The 57-year-old country singer, recognized as the best-selling solo artist of all time, is the focus of a two-night special on A&E titled “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On.” Not only does Brooks detail his personal life and career, but the show also features never-before-seen interviews with his wife Trisha Yearwood, as well as his ex-wife Sandy Mahl, Keith Urban, George Strait and many others.
But the appearances that stunned the star were those of his daughters from his marriage to Mahl: August, Allie and Taylor.
Brooks spoke to Fox News about why the girls came forward, the secret behind his lasting marriage to Yearwood, 55, as well as how he really feels about winning the Entertainer of the Year award at this year’s CMA Awards.
Fox News: How does it feel to have your story told in a two-night documentary event like this one?
Garth Brooks: Well, [longtime manager and friend] Bob Doyle… said, “Man, A&E is talking about [doing] a biography.” He goes, “I suggest if you're ever going to do it, do it with these guys. But here's the blessing and the curse. The blessing is they're going to get to the truth. The curse is they're going to get to the truth. And so they're not going to do a promotion piece and they're not going to tell you who they're going to interview." And here it comes.
So I was stunned to see [my] three girls sit in front of a camera. I never thought they ever would. And then their mom, Sandy, talking about our marriage throughout the ‘90s — I heard things from her that she told me our whole life, but I didn't hear them until now. And so my respect and love for her is through the roof for what she went through and how she's handled it as well. And then when Miss Yearwood says anything about me, I start crying anyway. So it's neat to hear their perspective. All the stories don't match up, but I think that's the realness of it as well. So it was, I learned a lot.
Fox News: What's the most important message you received just from hearing [your ex-wife] Sandy [Mahl] speak out in this documentary?
Brooks: My favorite thing on her [is] when she says what's her favorite time of the day. And she's talking about soundcheck and how personal they were. 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. I didn't get that until now. I didn't get until I watched it in those frames. That was her prime time. I totally get it now.
Fox News: What do you believe has been the secret behind your lasting marriage to Trisha Yearwood?
Brooks: Oh, well, first of all, I was lucky enough to get to marry my best friend. So here you go. We've known each other since 1988 or '87 and so we've kind of been through it all together and we've talked about this a long time. If we would have gotten married back in the late '80s I don't think our marriage would have survived the ‘90s or our careers would not be what they were.
So I think everything happens right at the right time. And if she was the mother of the children, our three children wouldn't be who they are either. They got the right amount of their mom in them, the right amount of me in them, and the right amount of Trisha's influence in them as well. So I think everything happens for a reason at a time. And I think she would probably tell you the same thing.
Fox News: How important was it for you to give your daughters a normal upbringing?
Brooks: It was crazy. All my girls wanted to be was normal. And… it was wild for me. So you did everything you could to keep them as normal as they wanted to be. But at the same time that dad in you wants everything to be special about their [lives].
So it was a cool line that you were lucky enough to get to walk — or try to walk — and it was multiplied by three. I'd never wish divorce on anybody, but I got to tell you, having three parents with three children, worked out amazingly well in the most important moments of their childhood and of our lives as parents.
You know, the girls exchanged rings with Trisha because Trisha didn't have children, so we all got married the day that Trisha and I got married. We all celebrate our anniversary together and we all go out to dinner together. I'm sitting around staring at the table of four women and me… listening to them talk. I realize I'm the weak link in the chain. And I say that with pride because those four women right there are strong.
Fox News: How do you feel about Chris Gaines today?
Brooks: I got to tell you every day that goes by, I'm more proud of what that music is and what that project was. And that is a wonderful thing because when you think about things that you're more proud of today than you've ever been… these songs are getting unbelievable responses, even better than they did now, even better than they did then… The music is all 100 percent there.
Fox News: You received the Entertainer of the Year award at this year’s CMAs. How surprised were you to hear your name, especially when many people thought Carrie Underwood would get it?
Brooks: Yeah, I mean when you think of the band of the crew and when you think of the stadium run and you think of the dive bar run… your band and crew are as deserving as any of the other nominees. But because it was the salute to the women, I think all the guys were expecting [to hear] Carrie's name. So it kind of caught me off guard. I had nothing prepared as you can easily see in the speech. But I thought it was cool to get to talk as an entertainer and talk about the things that were entertainment that night.
And I got to tell ya, Reba McEntire took us all to school that night. She stole the show… If there was a female there that deserved Entertainer of the Year, I'm going to have to give that nod to Reba McEntire... There's no way that we could lose...being an Okie [from Oklahoma] myself. So I really enjoyed that night.
"Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On" airs Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. on A&E.