Trisha Yearwood may not have her own children, but she is a “bonus mom” to Garth Brooks’ kids

Garth Brooks was married to Sandy Mahl on May 24, 1986, and the couple spent over 15 years together. They met in a bar near the campus of Oklahoma State University, the college they both attended. Brooks was acting as a bouncer at the bar, and he was introduced to Mahl when breaking up a fight she was involved in.

In 2001, Brooks and Mahl decided to separate. The parents of three claimed that Brooks’ busy career was to blame for the divorce. Mahl explained that her former husband would often be gone for eight to ten weeks at a time, and then would be overrun with various shows, parties, award ceremonies, and other events that kept him away from home.

Despite the divorce and distance between the former couple, they remain good friends. Brooks even labels Mahl as “phenomenal” in his documentary, “The Road I’m On.” As recently as 2019, the star told US Weekly,

“What really surprised me was Sandy, the girls’ mom. She was phenomenal.”

Brooks has acknowledged that his absence during their marriage likely meant that he missed a lot that Mahl was trying to tell him.

Country singer Garth Brooks and his ex-wife Sandy Mahl pose for a portrait while getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 30, 1995 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)

“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,” he continued in his US Weekly interview.

The two have been able to continue to work together to raise their three daughters, Taylor, August, and Allie. Brooks revealed that the former couple still makes it a point to see the three girls in the mornings and evenings with no exceptions.

The country star’s philosophy seems to be that doing right by the children is how they do right for themselves.

In 2005, Garth Brooks married country singer Trisha Yearwood, a fellow star whom he has known since 1987. The pair met while recording a demo.

In Brooks’ documentary, Mahl and her three daughters confirmed that they accepted Yearwood in their lives. The country singer’s first wife revealed that she even thought Brooks’ marriage to Yearwood was beneficial for the children.

As revealed in her Good Housekeeping interview, Mahl told Brooks,

“I think this is a really good move for you, and I think this is a really good move for our children.”

Brooks’ three daughters have only ever shown excitement towards their stepmother. The eldest, Taylor, has joked that Yearwood’s presence has improved the food in their father’s hoSuse.

As for the “I Need You” singer, Yearwood has admitted her new caretaker role took some getting used to.

“When you don’t have children, you have the luxury of being selfish because it’s just about you. You don’t have to think about somebody else first,” she shared.

Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks arrive for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Glenn Francis/Pacific Pro Digital Photography)

Since getting to know the three girls, she has embraced her new role. Even with their closeness, Yearwood prefers being called “bonus mom” to being called “stepmom” to avoid negative connotations. She told SheKnows:

“When I think stepmom, I think Cinderella, you know, so I always prefer bonus mom.”

Yearwood now thinks of the three girls in her care as a gift that she never knew she needed. It was Brooks that gave her the advice she claims to have helped her the most.

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