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Garth Brooks is up for Entertainer of the Year at this year's CMAs.
He and his longtime love Trisha Yearwood are getting ready to celebrate their 14th anniversary this December.
Here's the story of how country music's reigning power couple met and fell in love.
With Garth Brooks up for the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award at the 53rd Country Music Association Awards (alongside Carrie Underwood, no less!), we've been reminiscing on his magical love story with fellow singer Trisha Yearwood. Yes, they're now one of country music's most recognizable couples—but did you know the two were friends before either singer was signed by a record label?
Believe it or not, the pair met in 1987 while recording a demo at songwriter Kent Blazy's attic studio and immediately hit it off.
"It's strange because I felt that feeling like when you just meet your wife, but I'd been married [to Sandy Mahl] for 13 months," Garth, 57, said of their first meeting in a 2013 interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. (Trisha was also married at the time, to musician Chris Latham.)
Garth promised Trisha, now 55, that she could open for him once he got a record deal, according to CMT. Two years later, following the release of his first album, Garth kept his word and the two friends went on tour together. They also collaborated on duets such as "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart" from Trisha's debut album and "In Another's Eyes," which appeared on her 1997 record, A Collection of Hits.
Garth retired to spend more time with his daughters in 2002, and a year later, he and Sandy filed for divorce. By that point, Trisha had divorced, remarried, and split with her second husband, bass player Bobby Reynolds.
Quietly and away from the public eye, romance began to blossom for the longtime friends. In 2002, they were spotted holding hands at a memorial service for Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard—their first public acknowledgment of their feelings for each other. After that, they made appearances together here and there, at events and restaurants.
Speaking with Ellen DeGeneres about the dissolution of his first marriage and his burgeoning relationship with Trisha, Garth couldn't help but get a little romantic.
"You keep hacking [at marriage], you work and you work, and then comes that time where you're looking at the rest of your life going, how do you want to live it?" he told the TV host. "[Trisha] is somebody who I always enjoyed being around, and we had a lot more in common than I ever dreamed we did and we started seeing each other after the divorce, after we came off tour."
The couple got engaged in 2005 at Hee Haw star Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, a country music venue in Bakersfield, California. They were there for the unveiling of bronze statues of Garth and fellow music legends Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Elvis.
When Garth's statue was revealed, the likeness featured a wedding band on its left hand—a dead giveaway of what was about to happen. "You're not going [to do this] in front of these people?" Trisha asked, mock pouting.
On stage, in front of a crowd of 7,000 people, Garth got down on one knee, removed his hat, and asked, "Will you marry me?" Even though they'd been living together for years at that point, friends say Trisha was stunned."Her knees were like Jell-O," talent coordinator Jerry Hufford told People.
She said yes, of course, all the while shedding tears of joy. They tied the knot later that year at their Oklahoma home, in the presence of just four family members.
Since then, the couple has proven that their partnership is a strong one. They've toured together, performed at the CMA Awards together, and, even released a joint album.
This year, they will celebrate their 14-year wedding anniversary on December 10—but they won't be alone. Each year, in addition to a romantic experience for themselves, they host a "group anniversary" with their children.
"When I married Garth, he had three daughters, so I became a 'bonus mom,'" Trisha explained to Rachael Ray in an interview back in June 2019. "You're a bonus mom because the girls have a mom, so I get to be another woman in their life who loves them."
As Trisha puts it, "Our anniversary is our anniversary," emphasizing the girls' role in their marriage. Cheers to year 14, you two!
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