Garth Brooks’ biographical TV special Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On, which aired on December 2 and 3, has brought his first marriage into the spotlight. Before marrying his fellow country music star Trisha Yearwood, Brooks was married to Sandy Mahl. His rising fame in his early career led to the end of their marriage. And for the first time, Mahl is being honest about their relationship in the two-part A&E documentary. Our Sandy Mahl wiki delves into Garth Brooks’ relationship with his ex-wife.
|About Sandy Mahl|
|Known As||Elly May Mahl|
|Birth||January 16, 1965|
|Spouse||Garth Brooks May 1986 - December 2001|
|Children||Taylor Mayne Pearl, August Anna, Allie Colleen Brooks|
|Parents||Pat Mahl, John Mahl|
|Owns||Wild Heart Ranch|
|Alumni||Oklahoma State University|
Sandy Mahl and Garth Brooks Met at a Bar Brawl
Sandy Mahl was born on January 16, 1965 to Pat Mahl and John Mahl. Sandy and her sister, Debbie Mahl-Holden, were raised in Oklahoma. In the ‘80s, she enrolled at Oklahoma State University, where advertising major Garth Brooks was a track and field star.
Then students at Oklahoma State, Mahl and Brooks had a very interesting first meeting. It happened when Brooks was at his part-time job as a bouncer at a local bar.
One night, he had to break up a brawl that broke out in the bar’s bathroom. He ended up driving one of the brawlers, Sandy Mahl, home. They hit it off that night and ended up dating.
Mahl and Brooks Divorced in 2001
Soon after pre-fame Brooks had agreed to have entertainment attorney Rod Phelps produce his first album, the college sweethearts tied the knot on May 24, 1986. On Phelps’ insistence, the newlyweds moved to Nashville in 1987.
Getting a start in the professional music industry wasn’t easy, and Brooks may have given up if it weren’t for Mahl’s encouragement. With the release of Brooks’ eponymous album in 1989, he had embarked on a massively successful country music career.
But with the rapidly growing fame also came a hectic life on the road. Brooks was mostly away from the family, touring the country.
Soon, rumors of Brooks’ infidelity impacted their marriage. After 15 years of marriage, Brooks and Mahl separated in March 1999, filing for divorce on November 6, 2000. The divorce became final on December 17, 2001.
Their divorce was an amicable one. Nonetheless, Brooks paid her $125.0 million in spousal support, making it one of the most expensive divorces of all time.
The divorce settlement has made Sandy Mahl’s net worth an estimated $125.0 million, a significant fortune compared to Brooks’ estimated net worth of $350.0 million and Trisha Yearwood’s $40.0 million.
Four years later, on December 10, 2005, Brooks got hitched again—this time, to Trisha Yearwood. He had met and fallen in love with Yearwood while he was still married to Mahl.
As he recalls in an interview ahead of the A&E documentary, “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.”
Sandy, who goes by Elly May Mahl on social media, largely keeps a low profile. So it went unnoticed that she is currently engaged to a man named Nick Lynch.
Brooks and Mahl Have Three Daughters
The Grammy winner has three adult daughters with Mahl—Taylor Mayne Pearl (born 1992), August Anna (born 1994), and Allie Colleen Brooks (born 1996). Their daughters lived in Owasso, Oklahoma with Mahl before pursuing their own paths.
Shortly after their divorce, Brooks had retired from music to focus on his daughters. “I got divorced, moved back to Oklahoma and left Nashville. I was living with three strange women that I did not know. They were 8, 6, and 4, and I was about to get a crash course in females,” said the musician, who made a comeback in 2005 before releasing new music again in 2014. And he credited Yearwood for helping him rediscover fatherhood.
The youngest, Allie, followed her dad’s footsteps into music and is based in Nashville. In October 2018, she tied the knot with a local elementary school teacher and Garth Brooks fan, Jonathan Roberts.
The middle child, August, became a mom at 19 when she and her high school sweetheart, Chance Michael Russell, welcomed their daughter, Karalynn, in 2013. Brooks couldn’t contain his joy at becoming a first-time grandfather back then.
Brooks Runs a Wildlife Rescue Organization
In her then-husband’s early career, Mahl contributed to his lyrics and is even credited as a songwriter on Brooks’ “I’ve Got a Good Thing Going” and “That Summer.” Since their divorce, she has turned her energies towards her other passion: animal rights.
Mahl co-founded Wild Heart Ranch, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organization, when she moved back to Oklahoma from Nashville after her divorce. Through her efforts, Wild Heart Ranch became a state-recognized and licensed non-profit.
She raised funds and enabled the organization’s expansion to care for and raise infant wild animals in a full-time, all-species, all-situation facility.
Mahl has largely stayed out of the spotlight after the divorce, focusing instead on animal rescue. The A&E documentary is the first time she’s spoken out about the divorce, and Brooks was reportedly moved by her honesty, showing that these continue to have a great relationship.
The founders (Sandy and I) of Wild Heart Ranch wish to thank Thompsons Feed Store, Irwin and Christy Carr, Ned Bruha "…
Brooks Survived an Abduction Attempt
In 2006, Mahl had a close shave when she got caught up in an attempted abduction. A worker on her farm, Quintine Cornelius Harper, reportedly tried to kidnap her at gunpoint before she escaped.
Harper was involved in an embezzlement case, but failed to show up at court. When a bail bondsman arrived at Mahl’s home to arrest Harper, he panicked and pointed a gun at Mahl.
He forced Mahl to her vehicle to help him escape, but after driving them a few miles, Mahl stopped the car and fled to a nearby convenience store. Harper was apprehended shortly after and Mahl was unharmed.