You might recognize Trisha Yearwood’s name from country music. She was an emergent Nashville star in the ’90s who ultimately went on to make big waves in the country music industry. As noted by All Music, Yearwood recorded a number of top ten hits throughout the first decade of her career, creating a legacy for herself. In fact, Yearwood is arguably the most famous female country music artist of her time, and she largely paved the way for women to break into the primarily male-dominated country music scene. But Yearwood’s career didn’t happen over night. Rather, it took time to cultivate. She worked hard on her music — and, believe it or not, there’s a whole lot more to the singer than her songs. (Though she has admitted that music always comes first, as she told In Touch!)
Read on to check out Yearwood’s stunning transformation from small-town girl to country music maven.
Trisha Yearwood always wanted to be a musician
Trisha Yearwood, who hails from the small farm town of Monticello, Ga., was a self-proclaimed “nerd” who had a passion for music from the time she was 5 years old. To Country Living, Yearwood called her childhood home an “organic heaven, before organic was cool.” Her mother was a great cook, and her father was a banker and “farmer at heart” who raised cattle, hogs, and chicken on the family farm. Meanwhile, she had dreams of a career in music.
“Music, from the time I was probably about five years old, was my obsession,” she said during a Q&A at the Country Music Hall of Fame, as The Boot reported. “I was going to say passion, but I really was obsessed; I really didn’t want to do anything else.”
At 15 years old, Yearwood wanted to drop out of school to go get herself a country music record deal, but her parents wouldn’t allow her. As Yearwood wrote in an article for Good Housekeeping, she graduated from high school and pursued higher education.
Trisha Yearwood went to college in Nashville
Because Trisha Yearwood was so close to her family growing up, she decided to go to school nearby at the University of Georgia, where she was a business major because she’s “very practical,” she said during a Q&A at the Country Music Hall of Fame, as The Boot reported. But she “was miserable,” she admitted. So, during her junior year, Yearwood transferred to Belmont University’s business administration program in Nashville, where other notable musicians had graduated, including Brad Paisley and Steven Curtis Chapman.
“I really just wanted to be in Nashville,” she said during the Q&A. “I felt like this was the place where the music I wanted to make was being made. So it was my kind of making a deal with my parents that I would finish college if I could move to Nashville.”
She knew then that she’d complete college if she could transfer, but she couldn’t have known then that she’d go on to become a major country music star, too.
Trisha Yearwood began her career in music as an intern
Trisha Yearwood began her career in music interning with MTM Records, according to All Music. There, she was able to gain enough exposure that she actually became a demo singer, and Garth Brooks, who was relatively unknown at the time, hired her as a backup vocalist. This really kicked off her career because Yearwood went on to be featured in Brooks’ debut album in 1989. She also got a job working as a receptionist at a record label.
“I started figuring out that if I didn’t get aggressive about it, I’d get to be the receptionist forever,” Yearwood said during a Q&A at the Country Music Hall of Fame, as The Boot reported in 2016. She decided that it was time to start networking, call writers, and get whatever singing gigs she could. She said that people liked working with her because she was “pretty good, cheap labor, and reliable.”
Trisha Yearwood got married to her first husband, music producer Chris Latham, in 1987
In 1987, Trisha Yearwood got married to her first husband, music producer Chris Latham, according to Country Weekly. The two country music insiders got married when Yearwood was in her 20s and she was in college. This was all just before her country music career really took off.
Yearwood, who eventually went on to get divorced and remarried (via Country Living), doesn’t speak about her marriage to Latham very often. While neither she nor Latham have publicly spoken out about their time together, they did stick with each other for years — and they were very formative years in her career. According to Heavy, Chris Latham’s life, unlike ex Trisha Yearwood’s, is pretty private and not well known to the public. He has worked behind the scenes in music production for years, but his name is really most recognized for its attachment to Yearwood.
Trisha Yearwood got a record deal and a divorce
It’s no secret that there’s tons of talent in Nashville. And not all of those musicians on the streets and in the bars will make it big; many will likely stick to the streets and small gigs around town. But Trisha Yearwood is a total country music success story — even if her first marriage was not.
