Because kaboom, indeed.
"I knew instantly," McGraw told Fresh Air in 2022 of falling for his wife of 26 years in 1996. "I knew the first time I saw a picture of her that I was in love. It was my first headlining tour, and my management asked her management if she would open the tour and she agreed."
Before they hit the road, they played a festival. And one night, the singer recalled, he and his band were closing their set as usual with Steve Miller's "The Joker," doing their "sort of slide guitar kind of thing" at the front of the stage, when "I feel some presence behind me and I turn around and it's Faith and she's doing the slide with us. And I turn around to look at her and I said, 'OK, boy, something's up here.'"
And you don't just forget something like that.
After about a month or two on tour, McGraw continued, "Finally I walked into her dressing room one day and just kissed her."
The centrifugal motion perpetuated by this kiss propelled them toward the altar on Oct. 6, 1996, and they finished the tour as husband and wife.
Not that Hill didn't make McGraw work for it, turning down a few of his proposals because she didn't think he was serious, until he finally asked in writing: "Will you marry me?" scrawled on a mirror with a Sharpie. Her reply was "Yes!" written in lipstick, and they still have the mirror.
"I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt," Hill told ABC News' Barbara Walters, "that this person was the one that would have to be my mate for the rest of my life."
They've been nearly inseparable ever since, raising daughters Gracie, 26, Maggie, 25, and Audrey McGraw, 21, holding court on four smash-hit duet tours and, most recently, teaming up to play a tough frontier couple in the intense Yellowstone prequel 1883, their first time acting together.
"We'd lay in bed," McGraw said, and Hill "would read the entire script out loud. And then I would read episode two out loud," and they went through the whole season that way. But, not wanting their real dynamic to bleed into their characters, they didn't rehearse away from the set.
"I felt it was important that we didn't run lines," Hill explained on E!'s Daily Pop in June 2022. "We didn't talk about our scenes at all, ever, until we were on set as James and as Margaret and said 'Action.'" They did, however, prepare for a scene in which Margaret let James have it.
"The only thing we talked about is, like, we don't wanna do a TV slap," McGraw said on Daily Pop. "We wanna do a real slap. And we're married, we can take it. We've been together for a long time."
However, he joked, "about the eighth take, I was like, 'Okay, do we need to have a conversation? Is there something going on that I don't know about?'"
There was not. "We don't slap in our marriage," Hill noted. "Let's make that clear."
But they do support each other, endlessly, both singers crediting the other for making them better, on stage and off.
McGraw always previews his albums for his wife because "her musical chops are some of the best in the world," he told E! News ahead of the Aug. 25 release of his 17th studio album, Standing Room Only. "We don't always agree about songs," the 56-year-old added with a smile, "but I always want her opinion."
That feedback runs both ways, however, McGraw explained, and the final decision always rests with whoever's project it is. "We're individual artists," he said. "We both have our own idea of what we think is good and what we like. Most of the time we agree—but every now and then there's a little difference of opinion."
As for the tracks on Standing Room Only, however, he said, "She liked every one of 'em." (Hill also captioned an Instagram post touting the album's release, "Can you be any hotter," with many prayer hands and fire emojis.)
McGraw will head out on an arena tour in support of the album next March 14, a familiar routine that he and Hill long ago decided should not keep them apart for too long at a time.
Hence why they've spent a lot of time on the road together, bringing 3-year-old Gracie and 2-year-old Maggie along for the ride on their inaugural Soul2Soul Tour in 2000.
"When I look back through my career, I've found that the times I've spent working with Faith, especially touring with Faith, that my records—or at least my performance on my records—sort of got exponentially better, having to sing with her every night," McGraw reflected on Sunday Sitdown With Willie Geist in 2020. "When it comes to singing with Faith, it's like a NASCAR trying to keep up with an Indy car. She's truly, in my opinion, one of the greatest singers that's ever sang a song."
In fact, they could be in the middle of a show and "I get that look from her, 'You're faltering a bit, son, you need to keep up,'" McGraw shared. "The point is, she makes me better." (And side-eye aside, they seal every concert with a kiss at the end.)
As for their daughters, "we tried to keep their life as normal as we possibly could," McGraw told E! News. Thanks to the couple's early success, they had the luxury of being able to make their own schedules, so they tried not to work too much while their girls were in school.
"I coached basketball, I coached softball, we went to all the PTA meetings, we tailgated at football games" when the kids were cheerleaders, the girl dad reminisced. And overall, he and Hill "tried to teach them to be humble and have humility, and be very respectful of everybody else—and be grateful for the life and opportunities they've been given."
And when Mom and Dad have sold 100 million albums combined, the opportunities have been vast.
Until 2021, the technically Nashville-based couple owned L'île d'Anges, their own 20-acre island in the Bahamas—"Our kids practically grew up down there," McGraw told podcast host Aubrey Marcus in 2019—before selling it for $35 million. Their family homestead remains a 22,460-square-foot manse in Music City, still plenty of space for whenever their girls—all of whom inherited the performance gene—are in town.
"Nashville CA/L.A. Tennessee," off of Standing Room Only, was inspired by the bittersweet emptying of the nest. "Me loading up my 19-year-old Cadillac Escalade, taking all the seats out, and loading all my oldest daughter's stuff up in it," McGraw told E!, "and driving her out cross-country to L.A. Then dropping her off and just falling apart, then going to stay at the hotel and then leaving, heading back by myself the next day."
Gracie eventually made her way to New York last year, where she started performing in the Broadway Sings series.
But while he's obviously a doting dad who couldn't be prouder of his kids' success, McGraw would pass the praise for how well the girls—and everything else in their life—turned out right over to his other half.
"I'm lucky to have her," told E! News of Hill in 2017. "She's the light of our whole family's life. She keeps everything going for us. We all strive to be like my wife, everybody in our family. If your wife holds the example for everybody in your family, that's a good thing."
The author of the getting-healthy guide Grit & Grace has talked candidly about owing his actual life to his wife, too, telling People in November 2009 ("probably a year and nine months" since his last drink) he'd "be dead" if it wasn't for her.
"Faith saved my life in a lot of ways—from myself more than anything," McGraw said. "I can go down a dark road sometimes, when you're not feeling good about yourself, and she pulls me out. My wife makes me a better man."
Hill—who amid a round of trouble-in-paradise rumors for the couple mused to People in 2013, "I don't know why 'happy' can't be a story"—may be the gorgeous glue holding it all together, but still likes it, loves it and wants some more of it after all these years.
"The greatest gift we have ever been given in life are our children," Hill said when she and McGraw were both inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. "There's not a day that goes by that I do not thank God above for the pleasure and honor of Gracie, and Maggie, and Audrey." Being their mom made her want to be the best person she could possibly be, she continued, as the speech turned a bit rowdy. "And because of their dad—that's you," she gestured to McGraw, who chimed in as the crowd started laughing, "We have blood tests."
The couple dissolved into giggles. "I don't want to get all sappy," Hill pressed on, "because it's kinda like [gagging gesture]. But I do love this guy. He is spicy like Tabasco sauce, times one thousand. He is spicy, and he's a handful, and it's awesome. And he's just taught me to be spicier, all the time." She turned to her husband, adding, "And thank you for my babies, I love them and I love you."
And "happy" can be the story.
Keep reading to see their inspiring romance in pictures: