Why Garth Brooks Walked Away From Country Music 15 Years Ago

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By MICHAEL ROTHMAN

In 2000, Country legend Garth Brooks did the unthinkable — he left music for family.

Brooks, 53, is back on tour with a new album, “Man Against Machine” and opened up to People magazine about the choice to leave his craft behind 15 years ago for his daughters.

The icon was candid about his girls — Taylor, 22, August, 20, and Allie, 18 — coming first.

“People said, ‘How could you walk away from music?'” he told the magazine. “But being a dad – there’s nothing that can touch that.”

The choice to be with his kids came partially from tragedy. Brooks’ mother Colleen died in 1999, which came around the same time he divorced the girls’ mother Sandy Mahl. After leaving music, he lived with the girls in Oklahoma.

“I’d just stare at them,” he said of this trying time. “I knew their sweet faces and their dispositions. But I didn’t know who they were.”

After getting into a rhythm with his girls, he relished his new role as dad.

“The dads across the soccer field looked at me as a dad just like them,” he said. “The saying is, as long as your babies are healthy, everything else you can deal with.”

Now with his girls graduated from high school, Brooks is touring again with his wife and fellow country star, Trisha Yearwood.

“Thank God I’m with the love of my life,” he said.