Garth Brooks, a beloved country icon, has faced controversy throughout his career. Most recently, he received backlash for his comments about Bud Light and its partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. Brooks’ plan to sell “every brand of beer” at his upcoming Nashville bar, The Friends In Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk, drew criticism from fans who disagreed with his decision to sell Bud Light. Some took to social media to express their disapproval and even called for a boycott of the bar.
This is not the first time Brooks has courted controversy. In 1991, his music video for the song “The Thunder Rolls” was banned by The Nashville Network (TNN) and CMT due to its portrayal of cheating and abuse. Despite the ban, Brooks won the CMA video of the year award. In 1992, he released the song “We Shall Be Free,” which imagined a world free from social issues like homophobia and racism. The music video included intense imagery that caused NBC to initially refuse to air it before the Super Bowl. Brooks walked out of the stadium in protest, resulting in the requirement for prerecorded national anthem performances at the Super Bowl.
In a surprising move, Brooks introduced his alter ego, Chris Gaines, in 1999. Gaines was a fictional rock musician from Australia, and Brooks released an album under this persona. Although the character caused confusion, Brooks managed to score a Billboard Top 40 pop single with the song “Lost In You.” In a recent interview, Brooks expressed his love for the Chris Gaines project and his interest in doing more with it.
Brooks has also been open about his personal life, acknowledging his past failures as a husband and father. He admitted to being a “bad husband” and described how his career took a toll on his marriage with his first wife, Sandy Mahl. They divorced in 2001, and Brooks later married fellow country artist Trisha Yearwood in 2005. He expressed gratitude for his relationship with Yearwood, stating that marrying his best friend has been a blessing.
Despite the controversies surrounding him, Brooks remains a beloved figure in the country music industry, with a dedicated fan base that continues to support him.