Yearwood and her first husband, Chris Latham, ultimately split up in 1991, according to Celebrity Mirror. They filed for their divorce in 1991, and it was finalized in 1992, right around the time that her debut album was topping country music charts. With a helping hand from producer Garth Fundis, Yearwood had put on a showcase performance that snagged her a deal with record label MCA in 1990, according to All Music. With that record deal, she went on to record her first album, and it was an instant success during a presumably difficult time in her personal life.
Trisha Yearwood released her debut album in 1991 during her divorce from Chris Latham
Yearwood released her debut album in 1991, right around the time that she and her ex-husband, music producer Chris Latham, filed for a divorce, according to All Music. Interestingly, her now-husband Garth Brooks (who she met around this time) helped her make this album a success, according to a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I’m so indebted to Garth, and we’re still buddies, but I can’t have people saying Trisha can’t do it without Garth, and Trisha can’t stand alone,” she said. “Well, I just have to go out and show ’em all what Trisha’s really made of.” And that’s exactly what she did.
Her song “She’s in Love with the Boy” set the precedent for her decade of hit singles, such as “XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl),” “Thinkin’ About You,” “Believe Me Baby (I Lied),” and “Perfect Love,” as All Music noted.
Trisha Yearwood became the first female country artist to sell a million copies of her debut album
Country music star Trisha Yearwood clearly had talent from the start, but just how far she would go surprised the masses. Yearwood went on to become the first female country artist in history to ever sell a million copies of her debut album, according to All Music. Later on, she became the first female country artist in history to ever sell two million copies of a debut album, as well. Additionally, both her debut record and her 1992 follow-up, Hearts in Armor, went platinum.
Today’s top-selling country artists like Carrie Underwood, Linda Ronstadt, Reba McEntire, and Taylor Swift have sold tens of millions of albums, according to Cat Country 96. But back in the ’90s when country music was still very much a male-dominated industry, Yearwood’s one- and two-million copy sales were quite the accomplishments.
Trisha Yearwood married her second husband, Robert Reynolds, in 1994
In 1994, Trisha Yearwood married a second time to Robert Reynolds, a bassist and singer for The Mavericks. Notably, he was allegedly fired from the group because of an addiction, according to Heavy, and, in 1999, the Associated Press reported that he and Yearwood divorced because of “irreconcilable differences.” And it took some time for Yearwood to forgive herself for getting divorced again, as she wrote in an article for Good Housekeeping.
“One turning point came when I was finally able to forgive myself for being divorced,” she shared. Yearwood went on, “Divorce is so common and accepted in America that beating myself up over it may sound ridiculous. But I was raised to believe that divorce wasn’t an option; to me, divorce equaled failure.” Yearwood said that she wasn’t able to break that mindset until she married Brooks, which was the right relationship for her.
Trisha Yearwood married country star Garth Brooks after years of friendship
Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, one of a few stars who chose family over fame, were friends for years before they got married in 2005, as The Boot reported. She explained in an interview with SheKnows that they were friends for many years before she ever went on a date with him. And it’s because of their solid friendship that she believes their relationship works so well. She’s “madly in love with him,” she said, so even when she inevitably gets mad at him, he’s still her “best friend.” And that, she said, is key.
In an exclusive interview with WBUR, Yearwood said that she and Brooks understand each other because they share a passion for country music. She said that there’s an inevitable advantage to being married to another country music star — and that’s that they can talk about their careers with an “unspoken understanding of the drive and the need and the desire” that they both share. They both believe that they’d been “called to” country music, so they just plain get each other.
Trisha Yearwood became a "bonus mom" to Garth Brooks' three daughters
Trisha Yearwood calls herself a “bonus mom” instead of a “stepmom” to Garth Brooks’ three daughters, who have grown up to be gorgeous. She told Marlo Thomas in an interview that she’d never even babysat before then and was terrified to step into the role of stepmother.
“When I got married to Garth, I had a dog, and he had three girls, so it was a whole different thing for me to come into,” she said on The Wendy Williams Show. She said that she was talking to actress Jada Pinkett Smith about how she hated the term “stepmom” because of a connotation she perceives it to have, and, when Smith called her a “bonus mom,” she decided that that’s what she would call herself instead.
