Sandy Mahl is Garth Brooks’ ex wife and the mother of his three daughters. They were college sweethearts who met because of a bar brawl, but their marriage was stressed by reports of infidelity and Garth’s stratospheric fame.
Sandy sat down for interviews for the Garth Brooks documentary on A&E. A&E Network is airing a two-part documentary on Brooks this Monday, December 2 and Tuesday, December 3 at 9 p.m. EST. The documentary is called Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On. Garth, who is now married to country superstar Trisha Yearwood, told reporters he was moved by Sandy’s comments. Where is Sandy Mahl now? Today, she is listed as “Sandy Mahl Brooks, Wildlife Rehabilitator, WHR Vice President & Co Founder” of Wild Heart Ranch, a non-profit rehabilitation facility for wildlife in Oklahoma. She still uses the name Sandy Mahl Brooks.
According to Country Fancast, today, Sandy Mahl Brooks is still single and hasn’t remarried.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sandy Met Garth at a Bar Where He Worked as a Bouncer
It was a classic story of young sweethearts who met before one of them rocketed to fame. Sandy Mahl was with Garth before he was famous. According to WYRK-TV, she met Garth in college at Oklahoma State at a bar where he worked as a bouncer.
According to Country Fancast, Garth and Sandy married in 1986 and were “college sweethearts.” There was a more dramatic story behind the meeting of Sandy Mahl and Garth Brooks at Tumbleweed Ballroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Garth broke up a fight in the women’s restroom because “Sandy had gotten into an argument with another woman, took a swing— and got her fist stuck in the wall’s wood paneling,” the site reports. Within three years of their marriage, Garth was famous.
2. Sandy Mahl & Garth Brooks Were Married 15 Years & She Received a Massive Divorce Settlement
The Brooks’ marriage was a fairly long-term one. The couple was married for 15 years before divorcing in 2001. Four years later, Garth married songstress Trisha Yearwood.
Mahl’s own net worth is pegged at $125 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. That’s largely because of the huge divorce settlement she received from Brooks. The site reports that, amidst accusations of infidelity, Brooks ended up paying Sandy the hefty sum, one of the biggest Hollywood divorce settlements in history.
There have been some difficulties since then for Sandy.
In 2006, CMT reported that Garth’s wife was abducted from her home in Owasso, Oklahoma when “bail bondsmen showed up on her property” looking for a man who was staying in the barn apartment and was wanted for an embezzlement case. That man was accused of abducting her but she ran into a convenience store and escaped unharmed.
Garth first met Trisha while he was still married. He told US Weekly: “I had been married 13 months when I met her. When someone said, ‘What’d you think when I met her?’ I said, ‘I felt like I just met my wife,’ which is weird, right? But the girls’ mother and I were married in a church, in front of our families. If we’d gotten married then, either the career wouldn’t have been what it was in the ’90s or our marriage wouldn’t have lasted. So I have to believe that things happen when they happen. I feel very lucky right now where I’m at. So even if I did have regrets, I wouldn’t change anything in fear of changing where I’m at right now.”
3. Sandy Is the Mother of Garth’s Three Kids & Garth Has Periodically Talked About Their Marriage
Sandy and Garth, 57, have three daughters together: Taylor, August and Allie.
Garth thanked Sandy when he won the top male vocalist award at the 1992 ACM awards. “I’d like to give thanks to the one person who always seems to make a male vocalist and that is a female by the oddest things, I’d like to thank my wife, Sandy, for sticking with me,” he said, as she beamed from the audience. She was pregnant at the time.
He has explained his feelings about the marriage. “Being married, it’s gotta be right. This is who you went to college with and you were married in front of God and your family and everybody. Still, at the end of the day, There comes that time where you’re looking at the rest of your life and going, ‘How do you want to live it?’” he told Country Fancast.
According to Country Rebel, he struck up a different tune talking about Yearwood, saying, “I never knew it could be like this. I never knew that every day you could feel like this.”
4. Brooks Says He Hugged Sandy, Who Now Tends to Wildlife, Because He Was Moved By the Things She Said in the Documentary
Brooks told US Weekly that Sandy’s comments in the documentary moved him.
“What really surprised me was Sandy, the girls’ mom. She was phenomenal,” Brooks told reporters, according to US. “[I was] gone so much on the road [during our marriage], there were things I guess she was [trying to tell] me that I didn’t hear until this biography. It’s rare you get to hear the other side. I just saw her and I think I hugged her harder than I ever have now that I know things that either I didn’t hear or that she didn’t say until now.”
Sandy is doing good work today.
Mahl’s biography on the Wild Heart Ranch explains that Sandy Brooks “has been part of Wild Heart Ranch since shortly after she moved home from Nashville. A mother dog and her pups were dumped at Sandy’s gate and taken to Wild Heart Ranch for help. Sandy later called to check on them and found out they went to a wildlife rescue. Sandy, passionate about wildlife rehabilitation, jumped on board to get licensed by the State and assist with the work of raising hundreds of infant wild animals.”
Several years later, the bio says, “Sandy assisted in founding and funding the non profit so it could expand and grow and be a full time, all species, all situation facility.”
Located in Rogers County, north of Claremore Oklahoma, Wild Heart Ranch “is a State and Federally licensed rehabilitation facility for all species of wildlife needing orphan support, injury treatment or disease recovery.” It was described as “a strong and capable place where all wild animals, as well as some severe cases of suffering domestic animals, can receive professional medical and supportive care until they can be released back in the wild. At the end of 2014, more than 30,000 wild animals have left our facility with a second change at survival.”
5. Brooks Admitted That He Wasn’t Always Faithful to Sandy
Garth Brooks has been open about the fact that he wasn’t always a perfect husband.
In a 1993 interview, Brooks “admitted he had been unfaithful during this marriage to Sandy Mahl,” reports Global News.ca.
At first they got back together “after I wore out a pair of jeans while I was down on my knees begging her to take me back,” he explained, according to the site. But it didn’t last. Thankfully, both appear to have rebuilt their lives.
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