Garth Brooks Opens Up About Why He Walked Away From Fame In 2000

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2014 file photo, Garth Brooks attends the 2014 ASCAP Centennial Awards, benefiting the ASCAP Foundati
FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2014 file photo, Garth Brooks attends the 2014 ASCAP Centennial Awards, benefiting the ASCAP Foundation and its music education, talent development and humanitarian activities, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Brooks has canceled a Thanksgiving appearance on NBC's "Tonight" show because he said it "seemed distasteful" given the reaction to the decision not to prosecute Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown this summer. NBC on Wednesday, Nov. 26, confirmed the postponement, saying Brooks was being replaced on the show by Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Colicchio. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Invision/AP, File)

Country superstar Garth Brooks retired from music in 2000 to focus on his family. Now, with a comeback on the horizon as his ninth studio album, "Man Against Machine" just went platinum, the 53-year-old singer opened up to People magazine about why he walked away from fame.

"People said, 'How could you walk away from music?' But being a dad -- there's nothing that can touch that," he told the magazine, explaining that he left the limelight to spend time with his three daughters from his first marriage, to Sandy Mahl.

Brooks went from playing his biggest hits at sold-out stadiums to playing stay-at-home single dad. In 1999, he separated from Mahl and moved with his daughters into a small bunkhouse on his ranch in Oklahoma. It was a change the singer says took some getting used to.

At first Brooks said he'd "just stare" at his kids, explaining, "I knew their sweet faces and their dispositions. But I didn't know who they were."

Over time, the family adjusted, and Brooks even became a regular soccer dad.

"You start being a part of the community," he told the magazine. "The dads across the soccer field looked at me as a dad just like them. And I was very grateful."

But these days, now that all of his children have graduated high school, he's dealing with empty-nest syndrome. Unlike most parents, however, he's keeping himself busy with a world tour with wife Trisha Yearwood. Last July, the singer announced his triumphant return to music with a three-year global tour and a new record deal with Sony Music Nashville.

Touring with Yearwood has also helped with that transition. "Thank God I'm with the love of my life," he said. "That's why I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be."