When Garth Brooks announced his split from his first wife, Sandy Mahl, in 200, his three daughters were 8, 6 and 4 years old, and he was suddenly co-parenting by himself, with his children dividing their time between Mahl's house and his. It was a trying time for Brooks, who announced his retirement the same month he announced he was ending his marriage, and admits everyone might not have turned out as well if not for the help of his current wife, Trisha Yearwood, who became an integral part in his entire family.
“I just said goodbye to music, got divorced, moved back to Oklahoma and left Nashville,” Brooks said ahead of his The Road I'm On documentary on A&E, via Us Weekly. “I was living with three strange women that I did not know. They were 8, 6 and 4. And I was about to get a crash course in females. … And my best friend showed up.”
Yearwood, who doesn't have children of her own, stepped in to help, over time becoming the third parent Brooks never realized they needed until she showed up.
“It was good, [she] helped me out a lot. She didn’t have children either. So we were kind of blind leading the blind,” Brooks recalled. “I’d never wish divorce on anybody, but three children and three parents worked really well, especially since the girls were all tomboys. So they were all at soccer, track and field, softball. Never ever did one of those kids take the field where at least one parent wasn’t in the stands. … I love music to death, really do. But there’s nothing like loving your babies.”
It was while Brooks was holding his oldest daughter, Taylor, when she was just born, that he made a vow he would eventually retire, keeping his word eight years later. In hindsight, he sees that everything, including his painful divorce, worked out the way it was supposed to, and has no regrets about any of it.
“My Taylor wouldn’t be Taylor. Little August, there’s hard-headed and then there’s whatever, August is! She wouldn’t be that defiant cool chick. And then our little Allie, our little dreamer. She wouldn’t be here. They’re the perfect blend of their mama and me with Trisha’s influence on them.
“If we’d gotten married then, either the career wouldn’t have been what it was in the ’90s or our marriage wouldn’t have lasted," he continued, speaking of his early attraction to Yearwood. "So I have to believe that things happen when they happen. I feel very lucky right now where I’m at. Even if I did have regrets, I wouldn’t change anything in fear of changing where I’m at right now.”
The Road I'm On airs on Monday and Tuesday night, Dec. 2 and 3, on A&E.
Photo Credit: Getty / Frazer Harrison