This story was originally published March 12, 2018.
When Tim McGraw collapsed at his Dublin concert over the weekend, it was his wife, Faith Hill, who broke the news to the crowd that he wouldn’t be returning to the stage. “He’s been super-dehydrated, and I apologize, but I made the decision that he cannot come back out onstage,” she says in video taken at the show.
But the whole episode was a reminder that since the country music stars married in 1996 — and, actually, even before that — much of their history has taken place on a stage.
They even met while performing, when both were up-and-comers, as he explained to CNN’s Larry King in April 2006.
“The first time we met was a radio seminar in Nashville where every year, you know, all the radio stations come down and artists perform,” McGraw said. “And they have a thing called like the New Faces Show. And I think this was probably in ’95, ’94-’95, and Faith and I both did the New Faces Show. And we just met briefly backstage and that was the first time we met, so it wasn’t really a meeting.”
In 1996, Hill was the opening act for McGraw on his “Spontaneous Combustion” tour. They took an instant liking to each other.
“I mean, I think we had a pretty instant knowledge that we were going to be together forever, so it just kind of felt like it was the right thing to do,” McGraw told King. “It wasn’t any use wasting time.”
Hill has acknowledged that she ended her engagement to record producer Scott Hendricks to be with McGraw. She defended her choice to do so in August 1998.
“If someone is going to judge my character because I was engaged to somebody and then I left him for somebody else — ‘Oh, OK, now she’s a slut and a bad person’ — I can’t control that,” Hill told People. “But I wasn’t about to let Tim slip through my hands.”
And she didn’t. The “Just to See You Smile” singer proposed — naturally, just off a stage — at the Taste of Country Festival in Grand Junction, Colo., as McGraw recalled in a video that he shared in November 2015.
“We were in the dressing room here, June 26, 1996,” he said. “It was rainy and stuff and we’d been on tour for a while together. I’d joked around with her about getting married, and so … I looked at her, I grabbed her by the hands before I went onstage. She had already done her show. And I said, ‘I’m really serious. I want you to marry me.’”
“She laughed and she said, ‘We’re at a country music festival in a trailer house, and you’re asking me to marry you?’” McGraw continued. “And I said, ‘Yeah.’ So I went onstage.” After his show, McGraw found Hill’s response written in lipstick on his dressing room mirror: “Yes, I’m going to be your wife.”
The married couple went on to tour together in their “Soul2Soul” tour in 2000. At the time, it was the top-selling country music tour ever, and featured songs such as “It’s Your Love.” They put on the “Soul2Soul II” tour in 2006 and re-created it with a Las Vegas residency in 2012.
Along the way, McGraw and Hill have raised three daughters: Gracie, 20; Maggie, 19; and Audrey, 18.
They’re set to return to the stage May 31, with a show in Richmond, Va.
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