After announcing last year that he was planning to retire to spend more time with his three children and work on his marriage, country's reigning superstar tells Billboard that he and his wife, Sandy, are planning to separate after 14 years of marriage.
"Sandy and I both agree that we need to get divorced," Brooks tells Billboard. "Right now, we're focusing on the impact it will have on the children and how to handle that best, to remain parents even if we don't remain husband and wife."
A spokeswoman for Capitol Records, Brooks' label, confirmed the split.
However, the news isn't all bad for fans of Nashville's all-time top-selling solo artist. Despite all the upheaval in his love life, Brooks hinted that he might forego his planned retirement temporarily in order to make one last studio album.
"Does one more album excite me? You know, yeah, making music always does excite me, but I don't know if as a songwriter I have it in me," laments Brooks. "[Still] I don't want this to be called the last album or the farewell album--that's not my bag. If we can come up with songs that feel comparable to the other seven studio albums, then we might [release one more]."
It's been a tumultuous period for Brooks. After the death of his mother in August 1999, the singer subsequently quit the road after 11 years of touring to spend more time with his family and work on his ailing marriage, admitting that his career had taken its toll on his personal life. While the break apparently didn't save his marriage, the time off did allow him to reconnect with his kids.
"The trade that I made [is that] I am an infinite number of times closer to my children than I've been the entire seven years of their lives before [this year off]," Brooks says.
Such is life for an entertainer who has sold over 100 million records--second only to the Beatles in music history.
In honor of the milestone, Capitol records is planning a bash for Brooks on October 26, while Brooks himself may also play a November solo acoustic concert in Nashville as a thank you to his fans, including industry executives in both retail and radio, who helped him pass the 100 million mark.