Garth Brooks was honored with the Icon Award at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday night, receiving the award from previous winner Cher. After Cher listed Brooks' numerous accomplishments during her speech, he took the mic to offer thanks to her as well as the most important people in his life.
"Cher, getting to hold the award that you got makes me feel cool — and cool is never a word I would use to describe me," Brooks joked. "If I had to think of one person or one entity, it would be God Almighty, for through him all things are possible." He also thanked "the love of my life," wife Trisha Yearwood, as well as his three daughters, who he shares with ex-wife Sandy Mahl. "I will love you for all my time on this planet," he said, adding, "Country radio, you gave me this! To all those people who fill those stands, thank you! Thank you for my life!"
Prior to the show, Brooks used Instagram to share a photo of himself and Yearwood sharing a masked kiss as they stood backstage in an arena, Brooks holding a guitar in his hands as he prepared to perform.
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"The @Billboard Awards are TONIGHT!!" his caption read. "You're not going to believe who is presenting! And we brought ALL of you with us...can i just say, y'all are going to look AMAZING on the show tonight!! Thank you for the ride:) love, g."
After the show, he posted a photo of himself on stage with Cher and wrote, "Receiving the @Billboard Icon Award from @CHER! Now THAT is iconic and the greatest honor!! love, g."
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After he was presented with his award, Brooks performed a medley of his hits, beginning with “The Thunder Rolls” before moving into snippets of “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” “The River,” “Standing Outside the Fire,” “That Summer,” “Dive Bar,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “The Dance.” As he sang, footage of 80,000 fans from his past stadium shows appeared behind him. The Oklahoma native was in the middle of a multi-year stadium tour when the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing him to reschedule multiple shows.
It was announced in February that Brooks would be receiving Billboard's Icon Award, which has previously gone to Cher, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey. Brooks is the most successful solo U.S. recording artist of all time, having sold over 157 million albums. He is the only act to have nine albums certified by the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million each and is also the only country artist to have charted songs on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in each decade between the '80s and the '20s.