Tim McGraw Doesn't Harbor Anger for Famous Dad He Didn't Know Until He Was 11

Photo: (Photo : Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Tim McGraw did not know that his father was the famous Major League Baseball player Tug McGraw until he was 11 years old. While he didn't have a relationship with his dad until he was 18, the country singer said he has never harbored anger against Tug.

Speaking with Today, Tim admitted that he had many questions from other people about his relationship with his father. Tug, who passed away in 2004 due to brain cancer, didn't publicly acknowledge his son until Tim was 17 despite meeting the boy when he was 11 years old.

While Tim was growing up, his father's baseball career was peaking, enabling him to earn millions as a baseball star. People close to the country hitmaker would often wonder why he could still accept his father, who gave him nothing.

"When I found out Tug McGraw was my dad, it gave me something in my little town in Louisiana," Tim said. "[It was] something that I would have never reached for so how could I ever be angry?"

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Tim said that his father made him see that he could do something with his life because he has his successful dad's blood running in his veins.

How He Met His Father

For most of Tim's growing-up years, he has called Horace Smith, his stepfather, as his dad. One day, however, he found his old birth certificate while rummaging through his mother's things. The document revealed the name of his biological father. His mother then admitted to him that his real dad was a player with the Philadelphia Phillies during that time.

Tim's mom got in touch with Tug so they could meet in person. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey's podcast show, the country superstar said they had lunch and watched the game, but their first meeting was not acknowledged.

Over the years, Tim would watch his father's games with the help of his mother, who would contact Tug from time to time for tickets. But even then, they didn't have a relationship beyond the game viewing.

One time, Tim wanted to spend an afternoon with his father, but Tug ignored his son. It was at that moment when Tim realized he could never see his father again.

Honoring His Dad

In 2020, Tim marked his father's birthday with a photo montage on Instagram. After their gap during his years as a teenager, the three-time Grammy-winner became close to his father, and that bond lasted until Tug's dying breath.

Despite Tug's previous behavior towards Tim, he kept sending his father letters. While his mother gave up hope, Tim continued to write to Tug to update him about his life. During his sophomore year, Tug attempted a heart-to-heart talk with Tim about his career path because he wanted to drop out of school and pursue music.

As a singer, Tim dropped his stepfather's last name and used McGraw on the stage. It was during this time that Tug finally acknowledged his son. Tug partly nudged the door for Tim when he introduced his son to a Curb Records executive in Nashville, where he scored his first record deal.

In 2003, Tug's family, including Tim, learned that he had weeks to live due to an inoperable brain tumor. Tim moved his father to a medical facility in Florida for a second opinion, surgery, and treatment. He also helped his dad get into an expensive medical program at the Duke Medical Center until Tug's health failed. He spent his final days at his son's cabin in Nashville.

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