Martina McBride has been cutting country music hits for almost 20 years. Through all of those years, the person who has been by her side is her husband John. They have welcomed three daughters while her career was on the rise. Here’s what you need to know about the McBride family ahead of her appearance on Songland on NBC Monday, May 4.
1. Martina Married John in 1988
Martina McBride was born Martina Mariea Schiff in Kansas in July 1966. She and her three siblings grew up on a dairy farm, eventually joining their father’s local band, The Schiffters, according to her Biography profile. After graduating from high school, she tried junior college for one semester but dropped out to pursue music.
She met her husband in Wichita because a band she was trying to get off the ground — who “wouldn’t rehearse,” she told People in 1998 — rented rehearsal space from local sound engineer John McBride and it was practically love at first sight.
“Here I was, crying on his shoulder about my band not coming together, and I thought, ‘I’m in love with this guy. This is crazy. He lives in a warehouse,'” she told People.
The couple got married shortly thereafter and moved to Nashville two years later where John found work on Garth Brooks’ sound crew. John and Martina cut a demo for her which eventually led to RCA offering to sign her and Brooks giving her a spot on his tour as the opening act.
2. Delaney Katharine is a Massage Therapist
Martina and John’s oldest daughter is Delaney Katharine, who was born on December 22, 1994. She told the Chicago Tribune in 1994 that she found out she was pregnant right after she signed on to tour with Brooks & Dunn — but she didn’t let the pregnancy slow her down.
“When I first found out I was pregnant I decided I was going to work as long as I could,” said McBride. “I thought, `If it’s healthy for me and the baby, and there’s no risk, I’m going to work until I can’t waddle out there anymore. I mean, moms everywhere have to work while they’re pregnant, and I’d go crazy just sitting around doing nothing. So we’ve actually got shows booked up until Dec. 10.
“Onstage it hasn’t really made a lot of difference. I can’t move quite as fast as I used to, but as far as the emotion and the energy and the singing, it’s the same. I got really lucky. If I had been really sick or really tired, I could have foreseen taking some time off.”
Delaney graduated from high school in 2012 and then graduated from massage therapy school in 2018. She now works as a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and private chef for Hand to Heart Wellness in Nashville, Tennessee.
3. Emma Justine Is Pursuing Acting
Just over three years later, the McBrides welcomed their middle daughter, Emma, on March 29, 1998. As Emma grew up, she started to show an interest in acting, so in 2012, the McBrides moved (temporarily) to the Los Angeles area to help her support her dreams.
“My middle daughter, Emma, has always wanted to try her hand at acting and so we have enrolled her in a couple of acting classes and workshops in L.A. this month so that she can see if it’s something she wants to pursue,” McBride wrote on her blog on July 8, 2012. “This could be the beginning of realizing her dream, which is a beautiful thing. I know how supportive my parents were at her age and how they did everything possible to help me be able to sing wherever and whenever I could and I’m happy we can do the same for her.”
Five years later, Emma made the move permanent. Martina wrote on Instagram, “There were a lot of tears in our family today. Emma moved to LA to embark upon her acting career. … Today is the day we all have been talking about…and she has been dreaming about…for years. She’s wanted to be a film and TV actress for as long as I can remember. She set her sights on it and dreamed big. And I have no doubt she will give it everything she has. And the world will fall in love with her. Because she has that kind of magic. And that kind of heart. Emma, I have so much more I could say here…but I’ve said it to you in private. You know I believe in you and I’m so proud of you my brave, sweet girl. I love you.”
In an Instagram post on April 9, 2020, Martina revealed that Emma has swapped LA for New York City in her pursuit of a career.
4. Ava Rose Kathleen Joined the Family in 2005
On June 20, 2005, Ava Rose was born. Since she is only 14 years old, Ava Rose has largely stayed out of the spotlight. She doesn’t have public social media accounts and is not seen as often as her older sisters on her mother’s Instagram.
But for Ava’s 12th birthday in 2017, Martina posted a couple of pictures of her to Facebook and wrote, “Happy birthday to my sweet Ava. Watching you grow and seeing the journey of you becoming a young woman is….OK, I’m sure this is way too sappy for you. You know my heart and I know yours. Way to go kid.”
In a 2014 interview with USA Today, McBride admitted that she feels like sometimes she’s a great mom and other times it’s hard — just like any mother.
“Some days I feel I’m great at it and sometimes I feel like I’m the worst mother in the world. I think we all feel that way,” said McBride. “Whatever job you have, you always feel torn. Some days you feel like you’re pulling it off, and you’re all things to everybody. Some days you feel like you drop every single ball. But at the end of the day, I always try to let my kids know how important they are to me, that they’re my priority, and when I’m with them at home, I’m really present.”
5. Martina and John Are Madly in Love 30 Years Later
In a 2016 interview with One Country, Martina said that the secret to their long, happy marriage is being “real” with each other.
“We’re just very real with each other. We’re really good friends, you know, as well as husband and wife,” said McBride. “And we’re partners in, you know, a lot of my career and the studio, and we just have a lot of things that intertwine. Obviously, we have three kids, so we’re partners in that. You know, we both grew up in Kansas, which is very down to earth. And we’re just the same people we’ve always been, you know.”
In a previous interview with The Boot, John echoed those sentiments, saying he feels like they were meant to be.
“I’m not a religious guy, but I always felt God put us together,” said John. “It’s crazy. I’d never had that feeling before. This girl, she’s incredible, and I love her more [now] than I ever have. I told her, ‘If we could bottle what we have, we could retire, girl.’ We’re so lucky.”
He added, “It takes work, too. It’s not all just a walk in the park. [But] we have a great relationship. She’s my best friend. She’s my partner.” Then he adds with a wry smile, “I encourage all my friends to find a farm girl/rock star from Kansas and marry her.”
Songland airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC, following new episodes of The Voice.
READ NEXT: ‘Songland’ Season 2 Judges & Guest Artists