August 21

The Story Behind Garth Brooks’ Divorce That Cost Him Millions

News of Garth Brooks’ divorce undeniably left a lot of fans surprised, even shocked. Their 15 years of marriage ended in 2001 with a long and highly-publicized legal battle and one of the most expensive settlements in the country music industry. So, what exactly happened to them? 

The Love History: How did Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl meet?

Garth Brooks‘ first wife, Sandy Mahl, first caught Brooks’ attention after she threw a punch and got her hand stuck in a women’s restroom in a bar. Apparently, it was love at first swing for the couple who soon dated while attending Oklahoma State University. Brooks and Mahl bonded over music, and soon after graduating, the two moved to Nashville, where Mahl played a pivotal role in Brooks’ career. She was even credited in two of Garth Brooks’ songs from his first album.  

Garth Brooks Divorce: What went wrong?

In an ironic twist of fate, Brooks’ decision to lay low from his career in 1999 and become a better father to his three daughters made him realize the worst – that he can no longer be a husband to his wife. The two married in 1986 and finally got divorced in 2001. 

In an interview with Garth Brooks’ first wife for a documentary on her ex-husband, she shared that what did them in was the time they spent apart. As a touring musician, he would be gone for eight to ten weeks, and after that, people would constantly yank and pull him to parties. There were also awards shows that he constantly went to. So, they grew apart really quickly. 

After the documentary was released, Brooks said that he learned a lot from Mahl’s comments. For him, she was phenomenal, but there was just so much going on for him, and there were things she was trying to tell him that he didn’t hear until the biography. 

The Legal Battle

The couple announced that they were separating in March 2000, then filed for divorce on November 6, 2000, citing irreconcilable differences at Davidson County Circuit Court, Tennessee. When the divorce was finalized on December 17, 2001, Sandy Mahl received $125 million as a divorce settlement, one of the most expensive in country music history. As for Garth Brooks’ daughters, the couple got joint custody though the children have spent more time with their dad. 

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s marriage followed in 2005. On the other hand, Mahl never remarried and chose to become a businesswoman. She co-founded the Heart Ranch, an animal rehabilitation and wildlife rescuing organization in Rogers County, Oklahoma. And despite their messy divorce, the couple are on good terms now and have managed to co-parent their three daughters really well. 

Garth Brooks’ divorce may have saddened many fans, but it definitely showed that love is not all butterflies and rainbows. And that letting go can be the hardest thing in love, but it can also be the best thing that anyone could ever do for their loved one. 


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Garth Brooks, sandy mahl


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