Toby Keith is known for his big personality and that’s exactly what caught the attention of his wife Tricia Lucus when they first met at an Oklahoma nightclub in 1981.
“I was 19 and he was 20,” Tricia told People. “He was just one of those larger-than-life guys, full of confidence.”
They danced together and began dating shortly after. During this time, Keith (whose real last name is Covel) would spend his days working in the oil fields and his nights performing at local bars with his band Easy Money.
After dating for three years, the couple tied the knot on March 24, 1984. The singer adopted Shelley, Tricia’s daughter from a previous marriage, after the wedding and in 1985, they welcomed their daughter, Krystal. Their son Stelen arrived years later, in 1997.
The oil fields “went bust” soon after and Keith decided to use the opportunity to focus on his music.
Times were getting a bit tough on the home front, however. Tricia was juggling raising a family while the creditors hounded them.
“He’d say, ‘Trish, one of these days, my time is coming. Hang in there,’” Tricia recalled.
His time came in 1993 when his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” hit country radio. The song skyrocketed to the top of the charts and would later become the most-played country song of the 1990s.
His celebrity status continued to rise and Tricia remained by his side through it all.
“Dozens of people told Tricia, ‘You need to go tell your old man to get a real job,’” the singer shared with Country Weekly. “It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, ‘He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us if he can make it work.’”
Keith’s career reached new heights as time went on. He garnered accoladed after accolade, brought in multimillion-dollar endorsements, started a line of liquor and even launched his own line of restaurants, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.
Once dubbed “country music’s $500 million man” by Forbes, Keith hasn’t let fame get in the way of his marriage or family.
“I absolutely love performing and writing songs,” he says, “but being at home with my wife, Tricia, and my three kids is the best feeling of all.”
Toby and Tricia continue to reside in Oklahoma with their children and grandchildren nearby.