With Brooks’ advice, Yearwood learned how to be in Brooks’ daughters’ lives without trying to be their mom or best friend. “I’m a third voice, I’m a third parent in their lives,” she explained to Thomas.
In 2008, Trisha Yearwood published her first cookbook
While you may know Trisha Yearwood as a country music star, the singer is actually a renowned cook, too. In fact, she published her first cookbook in 2008, called Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours: A Cookbook. In it, she teaches readers how to whip up everything from chicken tortilla soup to banana pudding.
Down the line, she published a second cookbook titled Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share with Family and Friends: A Cookbook. In this New York Times bestseller, Yearwood shares recipes and stories of picnics at the beach, holiday gatherings with her family and friends, and more. And, in her third cookbook, Trisha’s Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life: A Cookbook, Yearwood released nutritious recipes that certainly don’t sacrifice taste (think vegetarian smashed sweet pea burgers and chicken tortilla casseroles). And in a 2020 Facebook live video (via ABC News Radio), Yearwood teased she was working on a fourth cookbook.
In 2009, Trisha Yearwood helped to launch Habitat for Humanity's Women Build Week
Trisha Yearwood isn’t just involved in the country music scene. She also likes to get involved in community work. For example, she and her husband, Garth Brooks, work quite closely with Habitat for Humanity. She told Parade that she even helped to launch Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week. Yearwood was involved in a number of Habitat for Humanity builds over the years. The first time she picked up a hammer, she said that she fell in love with the work. Because “construction seems like a man’s sport,” she said, she decided to help launch Women Build Week to encourage more women to do it, too.
Both she and Garth were raised with the mentality to give back — that it’s not about being celebrities with money but, rather, it’s about a “responsibility as an adult to help others.”
In 2012, Trisha Yearwood debuted Trisha's Southern Kitchen on Food Network
Trisha Yearwood may be recognized for her top hits in country music, but she’s also becoming ever more known for her cooking skills. That’s right — Yearwood landed her own cooking show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, on Food Network in 2012. On the show, Yearwood welcomes viewers into her kitchen to share some of her favorite family recipes and to show off her genuine Southern hospitality.
She decided to start her own series that featured her family and friends so that it wasn’t just another boring “and-now-you-add-a-cup-of-sugar” recipe show, she said in a 2013 interview with Wendy Williams. She wanted a show that was fun and real, where she could interact with others and be herself. So she and her friends swap stories and have some laughs, and they just “accidentally get some food made” along the way, she said. “It’s real,” she explained.
Trisha Yearwood released Every Girl in 2019
In 2019, after a long pause in music, Trisha Yearwood released the album Every Girl. Before the launch of this record, she’d taken a long break because she thought that taking a step back was important. “I don’t think it would have been so good if I’d always been there,” Yearwood had previously said in a 2005 interview with South Florida Sun-Sentinel, following an earlier break in her music career. “It’s like they can’t miss you if you don’t go away.”
Fortunately, Every Girl found success, and it led to her going on tour. “It’s been really fun,” she said in an exclusive interview with SheKnows. She added that, during this tour in her mid-50s, she felt “busier” than she’d ever felt in her whole career. While she didn’t expect that, she said she indeed enjoyed it. She nonted that the purpose behind the album was finding songs that really “resonated” with her since she hadn’t had a record in quite some time.
Trisha Yearwood is open to whatever the future holds for her
In an interview with PopCulture, country music star Trisha Yearwood revealed that she’s open to whatever her future holds for her. “I have never been the ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ person,” she said. “I’ve always been the open to whatever opportunities come.”
Yearwood said that, while she knew she always wanted to do music, most things in her life were just “opportunities that have come [her] way.” And there will likely be more opportunities to come her way, she assumed in the interview. When they do, she said she’ll keep an open mind. That said, she also added that she’s in a stage in her life and career in which she has the “luxury” of choice. In other words, she says yes to what she thinks she’ll enjoy, and she’s content saying no to whatever she doesn’t feel like exploring.
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