Faith Hill and Oprah

Before soaring to the top of the charts, country star Faith Hill was a small-town girl from Mississippi—much like Oprah! She began her singing career in a tiny town appropriately named Star, and it didn't take long for people to notice her star quality.

Faith first showcased her booming vocals in church—even before she was old enough to read the hymns. "I grew up singing in church, and that's where I spent most of my time," Faith says. "I had dreams of being on stage ... I would stand on the front row of the pew and have my hymnal upside down...hallelujah singing as loud as I could."

At just 19, Faith left her hometown and headed to Nashville to pursue a musical career. Before long, her debut single, "Wild One," rocketed to number one on the country charts.

Faith's date with destiny really heated up when country king, Tim McGraw, asked her to open for his Spontaneous Combustion tour. The minute wheels started rolling, sparks flew, and the couple got married that year.

She and Tim started a family, and then her career really took off. Hits like "This Kiss" and "Breathe" took her from country star to superstar!
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Landov LLC

Every Cinderella story needs a prince charming, and Faith's fairy tale is no different! Faith believes her life truly began the day she met her husband, Tim McGraw.

"He felt like home, you know?" Faith says. "He felt just like a great old T-shirt that [you] just never wanted to take off. You know that feeling ... I couldn't stay away from him. I couldn't stop staring at him, and I [still] can't stop staring at him."

From the first moment they connected, Faith knew she would marry Tim—it was just a matter of when. What she didn't expect was his spontaneous proposal right before he went on stage. While he was performing, Faith wrote, "Yes, I'm going to be your wife," on a mirror with a black marker, and they've kept the mirror as a keepsake all these years.

When Faith and Tim are apart, she says she only sleeps in his white T-shirts to feel closer to him and smell him. "That's the real deal when you want to just smell him," Oprah says.
Faith Hill

When Faith's not recording country hits, she's at home with her husband and their three daughters—Gracie, Maggie and Audrey. Even with an after-school routine and an early bedtime, Faith and Tim have to get creative to find time for romance.

"The kids are always around, and they just show up," Faith says. "It's kind of like this exotic thing because it's like there's the closet, there's the kitchen...seriously. You know, what's the bed?"

Faith says she'd love to expand their family, and try for a baby boy. That way Tim wouldn't be the only man in a house full of strong women.

"I'm sure if I got pregnant again it would be two girls," Faith says. "My poor husband would have to go hide out somewhere, because now, as it is, it's pretty extreme. Girls are very complicated. Even at this young age."

Juggling a musical career, a CD and mom duties isn't easy, and even Faith has a bad hair day every once in awhile. But she has learned to keep everything in perspective.

"In my mind...[if] you wake up healthy, and you wake up happy, and your family's safe and happy and healthy, then everything else pales in comparison," Faith says.
Faith Hill

Oprah: So I want to play a little game with you; we call it "who is." You or Tim...who is the most romantic?

Faith: Probably Tim.

Oprah: And what is the most romantic thing you can recall?

Faith: He "kidnapped" me one time from a Rod Stewart concert. Rod Stewart came into Nashville, and I was ga ga ga—had to go see Rod Stewart. ... As soon as we get out of the arena, he blindfolds me and I have no idea what we're doing. We get on a plane and we fly down to Key West. He does not take the blindfold off me, though, until we get to Key West. ... We land in Key West, and he takes it off, and it was just the two of us. This was after the kids.

Oprah: Who's the disciplinarian with the girls?

Faith: Well, it's funny because he would say he is, and I say I am.

Oprah: And who's better with money?

Faith: Me. Definitely. Without a doubt.
Lori McKenna

There's more to Faith Hill's Fireflies than beautiful music. The drama that unfolded during recording is a real life fairy tale. Faith's album was nearly complete when she literally stopped the presses because of a 36-year-old mom from Massachusetts named Lori.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Lori McKenna is a stay-at-home mother raising her five children. When she was just 6 years old, Lori's mother died. In her teens, writing music became her way of dealing with that loss. Lori always dreamed of being a songwriter, but never had the confidence to sing for anyone except her kids.

Between changing diapers and making dinners, Lori kept writing songs and finally gathered the courage to perform in local clubs.

That's where fate—or rather Faith—comes in. "This song comes to me from a songwriter named Lori McKenna," Faith says. "And I said, 'I want to hear everything this woman has ever written!' ... It was so incredibly personal and real and just human. Her writing was none like I'd ever heard before."

Faith Hill recorded three of Lori's songs for her album. Meeting for the first time was an emotional moment for both women.
Faith Hill and Lori McKenna perform 'Fireflies'

For Lori, performing her song with Faith was a full-circle moment. "I wrote ["Fireflies"] to remind myself to keep going and dreaming," Lori says. "The way [Faith Hill] interprets the song—it is an enormous perfect circle."

Lori also shared that she often found inspiration for her songwriting from watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. "People would always constantly ask me: 'How do you write songs like this when you've been married since you were 19?'" says Lori. "And I would say, 'Oprah. I watch The Oprah Show and it inspires me."

One show in particular inspired Lori to write a song about the children's book story of Ruby Bridges. Lori says, "I could never finish [the book] without crying." After Lori sang a few bars of the song, Oprah and the audience got a little teary-eyed, too!
Martha Sharp and Faith Hill

Back when Faith Hill's music career was still a dream, she landed a gig singing harmony for a friend at the legendary Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville. As fate would have it, Warner Brothers music executive Martha Sharp was in the audience that night.

Credited as the woman who discovered Faith Hill, Martha says she recognized Faith's star quality right away. Martha explains, "This was my gift that I could look at that little girl with the short hair singing backup and think, 'This girl's got it.'" Martha says watching Faith Hill succeed "has been just so fabulous. It has been vindication."

Martha paid Faith a surprise visit on the show. "This is a full-circle moment for me," says Faith. "For me to have Martha as my mentor and my leader at the beginning of my's priceless."
Faith Hill performs 'Breathe'

Four-time Grammy winner Faith Hill sings her number one hit "Breathe."  
FROM: How Faith Hill Changed One Woman's Life Forever
Published on October 03, 2005


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