Why Tim McGraw Wasn’t Angry When He Found Out Tug McGraw Was His Dad

Tim McGraw is one of the biggest names in country music, and many superfans are sure they know everything about him. However, did you know that the singer has a famous father? In a recent interview, McGraw discussed his relationship with his dad. 

Tim McGraw performs on stage
Tim McGraw | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

How Tim McGraw found out ‘Tug’ McGraw was his biological father

McGraw was born in 1967 in Louisiana, the product of teen mom Elizabeth D’Agostino and Frank “Tug” McGraw, a local minor league baseball pitcher. The pair lived in the same apartment building in Jacksonville, Florida. 

When D’Agostino became pregnant, she dropped out of school and was sent to live with relatives in Louisiana. She later married a man named Horace Smith, and McGraw grew up thinking he was his father. 

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When he was 11, McGraw was going through some boxes to find a picture for a school project and ended up finding his birth certificate. He asked his mother about Tug, and she took him to meet his biological father. 

In the years since his relationship with D’Agostino, Tug had made a name for himself playing minor league ball in Jacksonville, as well as making the jump to the major leagues with the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Tug denied that McGraw was his son for years and resisted meeting him or providing any sort of financial support. Eventually, he agreed to meet him again when Tim McGraw and his mom asked for money for college, according to Biography. After that, the father and son formed a relationship and remained close until he died in 2004. 

Tim McGraw’s feelings on finding out about his dad: ‘How could I ever be angry?’

Many assume that McGraw harbors some bitterness over his dad denying that he had fathered McGraw, but the singer insists that it was actually a blessing. 

“People ask me, ‘How could you have a relationship with your father? You were growing up in nothing. He was a millionaire baseball player. He knew you were there, and he didn’t do anything,’” McGraw told Esquire.

“But when I found out Tug McGraw was my dad, it gave me something in my little town in Louisiana, something that I would have never reached for. How could I ever be angry?”

Tug McGraw’s fame inspired Tim McGraw to reach for the stars

McGraw elaborated on their relationship in a 2019 appearance on the Today show, saying:

“I think a lot of people don’t realize I didn’t grow up with Tug. I didn’t know Tug was my dad. I found my birth certificate when I was 11 years old. And, like I said, we didn’t have a whole lot, and I was in my mom’s closet, I was digging through something and found my birth certificate. It said McGraw. My name was Smith as a kid because my stepdad’s name was Horace Smith.”

“It changed what I thought I could do with my life coming from the circumstances I came from,” he continued, referring to his dad’s fame.

“I felt like when I found that out, you know, he’s a professional baseball player who’s successful, to me, it made me think that blood is in my veins, so that ability is in there … so I found sort of that grit inside me that he must have had in order to succeed at what he did. And it changed what I thought I could make out of my life.”

McGraw’s relationship with his father seems like it should have been complicated and full of bad feelings, but it seems like the country singer only used it as fuel to power his drive to become a star. 

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