got so many acres out here, so we’ll just go out and play. If it’s too cold we always do a craft. Then it’s usually nap, because I’m usually exhausted and I’m a big nap person. If he’s really tired, he’s out. A lot of moms are like, "He just won’t sleep for me." And, I’m like, "You have to know your kid. You can’t miss your window." I know if I missed my nap opportunity to go do something that requires a little less patience.

When daddy’s out of town we’ll go do date night and he’ll help me grocery shop. I could not have asked for a better baby.

We are strict though, I don’t let him get away with murder, because Inever wanted a bratty kid. I didn’t go through the terrible twos orthrees, but four has been treacherous, especially with the last fewmonths. It’s like the aliens showed up and took my child! Four had beenkind of rough. I guess I’m getting two and three in a double whammy.

Backstreet baby:

We usually go on tour with [Brian] — like 2-3 weeks at a time. But with the smaller promotional tour we didn’t. I was helping manage [Brian’s] solo stuff, so obviously when I travel [Baylee] comes with me, or he stays with my mom.

In February we [went] to Japan with [Backstreet Boys] and then on to Australia. This [was] Baylee’s third time in Japan. We try to break it up if Brian’s gone for a long period. Two years ago he was in Europe and we went out for two weeks and then came back, because it’s hard to be on the tour.

Baylee actually loves it and the tour bus introduced him to a big boy bed. So that was fantastic — we put a guard up and everything. He’s a great flier, too. He makes sure we wipedeverything down with the anti-bacterial wipes, he knows when we have to get up andhe carries his suitcase. He’s been to seven different countries and he’s a gold medallion frequent flier!

Baylee loves [Brian’s band mates] and he’s great with the production people and the band people! He’ll get up and play the drums during sound check and they usually set up a mic for him when we’re on the Backstreet tour. And then when they do sound check he has his little teeny mic with him.

Developing relationships on-the-go:

A lot of people were like, "If you don’t have him a class at school, he’s not going to develop relationships." I remember growing up, until I had to be in first grade, I was with my mom and the "ladies." My mom was a beautician and I didn’t want to go to school. I just did everything I could to not be in school. And I had a very "cool" childhood that I wouldn’t change anything for.

I think Baylee’s such an old soul that he gets it. He’s very mature, other little kids don’t "get" him.
But there’s other ways, and he has friends in Tennessee and California and Florida. So, everywhere we go, he usually has a play date.

He’s super-friendly, we’ll be in a hotel and he’ll go, "Let’s go meet those people Momma." And I’m like, "Oh, well it’s not that easy baby." But he’s not shy in that way, he’s very outgoing.

Baylee and the bully:

He firstmet a bully a year ago. This little guy was just kind of mean to him, andBaylee’s small for his age (because, well, Brian and I are small!) sohe’s been talking about this bully for a year, saying "If I everencounter a bully again…" And I’ve been saying, "Baylee, stop, you’regoing to bring this on yourself."

Well, apparently he was being bullied [at a birthday party]by the biggest girl in my nephew’s class and she was picking on him. Sohe gave it right back to her. So, needless to say, I don’t think we’regoing to have to worry about him!


The [Backstreet Boys] fans give him everything, we literally have stuff in the closetbecause we don’t want him to have everything at once. And we do somedonations of things that we get doubles of or things he wouldn’t beinterested in.

We have like 40 acres, and he has more vehicles then we do. Andlast year two separate people — one producer we worked with, and a fan –sent him tractors. So, he had three, we make sure to give some away.

The spirit of Santa:

Every year we go to thesame Santa. And we tape it. It’s been really cool, this year he wantedto be an elf. He dressed up in his elf costume to go. He gets to askingthese questions, like "Is Santa a character? Is that the real Santa wego see?" I’m like, "Well baby, what do you think?"

He’s so smart, sosmart! I always thought I don’t wanna lie, but it’s the spirit. So evenwhen he finds out, I’ll still say it’s the spirit, that’s why we go tosee Santa.

We all watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ every year. We always make cookies,we usually have an open house where we have everyone come decorate thetree. This year we didn’t do so much because we’ve been traveling somuch. I usually have a Christmas theme in every room, I get a littlecrazy!


