March 13

Sandy Mahl Is More Than Just Garth Brooks’ First Wife


In today’s article, we’re going to explore some interesting things we can learn from Garth Brooks’ first wife Sandy Mahl.

When it comes to the industry of country music, Garth Brooks is without a doubt one of the biggest names. Especially during the nineties when Garth’s name was almost everywhere and is absolutely living a life that most fellows with a guitar could only imagine. He had millions of dollars, record deals and fans all over the world.

And an old phrase appears to be more true, behind every man’s success is a woman. For the last several years, that woman in Garth’s life has been his fellow country music star, Trisha Yearwood. However, before Trisha, there was actually Sandy Mahl.

Sandy Mahl and Garth Brooks Relationship 

Before fame came, Garth Brooks used to work as a part-time bouncer at the Tumbleweed Ballroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma during his senior year of college and one incident has led him to his future wife.

Sandy, unfortunately, gotten into an argument with another woman in the women’s restroom and Garth had to break up the girl fight. “Sandy had gotten into an argument with another woman, took a swing— and got her fist stuck in the wall’s wood paneling,” Garth said in his interview. 

Garth ended up driving Sandy Mahl home and they later began dating. The two got married on May 24, 1986, and moved to Nashville where Grant intended to pursue his career in music. Though Garth initially struggled, Sandy was there to tell him to keep pursuing his musical dreams.

When Garth won The Top Male Vocalist Award in the 1992 ACM Awards for a third consecutive time. Garth was seen kissing Sandy before taking his hat off to accept the award. During his thank you speech, he also thanked his wife.

“I’d like to give thanks to the one person who always seems to make a male vocalist and that is a female by the oddest things, I’d like to thank my wife, Sandy, for sticking with me,” he said, as she to the audience. She was pregnant at the time with their first daughter.

In 2001, Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl ended their relationship and chose to go separate ways. Sandy shared in Garth’s two-part documentary special, Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On that aired on A&E last December 2019 how things grew increasingly difficult for them as a couple.

“People constantly wanting your attention and yanking and pulling on him,” she explained. “He’d be gone eight to 10 weeks at a time. He’d come home, [and] there would be number-one parties, or shows, or CMAs, or ACMs, American Music Awards, so it was constantly going. But we both grew apart really, really quickly.”

“I don’t think either of us had stopped to think about how this would change our lives,” she then added. 

After Garth watched Sandy Mahl telling her side of the story in the documentary, he said he was “really surprised” to hear what she had said about their relationship. “She was phenomenal,” Garth said. “[I was] gone so much on the road [during our marriage], 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 also expressed the same sentiment during his interview with Fox News. “I heard things from her that she told me our whole life, but I didn’t hear them until now,” he shared. “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.”

Sandy Mahl has never remarried. She mostly keeps a low profile and goes by Elly May Mahl on social media. Reports said she is currently engaged to a man named Nick Lynch. And though she is now on separate ways with Garth, both have been committed to co-parenting their three daughters, Taylor May Taylor Mayne Pearl (born 1992), August Anna (born 1994), and Allie Colleen Brooks (born 1996), who lived with Sandy in Owasso, Oklahoma with Mahl before pursuing their own paths.

“They saw both their parents in the morning and both their parents in the evening, and for 14 years,” Garth said. “That was 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.”

Their youngest daughter, Allie, has followed the footsteps of Garth as she is into music. She is now based in Nashville and in 2018, she tied the knot with a local elementary school teacher. But in 2019, she shared her debut single Work in Progress. She decided to share her new song in honor of her grandmother’s birthday. So far, Allie is the only daughter to follow in her parents’ musical footsteps.

The couple’s middle child, August, has become a mom when she was just 19. In 2013, she gave birth to daughter Karalynn. “Garth is thrilled [he’s] got a new granddaughter. She’s beautiful, healthy and wonderful,” Sandy Mahl shared with Radar after Gwendolyn’s arrival. She is now focusing her time on raising her daughter and her family with her high school sweetheart. 

Taylor, on the other hand, has attended college at Oklahoma State University and studied history. Taylor is currently in seminary school at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.  She is in her second year of the Master’s program in Theological Studies.

Interesting Facts About Sandy Mahl

1. Sandy Mahl is a true Midwestern girl

Sandy, together with her sister Debbie, was born to John and Pat Mahl in the year 1965 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She’s a true Midwestern girl, like her famous ex-husband, with Oklahoma roots.

2. Sandy is a credited songwriter too

When it comes to music, Garth is not the only one with the gift.  Sandy has actually co-wrote two songs with her former husband. She helped pen “I’ve Got a Good Thing Going” from Garth Brooks’ 1989 self-titled debut album and the 1993 hit “That Summer” off of The Chase.

