Tim McGraw Recalls the Moment When His Drinking Hit Rock Bottom: ‘I Was Scared’
Tim McGraw makes no secret of the fact that he has struggled with alcohol in the past. Now the country superstar is opening up to Esquire about an incident that scared him and forced him to admit his problem to his wife, Faith Hill, whose support "changed my life."
McGraw has said that he began drinking in his teenage years, and by the time he had established himself as a leading star in country music, his habit had progressed to where he felt it was a problem. In an article titled 'What I've Learned,' he shares how deep he sank into problem drinking before he turned things around.
"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 relates.
"I went straight to my wife and said, 'This is where I’m at.' I was scared," he admits. "She just grabbed me and hugged me and changed my life."
McGraw told Men's Health in 2014 that he'd known he had to quit drinking for his wife and daughters. Hill had reached a breaking point.
"When your wife tells you it's gone too far, that's a big wake-up call," McGraw recalled. "That, and realizing you're gonna lose everything you have. Not monetarily, not career-wise, but family-wise."
"It got to the point where my kids were getting older, and it was way past the point that they noticed it," he said. "And I noticed that they noticed. That's enough to straighten you out ... I drank too much. I partied too much. And did other things too much. Chemically. No needles or that kind of stuff, but ... use your imagination."
McGraw said Keith Whitley's death in 1989 from alcohol poisoning was one thing that made him start looking at his own drinking habits differently.
"Keith Whitley taught me how demons can overtake you if you let 'em," he observed. "And I was headed down that path. You feel like you're supposed to be 'on' all the time. Then you drink and get onstage, and all of a sudden you feel confident and powerful."
"It becomes a habit," McGraw continued, admitting that up until 2007 when he got sober, "there were not a lot of shows that I didn't have something in my system."
McGraw and Hill are set to star in the upcoming Yellowstone prequel, 1883, in which they'll play the great-grandparents of John Dutton, Kevin Costner's Yellowstone character, who owns the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the United States. The story will follow their family's journey west from Texas to Montana, where they eventually establish the ranch that sets the stage for the runaway hit show on the Paramount Network.
1883 is set to premiere on Dec. 19. The show will air on Paramount's streaming service, Paramount+. Subscribe to the streaming service to make sure you don't miss out.
PICTURES: Sweet Tim McGraw + Faith Hill Moments