The first time Garth Brooks held his daughter Taylor in his arms in 1992, he made a promise to her that by the time she turned 6-years-old, he'd be done with music.
At that time, Brooks was already one of country music's biggest stars ever. He had just released his Ropin' The Wind album a year earlier, which became one of the best-selling records to date of any genre. Despite the excellent position Brooks was in with his career, he decided he still wanted to take a step back.
"I said, 'Look, by the time you're 6 years old, that's when school starts, I'll be done,'" Brooks told The Tennessean. "I missed it by two years."
It wasn't until 2000 that Brooks announced to the public that he was going to retire. By that time, he was the father of three daughters, Taylor, August and Allie. He also revealed that he and his first wife, Sandy Mahl, were getting a divorce after 14-years of marriage.
"I was getting divorced," Brooks said. "Sandy is kind of doing my job and her job with the girls. If Sand is doing her job, she's telling them, 'Hey, your dad loves you to death. He's just working, and he'll be home soon,' Well, I didn't have anybody to do that anymore."
Around the same time, Brooks' mother, who was one of his biggest fans and supporters, died. "There was a lot of real life kind of hitting me," Brooks said.
Brooks goes on to explain the exact moment he went in front of the microphone to announce his retirement, recalling his struggle to get the word out. "It's not because you don't want to, it's just holy s**t, it's a real thing," he said.
Following his retirement, the divorce was made official and it was time for Brooks to focus on his daughters. Brooks and Mahl found a way to co-parent the best they could with a plan that allowed each parent to see their daughters every day.
"They saw both their parents in the morning and both parents in the evening and for 14 years," he explained. "That's how we ran it because we knew it was right for those kids. If you did what was right for the kids, you were going to do what was right for you. It was simple."
Years later, in 2005, the same year he married Trisha Yearwood, Brooks started to come back into the public eye. In 2009, Steve Wynn asked Brooks to play a residency at Wynn Las Vegas. Initially, he was hesitant and quite positive he'd turn down the offer. However, when meeting, Wynn promised the singer that he would still be able to spend just as much time with his daughters.
"It was almost like, 'Well, good luck doing that. How the he** do you do that?'" Brooks said. "And when the first thing he said was, 'We're going to have to get you your own plane,' I looked at Trisha and said, 'This guy is serious.'"
Brooks did the residency for four years and after, thanks to encouragement from Yearwood and the fact that his three daughters had grown up, Brooks decided to get back on the road.
"I worship my girls," he said. "I just didn't know what I was gonna do with myself. The love of my life figured out it was hurting me. She said, 'Did you ever think about touring again?'"
More recently, Brooks has announced he's bringing his epic Stadium Tour to Charlotte, North Carolina on May 2, 2020. In November he took the stage at the 2019 CMA Awards to perform his latest single, "Dive Bar" with Blake Shelton. On top of his performance on country music's big night, Brooks was also named Entertainer of the Year.
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