The buck stops here:

My husband would love four or even five kids. They’re men, so of course they want more! I said, "So here’s the uterus, here’s the ovaries — you can have one." For me, personally, I’m 38, I popped back and I feel like I’m a really good mother of one. 

Everyone’s like, "It’s easier with two." And my sister has two and it doesn’t look easier — she looks stressed out a lot of the time. She’s a year older then me, she had them later, too. So I feel like I have enough going on that I don’t feel like I want to have another one.

A lot of people say you need two, and I sort of say you need to mind your business. I think some women [have another] because of the pressure and the expectations of the world. I looked at my husband the other day and I said, "I don’t know why we have these expectations."

If you look at families in general, I’ve seen how some moms react to their children and they’re short-tempered, and I’m like, "Why are you having kids?" And the people who have all the nannies. I’m not opposed to nannies, but I’ve heard stories from interviewing, etc. that there are like 10 nannies, one for weekends, one for evenings … And, I’m like, "Why are you having children?" Look at who these kids are going to, they’ll never get to know their mommy and daddy. If you have to work so much to afford more kids, why are you having them?

And there again, in the end, it’s you. I’ve had to learn how to get my life back. I’m a perfectionist, I have to have a lot going on, I get bored very easily. And I grew up with two sisters; I [initially] wanted another child because I was worried he’d be lonely. My mom said I always wanted to be an only child. Women should really and truly not be ashamed of what their heart and head says, if they think they don’t want more [children].

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Showing 29 comments

Shanna on

I don’t think I like the way this lady talks about her son. He is five and drinks coffee?? She seems quite self-centered, and not quite dedicated to motherhood. homeschooling shouldn’t be a “ah, two hours” thing. But, whatever. I guess I’ve always seen how good of a father Brian is and how he looks at Baylee (a gorgeous child) but Leigh looks very into herself.

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dana on

I’m sorry but with her additude in the last piece on her. I’m deffently not a fan of hers.

I do admit her bags are nice. but still over priced.

Hey are they ever going to have another baby?

Becky's Daughter on

Go Girl! I’ll have to check out those bags. Cuter than carrying my Boppy around in the plastic wrap that it comes in.

The one part of this article that really touched me was how conscious she is about how many kids she feels that she can effectively parent. I hoped that she would be discussing this. I agree with her, as I too have witnessed many women who feel obligated to birth more children than they can handle although already overwhelmed as it is.

Aelys on

The only thing that surprised me a bit was the breakfast part, how Baylee drinks tea or coffee, even though it’s decaf. I’m curious as to why – is it because they chose to give him that or could Baylee be lactose intolerant?

Other than that, it’s a cute and honest interview.

madam pince on

Spot on, gf! If one is all you can handle, then don’t be bullied into more. One was more than enough for me.

tippy on

ugh really?
those bags are redic! and so i don’t say anything rude regarding that interview I will leave it at that!

a bag that is polyester and cotton should not cost over 50 dollars let alone 300! handmade or not!

this seems like a way for a “celebrity” mom to make a quick buck off of her husband’s popularity.

Erica on

This is a great interview. I love Leighanne’s hand’s on, laid-back approach to parenting and Baylee sounds like a total sweetheart. Her comments regarding having more kids are quite wise, especially considering that I personally know people who are struggling financially to support the children they already have. Now I’m not even necessarily talking about ALL big families (take the Duggars, who have 15+ kids and are apparently financially independent/debt free). I just think she’s done a good job of highlighting the idea that we women should do what is best for us, even if that means ignoring the pressures those around us try to impose!

Bobbi on

They seem like the sweetest family. And to witness Brian personally during tour with Baylee is completely adorable. I don’t have children of my own yet, but I do totally agree about Leighanne’s comment about how many children someone should have.

Stacey Smith on

That was an amazing interview! I’ve always thought the bags we a neat idea! I also loved hearing about some of what goes on in the Littrell home. I am a nanny of 2 myself, so it’s always interesting seeing the perspectives of different people. It really sounds like your head is full on straight when it comes to Bailey! I am actually glad to hear that you don’t stay on the tour the entire time with Bailey, as that was something I’ve thought about, and wondered how it worked.
Thank you for taking the time to share your bags and personally life with all of us! Good luck with all your future endeavors!

