McGraw, 54, recalled a difficult moment during his battle with alcoholism in a new interview with Esquire, and said he was struck with fear after waking up early to drink.
“I remember a moment when I was getting out of bed and going to the liquor cabinet and taking a big shot at 8:00 in the morning and thinking, I have to wake the kids up,” he said, referring to daughters Gracie, 24, Maggie, 23, and Audrey, 19, whom he shares with Hill.
The “Humble and Kind” singer said the moment made him turn immediately to Hill, his wife of nearly 25 years, for help and support.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and their daughters
“I went straight to my wife and said, ‘This is where I’m at.’ I was scared. She just grabbed me and hugged me and changed my life,” he told Esquire.
McGraw previously told PEOPLE that whiskey was his drink of choice, but that he had difficulty limiting the amount he drank, and that it got “to the point where I felt it was negatively affecting my relationships and getting in the way of things I wanted to accomplish in life.”
John Shearer/Getty Images Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
With Hill to lean on, McGraw got sober in 2008, and has since embraced a healthier lifestyle.
He and the “Breathe” singer, 53, tied the knot in October 1996 after meeting and falling in love on tour that same year.
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“My wife always says, ‘You’re not scared of anything.’ I say, ‘Ehhh, one thing. I’m looking at it right now,'” McGraw told Esquire. “I didn’t know love could feel so good. Was it an emotion? Was it a lifestyle? Was it an imaginary thing? But love is all of those things.”
The three-time Grammy winner also noted that he and Hill have found that expressing anger is a healthy outlet for them, and that they’re not afraid to fight in front of their three daughters.
“Love is being angry. Love is not talking for a day. Love is getting in each other’s face. Love is accepting that I’m wrong. Love is a 360-degree thing. It’s not linear,” McGraw said. “They always say you’re not supposed to fight in front of your kids. Everybody fights in front of their kids. That’s part of the deal.”
Tim McGraw/Instagram Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
The happy couple celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary in October 2020, and McGraw shared a touching tribute to Instagram at the time, writing that they’d “loved, laughed and cried through exciting, inspiring and heartbreaking events in our lives together.”
“U have been a role model for 3 remarkable young women who have made me a better man than I ever thought I could be. The future will surely hold more of all of these things,” he wrote at the time. “It only matters if I’m with you. It only works if I’m with you. My oxygen only exists if you’re by my side. Forever and always living and loving our way through anything @faithhill.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.