Faith Hill had grown up knowing that she had been adopted as a baby. Even so, the country star felt that there could be a missing piece to the puzzle. As a result, then, she tracked down her birth mother. And, eventually, Hill found that what her parents had told her about her bio mom wasn’t exactly the truth.
Hill – real name Audrey Faith Perry – entered the world on September 21, 1967, and grew up in the Mississippi community of Star. She had been adopted by Edna and Ted Perry and was raised with the couple’s two sons Wesley and Steve. According to Paul J. Batura’s 2016 book Chosen For Greatness: How Adoption Changes The World, the Perry family had been longing for a daughter.
So, the Perrys apparently asked a friend who was a doctor to inform them if a little girl became available for adoption. And not long after that, Edna and Ted Perry received the call they had been hoping for; ultimately, they would officially become parents to Hill, too.
Hill grew up after that with a love of singing and began performing as a child. Then, at the age of 19, the future star decided to leave school and relocated to Nashville in the hope of making it professionally. There, she would serve as a backup singer for songwriter Gary Burr during his performances at the Bluebird Café.
Luckily for the aspiring musician, Warner Bros. Records executive Bob Saporiti was in the crowd for one such show and noticed Hill’s talents. And after that big break, the fledgling singer received a record deal and had success in the country music world with her albums Take Me As I Amand It Matters To Me. Hits such as “This Kiss,” “The Way You Love Me” and “Breathe” would also eventually catapult her to mainstream success.
Today, Hill has five Grammy Awards to her name and has sold in excess of 40 million albums across the globe. And the 46-year-old has also worked on multiple collaborations with her husband, Tim McGraw. The three-time Grammy Award-winner has also had a long and successful career, having shot to fame after the release of 1994 album Not A Moment Too Soon.
McGraw wasn’t Hill’s first husband, though, as she was previously married to Daniel Hill from 1988 to 1994. The pair ultimately separated when Hill’s career took off, although she elected to keep her former spouse’s last name. Then, in 1996 she became engaged to her ex-producer Scott Hendricks. The couple wouldn’t make it to the altar, however, as Hill embarked on an affair with McGraw.
And Hill and McGraw wed in October 1996 after learning that they were expecting a child. They welcomed daughter Gracie in 1997; they are also parents to girls Maggie, born the following year, and Audrey, who came into the world in 2001. The couple have now been married for more than two decades.
Furthermore, in a 2017 interview with Billboard, McGraw explained that he and Hill had more in common than just a shared passion for music. Apparently, there were similarities in their childhoods, too. “Although our stories are very different, there was a missing link within our souls that we both related to,” McGraw said. “I had a very dysfunctional childhood. So I wanted what I didn’t have: a stable family.”
In that same interview, Hill would share her own surprising story. The singer explained that she had always been told by her adoptive parents that her birth mother had given her up because she’d had a relationship with a man who was married. However, the star had had the sensation that something wasn’t quite right with that tale.
“I used to think there was some kind of conspiracy, that I must be the daughter of one of my aunts. And of course I used to dream I was Elvis’ daughter,” Hill told the magazine. She added that although she had had a happy childhood, she hadn’t always felt as if she belonged.
“I have a great family: salt of the earth, hardworking. But I’m a gypsy at heart. I had a spirit that was completely outside what my family was,” Hill said. “I didn’t know anyone I was related to, biologically, which gives you a sense of not knowing who you are.”
So, when Hill moved to Nashville with the dream of becoming a star, she decided to track down her birth family. And when she found her biological mom, she discovered that her parents had not been telling her the truth. You see, Paula Conway, who had given Hill up for adoption, hadn’t actually fallen pregnant with a married man’s baby.
Instead, Conway had gone on to marry Hill’s biological father, Edwin White. The couple had even had another child together: a son named Zachary. Although Hill did not reveal what had made her mother decide to give her up, it is claimed in Chosen For Greatness: How Adoption Changes The Worldthat Conway was 23 years old at the time and unable to provide the proper care a baby would need.
Hill was happy, too, to discover that her birth mom was a painter. That explained, perhaps, where Hill had inherited her artistic bent from. But she and Conway didn’t forge a strong connection despite this link. “I kept the relationship at bay,” the musician told Billboard.
Nevertheless, Hill has admitted that she had no resentment over Conway’s decision to put her up for adoption. “I have a lot of respect for my birth mother and no feelings of anger or any of that,” she said in a 2004 interview with Good Housekeeping. “I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give me what she felt was a better chance.”
Tragically, though, Hill’s biological father passed away after a car accident before she had had the chance to meet him. Then in 2007 Conway died. McGraw told Billboard that mother and daughter “were just getting to know one another better” at the time of her death.
And it turns out that McGraw was better positioned to understand Hill’s situation than most people. As a child, he had believed that his mom’s abusive husband Horace Smith was his dad – until he came across his birth certificate at the age of 11. It was then that he learned his father was actually baseball player Tug McGraw.
McGraw’s mother had become pregnant after a brief relationship with his father, who was not interested in raising a kid or providing child support. However, after discovering the truth, McGraw met his real dad. And although the pair did not bond immediately, they became closer later on. Tug was even living with the country star and his wife when he died from brain cancer in 2004, with the couple looking after him throughout his health battle.
As yet, though, Hill has not revealed why her adoptive mother – who died in 2016 – and father did not tell her the truth about her biological family. Nor has she said whether they knew the real reason that Conway had put her up for adoption. But it clearly didn’t damage the love that the star has for them. In a 2006 interview on Larry King Live, she said, “The most important thing to me is about my family, and that was definitely taught from my mom and dad.”