The country music star, 54, recently spoke with Esquire and remembered a time when he was battling alcohol addiction where he grew fearful he was heading down a potentially devastating path. At the time, he had awakened one morning and immediately picked up the bottle.
“I remember a moment when I was getting out of bed and going to the liquor cabinet and taking a big shot at 8:00 in the morning and thinking, ‘I have to wake the kids up,’” McGraw said, referring to daughters Gracie, Maggie, and Audrey, whom he shares with Hill.
“I went straight to my wife and said, ’This is where I’m at.’ I was scared,” he recalled. “She just grabbed me and hugged me and changed my life.”
The actor, who is set to star in an upcoming “Yellowstone” prequel series alongside Hill, further pressed that his wife makes it a point to reiterate to him, “You’re not scared of anything,” to which the “Humble and Kind” crooner often responds, “Ehhh, one thing. I’m looking at it right no,” usually issuing a nod to his country star wife of nearly 25 years.
These days, McGraw lives a sober lifestyle which he’s carried on since 2008.
He told People magazine in 2013 that he usually drank before every show as a mechanism to calm the nerves before heading on stage to play to packed stadiums and arenas.
“It was exactly my process,” McGraw said. “Basically, I am an unsure, self-conscious, shy person. That is how I started — even when I was in college — before I would get on stage, I would start drinking. I would start drinking to stop shaking.”
But, his decision to get clean simply came down to the impact drinking had on his daughters, wife and close friends and family who all began to ask questions.
“People said things,” McGraw admitted. “People were worried about me … It wasn’t something that I didn’t know as well. But ultimately, it is really about how I want to be around for my kids. I want to be around to see how they grow up. I want to see what their lives become. I want to see what their kids look like.”
He added: “I felt like I had to change it. I felt like I had to change my life. And it wasn’t like I was out doing crazy things, it was just that I was drinking too much. You know, some people might look at it and say — hey, I drank twice as much as that. But for me, it adversely affected my life and it was time to change it.”