Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have plans for The Rest of (Their) Life — and a new chapter is about to begin. After over a decade of carpool, basketball games and even a few family tours, the power couple’s three daughters “have their own lives now,” Hill tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
Gracie, 21, Maggie, 19, and Audrey, 16, are far from the little girls who had their mom pick them up from school and their dad coach their basketball teams. With Gracie and Maggie in college and Audrey halfway through high school, their famous parents are preparing for a serious lifestyle change.
“The girls are old enough now that if Mom and Dad want to focus on music together, it’s less of a problem and more of a kick,” says Holly Gleason, a music writer and McGraw’s former publicist.
Only with this new, empty-nester mentality will Hill and McGraw consider a joint, full-time gig on the road. When their girls started going to school over 10 years ago, Hill took a break from recording her 2005 album Fireflies to stay at home with her kids. McGraw continued to perform, but flew home whenever he got a chance — showing up at almost every play, musical and track meet.
“We made a choice to do it that way, and we don’t regret it for a second,” Hill tells PEOPLE. “They come first no matter what.”
In 2006 and 2007, the country powerhouses took their family on tour. Even on the road, the duo made parenting a priority — ensuring there was space for the kids to play and do schoolwork, and even taking the occasional field trip.
“I remembered seeing Faith in a lawn chair helping her kids paint, and I’m like, ‘Oh she’s a housewife just like I am,'” says friend and songwriter Lori McKenna. “And she really is. It’s just that she looks and can sing like Faith Hill!”
For more on How Tim McGraw and Faith Hill keep their love alive, pick up this week’s 100 Reasons to Love America issue, on newsstands Friday.
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But just because the kids have (almost) flown the coop does not mean the ups and downs of parenthood are over. Just last year, McGraw met his eldest daughter’s first date — and he did so covered in blood. Home and preparing for a barbecue, McGraw opened the door to greet the lucky boy in a blood-splattered apron, knife in hand.
“It worked out really well,” the singer joked.
Now, Hill and McGraw are enjoying their Soul2Soul tour. It’s Hill’s first time back on the road in 10 years, and there is one especially notable difference — the kids are too busy to tag along.