Although he always believed he would pursue a career in sports, Garth Brooks ended up becoming one of the most famous country singers of all time thanks to his music talent.
It was during his years at the Oklahoma State University that Brooks became aware of his love for singing and performing. He and his friends experimented with music in their dorm rooms and soon after, Brooks decided to take his guitar to a local salon named Willie’s and ask if he could perform. Once on stage, with all those people listening to him playing and singing, Brooks knew music was his calling.
“One night turned into two nights, three nights, and pretty soon I was playing Monday through Friday all over town,” Brooks recalled to Colbert. “The great thing was, it wasn’t working … I could feed myself and somebody I loved doing something that isn’t a job!”
Next, he formed his band Santa Fe, which performed music covers.
“The greatest thing about clubs is there’s no one in between you and the people you’re playing for,” he told PBS.
“There is no “yes men” between you and them; it’s just honesty. They’re going to let you know. And they’re going to let you know right away. So you learn quick what works and what doesn’t.”
What felt like the right thing to do at the time was moving to Nashville, where Brooks believed he could make a career. But things didn’t turn as expected and he soon returned to Stillwater, a bit disappointed from the pace with which his career was moving.
Then, one night changed it all for Brooks. He took part in a writer’s round at the famous Bluebird Café. The person who was supposed to perform second didn’t show up and Brooks took the stage instead. He sang If Tomorrow Never Comes, not aware that among the crowd there was the Capitol Records label head Lynn Shults.
Shults was mesmerized by Brooks’ performance and told him to stop by his office the following day. On June 17, 1988, Capital Records signed Brooks for an advance of $10,000. The following year, he released his first single, Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old), which reached No. 8 in the charts.
At the time his career took off and he rose to stardom, Brooks was married to wife Sandy with whom he has three children. She was his greatest support and was always by his side, but eventually, Brooks’ many tours, promotions, and performances, which required from him to be away from home, were too much to handle for Sandy. The two filed for divorce, which was finalized in 2001.
“Sandy is kind of doing my job and her job with the girls. If Sandy is doing her job, she’s telling them, ‘Hey, your dad loves you to death. He’s just working, and he’ll be home soon.’ Well, I didn’t have anybody to do that anymore,” he said about the divorce, shortly after he announced he wanted to retire from music in order to be able to spend more time with his daughters.
The divorce of Brooks and Sandy became a much-talked-about topic, especially because of the hefty settlement worth $125 million, which she received.
The former partners maintained a co-parenting schedule for 14 years. Despite the divorce, their daughters were seeing both parents every morning and every evening. “That’s how we ran it because we knew it was right for those kids. If you did what was right for the kids, you were going to do what was right for you. It was simple,” Brooks said.
In 2005, Brooks married his second wife, Trisha Yearwood, a very famous singer on her own right. Speaking to US Weekley, Brooks said that Trisha became an active participant in raising his daughters. He, Sandy, and Trisha often attend the girls’ many sporting events together.
“I will say, I’d never wished divorce on anybody, but [for us,] three children and three parents worked really well, especially since the three girls were all tomboys. So they were all at soccer, track and field, softball, and never ever did one of those kids take the field where at least one parent wasn’t in the stands,” Brooks told US Magazine.
Brooks has won 23 Academy of Country Music Awards over the course of his career, and was nominated for two Primetime Emmys in 1999 for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program and Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special for his Garth Live From Central Park special. He has a net worth of $400 million.