Seven years sober and counting. Tim McGraw has opened up about his past struggles with alcohol in the July/August issue of Men's Health magazine, noting that one person in particular helped him to officially kick the habit—his wife of 17 years, Faith Hill.
"When your wife tells you it's gone too far, that's a big wake-up call," the 47-year-old told the mag. "That, and realizing you're gonna lose everything you have."
"Not monetarily, not career-wise, but family-wise," he continued. "It got to the point where my kids were getting older, and it was way past the point that they noticed it. And I noticed that they noticed." (McGraw and Hill, 46, are parents to three daughters: Gracie, 17, Maggie, 15, and Audrey, 12.)
Luckily for the singer-actor, the four women in his current ho helped him turn it all around. His mother Elizabeth Ann D'Agostino, however, seemed to be the voice of reason long before he married Hill in 1996.
"Early in my career—I think I was 19—I was so shy that to even get up onstage in a club, I'd need a few drinks," McGraw recalled to the mag. "I remember my mom tellin' me, 'Y'know, if you don't get up there a couple of times without doing that, it's gonna be a problem.'"
"I drank too much," he added. "I partied too much. And did other things too much. Chemically. No needles or that kind of stuff, but…use your imagination."
Today, McGraw is back on his feet, but he still looks to late country singer Keith Whitley as an example of where his life could have ended up. (Whitley died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 33 in 1989.)
"Keith Whitley taught me how demons can overtake you if you let 'em. And I was headed down that path," he said. "You feel like you're supposed to be 'on' all the time. Then you drink and get onstage, and all of a sudden you feel confident and powerful."
"It becomes a habit," McGraw said. "Up until seven years ago, there were not a lot of shows that I didn't have something in my system."