Tim McGraw on Faith Hill: “I Needed Her in My Life”

The Moment They Met Backstage at CRS

Just when you think you know a guy. I assumed that by now, I’d heard every story Tim McGraw had. But this one was news to me.

In the brand new Billboard cover story, McGraw talks about the day he met Hill — not the time they started their Spontaneous Combustion tour, but the very first time — when they were both New Faces at Country Radio Seminar in 1994. They were just two of the New Faces that year, along with Doug Supernaw, Clay Walker, Joy Lynn White, Lari White, Brother Phelps, Toby Keith, and Gibson Miller Band.

McGraw had brought his girlfriend at the time, and she saw what no girl wants to see: the chemistry between her boyfriend and some leggy blond country newcomer.

“For me, there was an intense physical attraction,” McGraw admits. “I guess my girlfriend saw it in my eyes. She said, ’I don’t want you around her.'”

But it wasn’t just physical for McGraw. “I knew I had that ­instability and dysfunction in me, from the way I grew up. And when I met Faith, I knew I needed her in my life — to keep me stable, solid and on track,” he said.

Hill echoes his sentiments in the story. “Although our stories are very different, there was a missing link within our souls that we both related to,” she said.

Now, some 23 years after that CRS moment, it sounds like neither one of them has outgrown that chemistry. It’s obvious in interviews, on stage, and I’m assuming, at home. “I feel more relaxed onstage now than in the past. To be onstage with one of the greatest ­performers in our generation,” Hill said of McGraw. “Tim’s a master at his craft, and I wish he wasn’t ­sitting here to hear me say this because he can get a little cocky.”

“Doing this for a living can absolutely turn you inside out. Having an incredibly strong family,” she said of her life with McGraw and their three daughters, “that foundation was there.”