Tim McGraw: From the Heart

In an exclusive CW interview not long before the Nov. 26 opening of his latest movie, Four Christmases, Tim McGraw talked about some high points in his personal and professional life in the past few months. Here’s part of what Tim had to say:

CW
One of the things I found most touching in the book you co-wrote [My Little Girl] was when [the father in the book had asked his daughter], “What was your favorite part of the day?” and she said, “Being with you.” Is that as good as it gets as a dad?
TM
Absolutely. At the end of the day, when everything’s said and done and you do all these fantastic things, they really just want your approval and want to be with you.
CW
Did all three of your girls have different favorite books?
TM
They had different favorite books through the years. Gosh, I’m terrible with names . . . but they love children’s books. All the Christmas stuff they love when it’s Christmas time. Gracie is just starting to get into To Kill a Mockingbird at 11 years old, so I think it’s fantastic that she’s really interested in stuff like that. She’s really growin’ up. That’s pretty mature stuff.
But they all love to read, and Faith and I love to read, too. And I feel as a father that they’ve gotta have their math and all the other stuff. But I think if a kid did nothin’ else but read and experience the world, I think they would get a fantastic education. And they’d pursue their interests, so they’d have a passion for it, too.
CW
How important is it for you to have quality dad time with them individually, in addition to whatever time you all spend together?
TM
I try to. It’s hard. That’s the hardest thing. Because they keep up with it. You think that they don’t but they pay attention to how much time you spend with each one. They have a very keen sense if you’re spendin’ more time with one than the other. And you don’t really realize that. What you try to do is notice and pay attention to where you can see when there’s times when one needs you a little more than the other at that moment in time. And it all evens out in the end. Our 11 year old is hittin’ that age where her world’s startin’ to change, so she requires a little more time . . . even though she doesn’t want it a lot of the time! [he laughs] Which shows you that you do need to be around. The more they don’t want you to be around, the more you need to be.
CW
In the trailer [for Four Christmases], you’re totally without lines. Did you have some?
TM
I had lines. Luckily, since it was a comedy, I don’t have a whole lot of lines. [he laughs]. I think I’m more into drama. But there’s a lot of physical stuff. Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau and I are brothers. And Vince is kinda the sissy lawyer brother. And John and I are amateur backyard cage fighters. So a lot of our stuff is physical. Vince and John have this banter going back and forth between them, and I’m kinda the straight guy. The straight guy meaning I’m not smart enough to keep up and say anything.
CW
What appealed to you about the role? Everything you’ve done so far is really unlike your other roles . . . is that part of the appeal?
TM
Yeah, I hadn’t done a comedy. The cast was fantastic. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a comedy at all, and I don’t know if I ever will do another comedy, I just don’t know if that’s what I like to do. I had fun doin’ this of course, but it was a small part and I didn’t have a lot to do. But Faith and I read the script and we were just rollin’ laughin’. Then I looked at the cast of people who were gonna be in it and I thought, “You know, even though it’s a small part, it’s hard to pass this up. To be in an ensemble cast with these great actors.” Plus, I’m a country singer. That’s about as close to an amateur, backyard cage fighter as you can get! [he laughs].
CW
I went to the listening party for Faith’s new Christmas CD, Joy to the World. You must be proud of that project.
TM
I think it’s fantastic. She’s wanted to do a Christmas album for a long time. And her voice, you know she’s so soulful and so earthy with her vocal. I’m biased of course, but I think she’s probably one of the best singers I’ve ever heard as far as being real and soulful all at the same time. She just touches you with her voice. That mixed with this Christmas music, and the way they cut it with this real classic feel—I think it’s just fantastic. I think it’s gonna be somethin’ that people are gonna listen to forever.
CW
I agree. And she made it her own without desecrating these classic songs.
TM
Absolutely. They remain classic, but with her touch. She did the impossible, she kept these songs classic, and still fresh. And then the new song on there, “A Baby Changes Everything.” I can’t even listen to it without crying. How often do you hear a song told from a 14-year-old Mary’s point of view?
CW
If somebody landed from Mars and had never heard of Tim McGraw . . . who would you tell them you are?
TM
I don’t know if career-wise that’s what I would bring up. I think that I would just let ‘em figure it out for themselves. Hopefully, anybody who knows me knows that the first sense you get of me has nothin’ to do with my career. And I think it would take you awhile to even figure that out. I think my life is more than my career. I think I knew who I was before I had success. And I think I know who I am during my success. And I’ll know who I am long after my success.

For more on Tim McGraw, check out the Dec. 15 issue of Country Weekly.

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