Alanna on

She seems like a down to earth mom.

I also think the coffee and tea is not a good thing for his teeth. He will be staining his lil teeth.

Jennifer on

I feel bad for Brian – he’s always said, even before he met Leighanne, that he wanted a big family. So she knew going into the relationship that he wanted to have several children. She said she wasn’t ready to have children – at 33? I think she cares more about herself – sleep and the way she looks than what Brian wants. NOw she’s using her age as an excuse not to have any more children. There are lots of women who have children – even in their 40’s. It’s sad that you don’t want to give your husband what he’s always dreamed about. Not every woman is up for 4 children but you can make a compromise and meet him halfway and have two children. Plus it’s nice for children to have a sibling. I have two boys, two years apart. It’s so beautiful to see them grow up together and develop this lifelong bond. It’s not about what society tells you – I wanted two so that my son will have a buddy that will always be there. Being with Mom all the time is not the same as having a sibling.

Jen DC on

I drank coffee until I was about 10 years old, from the time I was four or five. And it wasn’t decaf either. My mother got tired of me stealing her cup at breakfast and decided I should just have my own. I can’t imagine it’s not something similar at their house. He sees them having it, and because he’s being raised around mostly adults and they probably interact with him as a mature person, he thinks he should have what they have.

She sounds like a great Mom. But every time I see Baylee’s name, it makes me cringe, the Baylee/Wylee thing. Why?!?

Pam on

Great interview!!

The weaning story totally cracked me up!! My son was like that too, at 13 months. He just pretty much went cold turkey.

I agree that I wasn’t a fan of them decaf coffee/tea, but I suppose it’s better than sugary juice?

I really respect what Leighanne had to say about her decision to have only 1 child. She sounds like she has really thought about her decision in depth and is comfortable with it. I also like her honesty regarding the fact that Baylee was a surprise and she was not ready. I was 38 when I had my son, and still didn’t feel ready!

Kim on

hey well this don’t surprise me cause the way you see this family toghter I love them

Aelys on

@ Jen DC: from what I heard, but I could be wrong, both Baylee and Wylee come from Brian and Leighanne’s names. Their first names, Brian, (Bay-) and Leighanne (-Lee), for Baylee and last names, Wallace (Wy-) and Littrell (-Lee), for Wylee.

Kelly on

Baylee’s full name is Baylee Thomas Wylee Littrell and like Aelys posted earlier, it comes from a combo of Brian and LeighAnne’s names, plus Thomas is Brian’s middle name.

Cynthia on

Actually Wylee is her stepdads name, but Baylee is a combo of both of their names.

tuki on

more time it happens more I love this woman, not only for his sincerity but also for the life that it has infested of simplicity. Brian and Leighanne take together from July, 1997 that is to say 3 of fiancés and 8 as marriage resting mutually, because before Baylee was born she was already travelling with him, are not great the partners in this profession that last without separating, this is a very clear example of real love. And very sensible the decision of Leighanne not to have any more children, even if it had decided not to have any also would have supported her! This is a good sense

Tanya on

It saddens me that Baylee will stay an only child, especially since he is a perfectly healthy child with happily married parents. And Brian obviously wants at least one more, so why can`t she have another one for him? And its sad to hear that Baylee was an accident, not a planned baby. Being so strikt about only wanting this one child it makes me wonder what she will do if another accidental pregnancy ever happens? And why homeschool Baylee when he, especially since being an only child, needs other kids his age to play with and become friends with?

Luciana on

LOVED the interview… and feel exactly the same way about having just one kid. I had a rough time figuring out how to get “myself” back, how to be a great mom without being only a mom… it’s hard, and I admire her for being honest and knowing what she wants and what is good for her family. And the bags are amazing!! If only I had found something like that in my 14 months breastfeeding…🙂

Jenny on

I enjoyed her interview, although the home schooling bit bothered me. I don’t know. Maybe it worked for her but what about what Baylee wants? I volunteer at a YMCA a few times a week and the children that are home schooled have such a difficult time adjusting socially to the other kids and are usually the odd man out when it comes to games and teams. I would never think to home school my children.

