Garth Brooks is one of the biggest names not only in country music, but in the entire music industry. Country fans and country music haters alike are familiar with his hits such as "Friends in Low Places" and "The Thunder Rolls." He is also credited with bringing pyrotechnics and headset microphones to country music.
His personality seems larger than life, and leads you to wonder what the man is like behind the scenes. What do his friends and family say about him? What about people who have worked with him, like other songwriters and stars - what are their thoughts? Brooks has been in the public eye for more than three decades, so there are plenty of opinions about him. Here's a list to pull the veil back a bit on the man, the myth, and the legend.
Rodeo champion, songwriter, and singer Chris LeDoux became good friends with Garth Brooks in the 1990s. LeDoux was primarily famous in his local Wyoming until Brooks, a long-time fan unbeknownst to LeDoux, mentioned him in one of his hit songs, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)."
As national interest in LeDoux piqued, Brooks's record label signed the artist and the two formed a friendship. LeDoux reflected on this relationship in a 2001 interview:
And here he comes along and mentions the worn-out tapes in his song. To me, Garth, he's kind of like my guardian angel. It's like every time I need some help, he's there.
Brooks was so much of a guardian angel, in fact, that he even offered to donate part of his liver in 2000 when LeDoux was diagnosed with an inflammatory liver disorder. Unfortunately, Brooks wasn't a match. LeDoux did obtain a transplant, but developed liver cancer in 2004 and passed in 2005. Brooks wrote the song "Good Ride Cowboy" in honor of his friend.
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Daughter Allie Colleen Brooks Says Her Dad Was Always There For Her
Garth Brooks married Sandy Mahl in 1986. Together, they had three daughters before separating in 1999: Taylor Mayne was born in 1992, August Anna in 1994, and Allie Colleen in 1996.
It came as a shock to the country world when Brooks decided to retire in 2001, seemingly at the height of his career. The reason? He wanted to be there for his daughters. Both he and Mahl put their careers on hold to focus on their children. As daughter Allie admitted in a 2018 interview, "I don’t know what it’s like to have celebrity parents. My dad was there every night."
She went on to say that despite her father's celebrity status, she and her sisters were oblivious to it; hers was just a normal childhood:
My parents were phenomenal in the way that they shut down everything to raise us. We came home, we did our homework, we played outside, we got disciplined. We were rowdy kids.
Martina McBride, a country star in her own right, has many kind things to say about Garth Brooks, and for a very good reason: she credits him with helping her get her career started. Before she became a household name, McBride worked for Brooks on his tour selling merchandise. She later got to open for him on an early-1990s tour after Brooks discovered her talent.
When McBride invited her former boss to the opening of her own exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame, he told her he wouldn't miss it:
It was really special for him to take his time and come to that event because he did give me such a huge opportunity when I opened that tour. We did 77 shows together, and at the time, I don't even think my single was out when we did our first couple of shows... So, it was really a leap of faith.
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Country Artist Brett Kissel Says Brooks Is A 'Unicorn'
In 2019, Brett Kissel was an up-and-coming artist with two of his biggest songs recently released. For the cherry on top of his sundae, he got to open for Garth Brooks in sold-out stadiums throughout Canada. The experience of opening for Brooks was nothing short of surreal for Kissel:
Opening for Garth Brooks and performing with him, standing shoulder to shoulder with him, was what Cloud 9 feels like. It was in the center of a football stadium standing next to Garth Brooks with 55,000 people there.
Garth, to me, is a unicorn. He is a mythical creature that is almost like he doesn’t exist. The things that Garth has done are genuinely out of this world and outside the realm of capabilities from almost everybody else.
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One-Time Crewmember Carson Emeigh Says Brooks Was 'A Really Friendly Guy'
Carson Emeigh was about to start his last year of college in Lincoln, NE, in the summer of 2021. Along with fellow University of Nebraska students, he had the chance to join a question-and-answer session with Garth Brooks and his stage crew prior to a concert.
When he asked Brooks what it took to get started in the industry, Brooks invited him to find out first-hand, by working with his crew for his concert the next night. Emeigh had this to say of his experience:
His team is really top tier. They have some great people who put in a lot of energy and effort into everything that they do.
I tried not to be starstruck because I was working for him. So I kept it at, "Thank you for giving me this opportunity" and stuff. It was really, really nice. He was just a really friendly guy who had a lot of great things to say.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have been married more than 15 years, and their love is stronger than ever. They first met in a recording studio in 1988, but were both married to other people at the time. They frequently ran into each other and became casual friends, and then musical collaborators, but didn't start dating until both were single in 2002. Ever since then, the country power couple regularly gush over each other.
In a 2021 interview with Fox News, Yearwood replied to a question on whether Brooks was as perfect as he seemed:
There are things that he does that kind of drive me nuts but they are not bad. He really is, at the end of the day, even when I'm mad at him, he listens. Even when I think he's not listening to me, he is. He's kind, he's very generous and he's very thoughtful. He's always thinking about other people.
She went on to reveal that he treats her like a queen. Quite literally:
I'm like, "Dude, we've been together a long time, you can call me Trisha. Like, it's fine." Even at home, he'll just be like "Miss Yearwood" or "the queen." I never asked him to call me the queen; I never asked him to bow. I allow him to but I don't make him do that.