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Garth Brooks’ Ex-Wife, Shares Her Side of Their Story for the First Time

Garth Brooks’ Ex-Wife, Shares Her Side of Their Story for the First Time
Photo: Getty Images

Garth Brooks revealed intimate details of his life in a two-part documentary, “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On,” which aired in December 2019 on A&E. The documentary, filmed over 18 months, features interviews with Brooks’ wife Trisha Yearwood, his three adult daughters, and his ex-wife, Sandy Mahl.

Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On

Brooks married Mahl, his college sweetheart, in 1986. The couple moved to Nashville a year later to chase Garth’s dream of becoming a country music star. Mahl supported Brooks throughout his rise to fame in the 1990s and even appeared in the music video for his 1990 hit “Unanswered Prayers.”


The couple divorced in 2001, shortly after Brooks announced his retirement from the music industry. Despite their separation, Garth and Sandy prioritized their daughters and established a routine allowing the girls to see both parents daily.

“They saw both their parents in the morning and both parents in the evening,” Garth explained. “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.”

For years after their divorce, Sandy stayed out of the spotlight, focusing on raising their children and building a career as a successful businesswoman and wildlife rehabilitator. However, she broke her silence in Garth’s documentary, sharing her perspective for the first time. Garth revealed that her interview was one of the documentary’s biggest surprises.

“What really surprised me was Sandy, the girls’ mom. She was phenomenal,” the 57-year-old singer said in a recent interview. “[I was] gone so much on the road, there were things I guess she was trying to tell me that I didn’t hear until this biography. 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.”


Garth shared with the hosts of The Talk that hearing Sandy’s side of the story deepened his love and respect for her. “And, I gotta tell you, I never wish divorce on anybody, but three kids and three parents worked out really, really well,” Brooks added.

Reflecting on the early days of Garth’s career, Sandy discussed the challenges they faced as his fame grew.

“Life totally changed overnight. It was just…everything was on fire. Everything he touched was on fire,” Sandy recalled. “Running. Running. Constantly a whirlwind. People constantly wanting attention. Yanking and pulling on him. He’d be gone 8 – 10 weeks at a time. And he’d come home there’d be No. 1 parties or shows or CMAs, ACMs, American Music Awards. So it was constantly going, but we both grew apart really, really quickly.”

Sandy’s fondest memories from those hectic years were the times she and their daughters visited Garth at his shows during soundcheck. These visits provided rare moments of family togetherness amid the chaos. The girls would play on what they called their “jungle gym” while Garth performed.

After 15 years of marriage, Garth and Sandy decided to part ways.

“It was important for those three individuals [their daughters] to know it was nothing that they had done. It was just that mom and dad couldn’t get along anymore,” Sandy shared of their decision to separate. “It was kind of atomic bombs. But, at the same point in time it was like – it’s probably, in the long run, what’s best for me and what’s best for you, as long as we take care of those kids.”

To hear Sandy’s full account of her relationship with Garth, both the highs and the lows, watch “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On,” now streaming on Netflix.

>>READ ALSO: Garth Brooks’ Song ‘Unanswered Prayers’ Was Inspired by a Real Life Love Story

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