Tanya on

I agree about home schooling it seems wrong to do it when baylee is an onlychild and therefor needs going to school to make friends with other kids his age. He already seem to be a bit different when she talks about how other little kids don`t get him. And why would he get so mad when his mom calls him by his name?
I`ve been a backstreet and Brian fan for years and I`ve always thought the Littrells would have two kids, I would love to see Baylee as a big brother. So to me its a bit sad that he`ll stay an only child, especially when they travell so much it must be sad not to have another child to play with, and only be surrounded by grown ups all the time. I work in daycare and knows that even 3 year olds needs a constant group of little friends their age around them, not just playdates with another child here and there. Every child needs a best friend or two also. Maybe baylees cousins are his best friends?

Elisabeth on

I think it all depends on how the child is taught and how much the child is exposed to other kids. I thought growing up as homeschooling was becoming more popular that I wouldn’t do it because some of the kids around me were a little on the strange side. However it was because the mom sheltered them not because they were homeschooled. In high school I was homeschooled because I traveled alot. It was awesome. I was able to graduated 2 years ahead of schedule and I got to go to college. Some schools just aren’t up to par especially where I live the public and private schools aren’t that awesome. I was able to socialize and homeschooling didn’t keep me from socializing. Some parents do it right some do it wrong, you can’t put homeschooling all in one or judge someone just because they choose that Homeschooling is best for their family not all families are like what you’ve experienced. Some kids “don’t get” kids even if they’re in a public/private school. My children will either be homeschooled or attend a private school. My husband are involved with youth in our church and we teach a class each Wed., some of the kids are homeschooled in our class and are among the smartest in the class. In class we teach a wide range of subjects (its like boy scouts) and the ones that are homeschooled are no different socially than the ones that attend public schools. Some parents do great at homeschooling some don’t, but really you can’t group them all in the same basket. Leighanne and Brian are doing a great job and know what’s best for Baylee. I think they are doing whats best for him and at the end of the day thats whats most important. He’s happy and he seems so smart! I can’t wait to buy some of her diaper bags they are so nice!

Sara on

I agree with Tanya. It sounds like Baylee’s very different from other 5-year olds and he would benefit so much from a sibling. Not only would he always have someone to play with but he would have someone to teach and learn from. Siblings are such a great experience for children. I also feel he is missing out not being able to be with other children his age by being homeschooled. My 3-year old is in daycare and has made several friendships already that he truly enjoys and it’s the cutest thing to see your child make friends. Being with cousins is not the same. I wonder if the Littrells don’t trust other people to let their children play with their little boy?

Joan on

Baylee actually comes from George Bailey from the movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life”, which both Brian and Leighanne love. They just changed the spelling. Leighanne said this herself.

But yes Thomas is Brian’s middle name to.

I can’t remeber why he got Wylee, but I think it was a family member(Leighanne)’s name…

Aelys on

I just wanted to say that I bought a couple of bags from Wylee Bags (a “Handi Sak” and a makeup bag) and they ARE a lot bigger than they look (I imagine how big the diaper bags and back packs must be!). They’re pretty too. They come each in a matching organza bag and includes a thank you card from the Littrell family and a small booklet with pictures of all the Wylee bags and jewelry, including an adorable picture of Baylee wearing one of the Mini Bags (you can tell he loves the camera!🙂 )

Jordan on

You know, I make similar bags at home… they’re honestly not hard to make! Why would they be so expensive that only people shop in the boutiques would want them? I sold mine in high school. Does the bag pack itself or something?🙂

Nikki on

I happen to LOVE Leighanne…..she seems like a wonderful mother and Brian is obviously very happy with his life with her, as they just renewed their vows after 10 years. They seem very much in love and Bailey seems like an incredibly grounded child. Furthermore, Leighanne is always very Cordial with Brian’s fans….she doesn’t have to be, since many of them are not at all cordial to her.

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