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Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't: Garth Brooks and Other Country 'Disappearing Acts'

Our Country

The famously semi-retired Garth Brooks appears to be back in a big way: He's just released an 8-disc boxed set, announced new shows at Las Vegas's Wynn, and is fueling speculation that he might be plotting a full return to the spotlight. It's a most welcome chain of events for fans, who have been hoping for such a comeback ever since the superstar announced he'd be hanging up his cowboy hat for an indefinite period of time.

Brooks bowed out of his exceedingly successful career for a simple reason: He wanted to spend more time with his family, vowing that he would not return fulltime to music at least until all three of his daughters graduated high school.

It's a decision he's clearly not regretted --back in 2000, Brooks explained in an interview that he realized, while attending one of his kids' soccer games, that "I had more fun than all 10 years of touring." And, since his youngest daughter will be graduating next Spring, Brooks just may have the free time he needs to re-launch his country-music dominance.

Of course, Brooks isn't the only country star to walk out of the spotlight in order to focus on family. Shania Twain did the same in 2004, citing a need to be with her young son Eja. During her time away, she also found herself in the midst of unhappy family issues; namely an emotionally ravaging divorce. Since then, she's made a more-than-triumphant return in the form of her residency at Las Vegas's Caesar Palace -- with a new and happy marriage to boot!

And then there's another stay-at-home dad, Clint Black, who took three years off from his hitmaking career in 2001 after the birth of his daughter. As he told PBS "It ended up not being a smart career move, but it was a real smart dad move...I wouldn't go back and try to do anything for my career in exchange for that."Black ended up starting his own record label while on hiatus, which operated for five years and helped launch the careers of artists such as Little Big Town.

One thing that all these Nashville stars seem to have in common is absolutely no regret for putting what matters most, first. Brooks himself is outspoken regarding his happiness in his decision to spend more time with family. He recently told talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres that his opportunity to watch his children grow was a "gift from God."

"I think if everybody was allowed that luxury, 99 percent of us parents would take it," he said. "They just grow up so fast."


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