Garth Brooks proposed to longtime girlfriend Trisha Yearwood onstage Wednesday night (May 25) at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, Calif.
Both Brooks and Yearwood were in tears after he knelt on one knee to make the surprise proposal in front of the crowd attending a ceremony to unveil bronze statues of 10 country music legends at Owens’ club and restaurant. In addition to Owens, Country Music Hall of Fame members Merle Haggard and George Jones were there for the statue ceremony and to join in a jam session that also featured Dierks Bentley, Joe Nichols and Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson.
Brooks and Yearwood first met while trying to launch their careers in the mid 1980s. She was Brooks’ opening act on his first major tour as a headliner, and he sang background vocals on her 1991 debut album. Through the years, she has sung background vocals on most of his albums. Although conflicts between their respective record labels have prevented them from completing a complete album of duets, their collaborations include “In Another’s Eye” (a track from his 1997 album, Sevens) and “Squeeze Me In” (from his most recent album, 2001’s Scarecrow ).
It will be the second marriage for Brooks, 43, who married Sandy Mahl in 1986. They later became the parents of three daughters. Brooks cited irreconcilable differences when he filed for divorce in 2000. He moved from Nashville after announcing a hiatus from the music business to spend more time with his children in Oklahoma.
Yearwood, 40, has been married twice and has no children. Her 1987 marriage to Chris Latham lasted four years. In 1994, she married Mavericks bassist Robert Reynolds onstage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. They divorced five years later.
During Wednesday’s concert in Bakersfield, Brooks performed the George Strait hit, “Amarillo By Morning,” and one of his own, “Friends in Low Places.” Owens scheduled the event to formally unveil the series of statues created by Montana-based artist Bill Rains. Among those featured in the display are Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Jones, Haggard, Owens and Brooks.