Garth Brooks tried to avoid looking at his wife Trisha Yearwood while debuting a special tribute song at the 2018 CMA Awards because he feared breaking down before the performance was done.
The country superstar wrote Stronger Than Me in honour of his wife of 13 years, but she had to wait until Wednesday night (14Nov18) to hear it for the first time, while sitting in the audience at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Garth was already full of nerves before hitting the stage to premiere the love song, which is all about a woman’s strength, and locking eyes with Trisha as he prepared to step into the spotlight almost derailed his entire set.
“I was scared to death,” he confessed to breakfast show Good Morning America about debuting the tune. “(Trisha) hadn’t heard the song, so this was gonna be the first time, and the first time I looked at her, right before they introduced me (for the performance), I started to choke up, like, ‘Crap, I’m not gonna be able to even look at her.’
“So it was tough, but it was great. The crowd pulled me through.”
The musician earned a standing ovation for the touching track, which moved Trisha to tears and also made Garth cry at the end of the set.
Luckily for Garth, the How Do I Live singer immediately became a big fan of the song, tweeting after the show, “#StrongerThanMe is everything! I love you @GarthBrooks”.
Trisha also revealed the lyrics which moved her the most came right at the end of the track, when he crooned, “I pray God takes me first ’cause you’re stronger than me.”
The line references a conversation the couple had previously had about its ability to cope with the death of a spouse, during which Garth insisted he would crumble if he had to live without Trisha.
“It’s like, ‘I can’t, I hope I go first,'” she recalled of their chat to Entertainment Tonight, “and he’s like, ‘No, I have to go first. I can’t. I won’t be able to (go on).'”
Debuting Stronger Than Me wasn’t the only emotional moment of the prizegiving Garth was involved in – he also opened the show by dedicating the ceremony to the victims of last week’s (07Nov18) Borderline Bar & Grill massacre in Thousand Oaks, California.