Garth Brooks Opens Up About His First Marriage and Walking Away From Country Music

·2 min read

Garth Brooks is having a good year so far.

Apart from selling out stadiums for his 2021 tour, the Grammy-winning country artist recently received his rainbow ribbon at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in Washington D.C. for his contributions to the arts.

Reflecting on his early days trying to break into the country music scene, Garth opened up to CBS This Morning's Gayle King about how his success as an artist took a toll on his first marriage with his ex-wife and college sweetheart, Sandy Mahl. As Garth remembered, when his first record, Garth Brooks, was certified gold, he admitted that he "probably didn't handle" being famous "well."

"A nation watches you grow up, right? So you're gonna make decisions that you go, 'Man, I wish I could take that one back,'" Garth told Gayle. "But the truth is, now, if changing anything then meant any part of now would change, no thank you."

Though Garth's popularity grew rapidly in the '90s, his marriage at home with Sandy began to suffer. This prompted Garth to make the tough decision in 2000 to take a step back from country music and prioritize his home life with his daughters — Taylor, 28, August, 27, and Allie, 24.

"Once children come into the mix, children take the lead. That's it," Garth declared. "They didn't want to come in this place. It wasn't their choice, we brought them in. So, even though Sandy and I were not going to be able to complete our marriage, we still had our children to raise."

Garth and Sandy finalized their divorce in 2001. In 2005, Garth married fellow country artist Trisha Yearwood.

Garth continued: "The country music audience has given you everything. Now you just simply ask them, 'I'm going to go home and raise my babies.' The big surprise was never, ever thinking you were going to be let back in."

Despite Garth being "scared to death" when he decided to return to the country music world 14 years later, he remembers everyone being "so sweet" about it.

"Country is the best place to be," Garth concluded. "Because, one, you have the most loyal audience there could possibly be, and they will wait for you."

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