Country superstar Garth Brooks is one of the biggest names in the music world, with more than 200 million records sold worldwide. The “Rodeo” singer is married to Trisha Yearwood, his longtime collaborator and best friend. Before meeting Trisha, Garth was married to his first wife, Sandy Mahl, and the pair welcomed three children together, Taylor, August and Allie.
Garth met Sandy when he was working as a bouncer at Tumbleweed Ballroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Sandy and Garth are both Oklahoma natives and attended Oklahoma State University. The duo began dating and were married on May 24, 1986. Garth released his self-titled debut album in 1989, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. From then on, he became known as a major force on the country music scene as the couple relocated to Nashville.
Sandy contributed to Garth’s success, writing a few of his popular songs. The mom of three has songwriting credits on “I’ve Got A Good Thing Going” from his first album and the 1993 hit “That Summer.” Garth’s career took off, and he decided to go on tour as the opening act for Kenny Rogers in 1989. Sandy described what it was like to see her ex-husband catapult to fame in the 2019 A&E documentary special Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On.
“He’d be gone eight to 10 weeks at a time. He’d come home, [and] there would be No. 1 parties, or shows, or CMAs, or ACMs, American Music Awards, so it was constantly going,” the cancer survivor said. “But we both grew apart really, really quickly.”
Garth and Sandy welcomed their first daughter, Taylor Mayne Pearl Brooks, on July 8, 1992. August Anna Brooks was born on May 3, 1994, followed by Allie Colleen Brooks’ birth on July 28, 1996. Their marriage began to dissolve, and the couple announced their divorce in 2001, 15 years after tying the knot. Sandy’s claims in Garth’s documentary about their failed marriage sparked the CMA winner to speak out.
“What really surprised me was Sandy, the girls’ mom. She was phenomenal,” he told Us Weekly in November 2019. “[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.”
After her split from Garth, Sandy moved back to Oklahoma. She founded a wildlife non-profit called Wild Heart Ranch to help raise and care for sick and orphaned animals. Garth on the other hand has continued to produce hits like “That’s What Cowboys Do” and “Stronger Than Me” on his 16 studio albums. He married Trisha in 2005 after years of running into each other at events and collaborating on music.
Even though Garth and Sandy have gone their separate ways, they successfully coparent their children and have celebrated becoming grandparents together. In August 2013, August gave birth to her first child, Karalynn, with her husband, Chance Michael Russell. The couple welcomed their second daughter, Gwendolyn, in 2016. Nothing has made Garth happier than being a grandfather.
“It always turns out that that baby is the glue that holds the whole family together,” Garth told Taste of Country in May 2016 ahead of Karolynn’s [third birthday. “She’s the little stem that kind of holds the whole family together, and it’s kind of new for us.”