Raised by a troubled man he thought was his father, only to accidentally discover that his real father was a major league pitcher who’d rejected him. One wouldn’t say Tim McGraw had an easy childhood. But with the love and help of family and faith, he now has forgiveness few might think possible
A Troubled Childhood
Tim McGraw grew up thinking his last name was Smith. In fact, Smith was his stepfather’s name.
In an interview, Tim described how he came to know that his true father was Tug McGraw, a famous major league baseball pitcher. It seems he was rummaging through some items and came across his birth certificate. McGraw was the name on it. However, this had been scratched out. Smith was hand-written in its place. Tim was 11-years- old.
His stepfather raised Tim. In the same interview, Tim described him as “alcoholic and very abusive.” He’s also his described stepfather as suffering from bipolar disorder.
However, once he realized his paternity, his mother initiated contact with Tug. He and Tim had lunch a short time later, but it would be seven years before Tim saw his father again. At 18-years-old, he had only seen his father once in his life.
In an amazing twist of fate, Tim and his father developed an incredible bond that lasted until his father died of brain cancer in 2004. Tim’s song, “Live Like You Were Dyin” is the story of his father’s last years.
In an interview with the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tim discussed how he dealt with forgiveness. At the time, he had just finished starring in book-turned-blockbuster, “The Shack.” His character faced many similar internal battles.
“The Shack” is all about forgiveness, and with the parallels to his life, he said he had “an emotional meltdown” after reading the script. He knew he had to do the film.
McGraw reflected on the themes of the movie in his life. For example, his relationship with God. He asks, “God, how can I get closer?” He also credits his wife and children with teaching him about forgiveness and love, and for giving him “a remarkably happy and blessed life.”
It seems that despite the difficulties and odds, he laid his anger to rest before his father. And he lives on in happiness and freedom.