“The Chase is definitely the most personal album I think I’ve ever been involved with. This is as much me as anybody has ever seen. It was recorded at a time in my life that was probably the most trying time of my life. Not the fact that it was a hard time for me, I was just going through a lot of things at this time. Probably the biggest thing was expecting the birth of our first child Taylor,.” Garth shared about the album in a past statement. 

“Was also in the business for record re-negotiations, we were remodeling our house. And still trying to go through the biggest tour I’d ever been on since Ropin’ The Wind was seeing the success that it was. No Fences seemed to still be doing very well. So we were gone another 250 to 300 days out of the year. So, when you hear this album or snippets from it, and you hear things that are more, probably socially oriented as far as concerns of the world. And some things that are a little bit darker. That’s probably ’cause that’s where I was at that time. It was a big moment for me. And I gotta say of all the albums I’ve ever done, this one has the best writing on it, and probably the one that I feel the strongest about. I’m very proud and I love this album,” Garth continued.

3. Sandy Mahl went to the same college with Garth

Sandy also went to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, just like Garth. They lived in neighboring dorms and were said to spend their first dates strolling around the campus. They spent romantic days during their younger days. The first movie they went together was the  Starman starring Jeff Bridges. It came out in 1984 and was a mix of sci-fi and romance.

4. Sandy and Garth were born in the same hospital

Isn’t this crazy enough? They weren’t just lucky enough to accidentally meet in a bar, go into the same university, the two were even born in the same hospital.

5. She is a sporty one.

Sandy Mahl was pretty active during her high school years. In addition to being a school cheerleader, she also participated in track and field and even played basketball.

6. Sandy Mahl received a lot in the divorce settlement.

Her divorce with Garth Brooks is one of the most expensive celebrity divorces of all time. Though the couple split amicably, Garth was required to pay Sandy a whopping $125 million as spousal support.

7. Sandy Mahl survived an abduction attempt

In 2006, Sandy had a lucky escape when she got caught up in an attempted abduction by a worker on her farm, Quintine Cornelius Harper. Harper was staying in an apartment located in the property’s barn. But unknown to Sandy, Harper was also a wanted man who failed to show up in court on an embezzlement case, leading a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. 

When a local bail bondsman showed up at the farm, looking to arrest Harper, the man panicked, pointed a gun at Sandy and ordered her to drive him away. After going a few miles, Sandy stopped the car and was able to run away into a neighboring convenience store.

8. Garth met Trisha Yearwood when he was still married to Sandy Mahl

As we all know, Garth today is married to Trisha Yearwood. In 1987, right after he and Sandy had tied the knot, Garth met his current wife, Trisha Yearwood, for the very first time. By the sounds of it, Garth and Trisha felt an instant connection to one another. “I had been married 13 months when I met [Yearwood],” Brooks says. “When someone said, ‘What’d you think when I met her?’ I said, ‘I felt like I just met my wife,’ which is weird, right? But the girls’ mother and I were married in a church, in front of our families.”

Despite his contentment with his second marriage, Brooks doesn’t regret his time with the mother of his three daughters. “If we’d gotten married then, either the career wouldn’t have been what it was in the ’90s or our marriage wouldn’t have lasted. So I have to believe that things happen when they happen,” Brooks observes.

“I feel very lucky right now where I’m at,” he adds. “So even if I did have regrets, I wouldn’t change anything in fear of changing where I’m at right now.”

9. Sandy Mahl is a breast cancer survivor

Indeed, Sandy is a tough woman. She survived breast cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in 2006.

What Garth Brooks’ First Wife, Sandy Mahl Brooks Is Doing Now [PICTURE]

Sandy Mahl has mainly stayed out of the spotlight after her divorce and is now a successful businesswoman. At the same time, Sandy works in animal rehabilitation and wildlife rescue at Wild Heart Ranch in Rogers County, Oklahoma. She raised funds and enabled the organization’s expansion to care for and raise infant wild animals in a full-time, all-species, all-situation facility.

 According to the Rehabilitation Center’s site: “Sandy Brooks has been part of Wild Heart Ranch since shortly after she moved home from Nashville. A mother dog and her pups were dumped at Sandy’s gate and taken to Wild Heart Ranch for help. Sandy later called to check on them and found out they went to a wildlife rescue.”

“Sandy, passionate about wildlife rehabilitation, jumped on board to get licensed by the State and assist with the work of raising hundreds of infant wild animals. Several years later, Sandy assisted in founding and funding the non-profit so it could expand and grow and be a full time, all species, all situation facility.”


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