Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo album artist in the United States, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as the youngest child of Troyal Raymond Brooks Jr. and Colleen McEroy Carroll.
Tonight, Brooks will be thrust into the spotlight as the subject of a new two-hour A&E documentary, Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On. And as fans learn more about Garth as seen through the eyes of other country legends, they may grow curious about his family and personal life.
What do we know about Brooks’ siblings? What was Brooks’ childhood like as one of six children? Here’s what you should know.
1. He Had One Biological Sibling and Four Half Siblings
Garth’s biological sibling, Kelly, was older than him. He was also the youngest amongst his four half-siblings.
According to Patsi Bale Cox’s “The Garth Factor”, growing up in Oklahoma, the family would host weekly talent nights that all the children were required to participate in. Most would perform skits or sing. It is through these skits that Garth learned to play the guitar and banjo.
While Brooks had natural musical talents, he grew up playing football, baseball, and other sports, and eventually earned a scholarship in track to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
2. His Sister Betsy Passed Away in 2013
In 2013, Betsy Smittle, Garth’s half-sister, passed away at age 60.
For a portion of Garth’s career, Betsy played bass for his band. According to Taste of Country, she was a gay rights activist. Her solo album, Rough Around the Edges, was released in 1994.
Biography.com notes that Brooks once said of Betsy that she could “play anything with strings or keys.”
On Twitter, Garth’s daughter, August, wrote that Smittle passed away from cancer. She added, “So happy she got to meet my beautiful daughter! We love you and miss you already Aunt Betsy!”
3. His Brother Jerry Passed Away in 2006
In 2006, Garth’s half brother, Jerome “Jerry” Paul Smittle, passed away at age 56 at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
According to his obituary, Jerry worked as a law enforcement officer at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. He also served in the National Guard.
While the cause of death is not stated, Jerry’s family requested that memorial contributions be made to the American Diabetes Association.
4. Brooks and His Siblings Were Raised in Yukon, Oklahoma
Brooks and his siblings were raised in Yukon, Oklahoma.
His father worked for an oil company and his mother was a singer. In an interview with Nash Country Daily, Brooks shared of his family, “They were pretty real people… Mom believed you could fly. Dad would pull you over and go, ‘Ok, if you’re going to fly, it’s going to take a helluva lot of work.’”
He continued, “So he was the realist . . . she was the dreamer . . . and they worked really, really good together. Dad would tell you things, man. My dad, he was sweet, full of love . . . but he’s going to be a realist.”
5. His Brother Kelly Works as the Manager of GB Management
In an interview with Garth’s parents for The Oklahoman, Garth’s mother, Colleen, shared, “People never ask me about our other children.” Garth’s father, Troyal, added, “We’re proud of all six. They’re all talented and successful.”
As of 1996, Garth’s brother Jim was working as a teacher and coach at Tulsa’s East CEntral High School. Together, he and his wife, Terri, have three children: Jim, Matthew, and Kara.
Kelly, meanwhile, was formerly with the First National Bank of Bethany and went on to work as a manager of GB Management.
Be sure to tune into Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On, airing tonight on A&E at 9pm ET/PT.