Alan Jackson turns another year older on Oct. 17, celebrating his 60th birthday in undoubtedly star-studded style.
After arriving in Nashville in the '80s, Jackson went on to become one of the biggest artists of his generation, selling millions of records, scoring over 30 No. 1 hits, winning numerous awards and even opening his own bar on Lower Broadway in Nashville.
Considering himself a songwriter first and foremost, Jackson carved a path by offering his own brand of traditional country, earning himself legions of fans along the way.
Read on for a few interesting facts about Jackson.
He has his wife to thank for his first record deal
The singer's wife, Denise, worked as a flight attendant and passed Jackson's demo along to Glen Campbell, which ultimately led to Jackson scoring a record deal.
"I will always feel like I owe Glen a lot of gratitude — he was my first contact in Nashville when my wife, Denise, was a flight attendant. She met him at the airport and he gave her his business card for his publishing company," Jackson shared on Instagram after Campbell's death in 2017. "This connection lead me down the path that brought me to where I am today."
His first job was in a shoe store
Jackson started working when he was 12 years old, and his first job was in a shoe store. He also worked as a forklift operator at a Kmart warehouse in his home state of Georgia and in the mail room at The Nashville Network after moving to Music City.
As a young man, Jackson was always interested in music, and his first performance was in a second grade assembly program. He also played Barnaby in his high school’s production of Sing Out, Sweet Land.
His favorite drink is Jack Daniels
While the Georgia native isn't much of a drinker, he does occasionally sip on some Jack Daniels while songwriting, even giving the drink credit for some of his biggest hits.
One thing he does love, however, is chocolate, a choice that stems from childhood and is still one of Jackson's favorite things. He also loves turnip greens but hates kale and brussels sprouts, and he can "make good cornbread from scratch."
He grew up with four sisters
Jackson hails from Newman, Georgia, and has four sisters. The family's home was built around his grandfather's old tool shed, and the singer's bedroom was a hallway for a period of time. Jackson's mom, Ruth, lived in the home for 70 years until she passed away in 2017.
His favorite sandwich is pineapple and mayonnaise
Jackson's unusual choice is likely easy for him to make while he's on the road, as he told Us Weekly that he's never without Blue Plate mayonnaise when he's on tour.
In fact, the star loves the sandwich so much he even included a photo of the choice in his cookbook, Who Says You Can’t Cook It All. While he didn't offer a recipe, the sandwich seems easy enough to make and features pineapple rings between mayonnaise-covered slices of white bread. The sandwich is popular with Jackson and other residents of Newman.
His hobby is restoring antique cars
Speaking to Us, the star revealed that he has one huge passion aside from music.
"My greatest passion is restoring antique cars," he said.
Jackson is also a fan of watching classic reruns on TV Land and billed himself as a "Weather Channel junkie."
He and his wife separated in 1997
Jackson married Denise in 1979 after meeting her at a local Dairy Queen when they were teenagers. The couple had three daughters and separated for a time in 1997 amid Jackson's infidelities. They reconciled the following year, and Denise reflected on their relationship in her book, It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life.
"His betrayal and our separation were what led to this new, passionate love relationship with God and also led to us being able to have the kind of marriage that we both always wanted but just didn’t know how to have" Denise told PEOPLE in 2007.
"Our marriage isn't perfect," she continued. "Even now, every day is a work in progress. I feel like our relationship now is based on love and respect and I think Alan sees me as an equal partner now versus the old relationship, when it was based more on dependency."
He had a pet monkey as a child
Jackson had a pet squirrel monkey while growing up in Georgia, though he and Denise now have a more common animal in their household. The couple shares a 4-pound Yorkie, Coco, who sleeps at the foot of their bed in her very own pink dog bed.
He began wearing his signature hat to cover a scar on his forehead
It's hard to imagine Jackson without his signature cowboy hat, though the singer didn't start wearing it for sentimental reasons — rather, it was for vanity.
"I started wearing a hat to cover up a scar on my forehead," Jackson revealed to Us.
Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Merritt / ACMA2018