While growing up in small-town Louisiana, Tim McGraw stumbled onto a family secret that would change his life. Hidden in his mother's closet, Tim found his birth certificate inside a shoe box. On it was his father's name and occupation: Tug McGraw, professional baseball player.
Up until that point, Tim believed his stepfather, Horace Smith, was his biological dad. In the above clip from "Oprah's Master Class," Tim talks about what that moment of truth felt like.
"It was so out of nowhere, the whole idea of it and the thought process that happened," he says. "It was almost like if an alien showed up and introduced himself and said, “Hi, I’m from Mars.” I mean, that’s how foreign it was to me."
Though it was confusing, finding out he had a famous father was also exciting. "To me, as an 11 year old kid, it was like finding the golden ticket at Willy Wonka's Factory," Tim says. "I thought it was the coolest thing, not realizing the trauma that it had created to everyone in my life -- and to me. I didn't realize the trauma it had created in me. Those are the things that you find out the older that you get, you know, the more things that get in your kitchen."
Tug pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, and Tim knew their schedule inside and out. "The next year, I begged my mom to take me back to see the Phillies play Houston," he says. "She borrowed a car, and we drove to Houston and he was playing at the Astrodome. And he had left tickets for us, because she had gotten in contact with his lawyer, I think. His lawyer had said he'll leave tickets for you."
While watching Tug warm up, Tim says he tried to get his father's attention. "He always did this thing where a player would hit balls with a fungo bat, and hit it up in the air and he would catch them behind his back," he says. "So he was doing that, and I started yelling at him."
"And then he wouldn't look at me," Tim says. "So I spent 30 minutes trying to get his attention and he wouldn’t look at me. And so I went and sat back down, and I never saw him again until I was 18."