Garth Brooks is opening up about his first marriage and the surprises he’s hearing from his ex-wife in a new two-part A&E documentary. Brooks says he didn’t know a lot about what was going behind the scenes in his marriage or family until he watched ex-wife Sandy Mahl’s interview for the doc.
“What really surprised me was Sandy, the girls’ mom. She was phenomenal,” Brooks said in a recent interview with Us Weekly while promoting the special, “The Road I’m On.”
That’s the thing, says the country music icon. He was on the road and he just didn’t get it. His ex-wife was keeping everything together and he was out there being a superstar.
“[I was] gone so much on the road [during our marriage], there were things I guess she was [trying to tell] me that I didn’t hear until this biography,” he said.
“It’s rare you get to hear the other side. I just saw her and I think I hugged her harder than I ever have now that I know things that either I didn’t hear or that she didn’t say until now.”
Brooks married Mahl in 1986 and they have three daughters together. The pair went through Brooks rise to superstardom together. They divorced in 2000. Brooks later married Trisha Yearwood. The pair had met when he was still married to Mahl.
Brooks doesn’t shy away from his feelings about Yearwood, either. He recalled what he said when someone asked what he thought when he met her.
“I said, ‘I felt like I just met my wife,'” he recalled.
He knows that sounds strange considering they first met in 1988, just a short while after he married Mahl. That’s “weird, right,” he asks.
“But the girls’ mother and I were married in a church, in front of our families,” he said.
“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.”
Brooks is now more philosophical about his relationship and life.
“So I have to believe that things happen when they happen. I feel very lucky right now where I’m at. So even if I did have regrets, I wouldn’t change anything in fear of changing where I’m at right now.”
Brooks expanded on his thoughts, telling Fox News his daughters couldn’t have had a better mother than Mahl. He says she did everything she could to give them a normal upbringing despite his meteoric rise to the top of the entertainment world.
Promoting the documentary has given Brooks time to reflect and see what he had been missing. He recalled how Mahl said her favourite time of the day was the soundcheck. It gave them a chance to be a family.
“And man, when you see that footage, when you see those little bitty babies running around soundcheck and you hear that music and you hear how quiet that arena or stadium is, that’s when you recognize, holy cow, this is when everything slowed down for her,” he said.
“I didn’t get that until now. I didn’t get until I watched it in those frames. That was her prime time.”
Does he understand it now?
“I totally get it now.”
You can catch the second part of “The Road I’m On” tonight.