Country Icon Toby Keith Says His Wife Tricia Has Been The ‘Best Nurse’

“Oh, she’s been a trooper,” Keith admits of his wife of nearly 40 years.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

January 26, 2024


8:51 am

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Toby Keith; Photo Courtesy New 9, Toby Keith, Tricia Lucus Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC

Toby Keith and his wife, Tricia have been together for almost 40 years, and they have had to lean on each other more than ever during the country icon’s ongoing battle with stomach cancer. In a recent interview with News 9’s Robin Marsh, Keith praised his other half, saying she truly stepped up during this time and was ready to fight alongside him from day one.  

His Biggest Supporter

“Oh, she’s been a trooper. She’s the best nurse,” he shared. “The first time we went to Houston, to the hospital, she stepped right in and she just took control and said, ‘We got this. Let’s go.’ So she’s like, ‘We’re going to get this, and don’t worry about it.’”

Tricia Lucus and Toby Keith; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Tricia Lucus and Toby Keith; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

How They Met

The lovebirds first met at an Oklahoma nightclub in 1981. He was 20 years old and she was 19. They dated for three years before tying the knot March 24, 1984. After the wedding, Keith adopted Shelley, Tricia’s daughter from a previous marriage, and then the pair welcomed children of their own. Their daughter, Krystal, arrived in 1985 and their son, Stelen, was born years later, in 1997.

At the time they got together, Keith was still trying to make it big as a country music singer. After his career started to take off, Tricia remained by his side, watching him dominate stages across the world and rack up 32 number-one songs over the course of more than three decades.

When the Oklahoma native was diagnosed in October of ‘21, he took a step back from his career to focus on his health. As a result, he spent more time away from touring than ever before and Tricia’s opportunity to see her husband perform on stage suddenly came to a halt. 

Toby Keith, Tricia Lucus arrive to the 2023 People's Choice Country Awards held at the Grand Ole Opry House on September 28, 2023; Photo by Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC
Toby Keith, Tricia Lucus arrive to the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards held at the Grand Ole Opry House on September 28, 2023; Photo by Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC

By His Side During His Return To The Stage

Then in September of 2023, he made a rare return to the stage during the Inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards, where he was presented with the Country Icon Award from fellow Oklahoma native Blake Shelton. For his first major awards show performance since 2017, he sang an unforgettable delivery of his song, “Don’t Let The Old Man In.” The audience was filled with emotion as they watched Keith, who had lost a significant amount of weight, deliver an unforgettable performance.

One person in the audience who was especially touched was his wife. The cameras panned to Tricia, showing her wiping her tears away as she mouthed the words right along with him. 

“Don’t Let The Old Man In” is a song that Keith originally released to country radio in December of 2018. Following his powerful performance at the People’s Choice Country Awards, the song went viral and got its chance to have a second chance on country radio. 

Toby Keith; Photo by Katherine Bomboy/NBC
Toby Keith; Photo by Katherine Bomboy/NBC

“Every person in the room was just zoomed in and then you just deliver that message. It got its due and then it went number one the next day it was like trending.”

Song Sent To Country Radio

He teamed up with BMLG Records to send the ballad to country radio on October 30, 2023. The song topped Billboard’s Country Digital Song Sales chart for two consecutive weeks. Additionally, it placed in the Top 3 on the all-genre sales chart and claimed the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Country Songs and Videos charts.  

Toby Keith then made his way to Las Vegas in mid-December for a three-night residency at Dolby Live at Park MGM. Social media posts at the time revealed that for two full hours, the audience was treated to a setlist of hits spanning Keith’s entire career. These shows sold out in minutes and became one of the fast-selling tickets in the venue’s history. 

Toby Keith has yet to share plans for any future performances, but he continues to keep fans updated via social media.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.