Throughout Faith Hill's rise to superstardom in country music, she's always been open about the fact that she was adopted. She has nothing but love for her adoptive parents, who welcomed her into their family just days after she was born, but that doesn't mean that the country star didn't feel like something was missing in her life. She decided to set out to find her birth family and learn more about her origin story. It turned out, there was more to the story than she originally was led to believe.
She always knew she was adopted
Faith was born on September 21, 1967, and adopted just days later. She grew up in Star, Mississippi as Audrey Faith Perry, the youngest of three children, with two older brothers. Her parents, Ted and Edna Perry, were open with her from the very beginning about the fact that she was adopted, which she felt was nothing she had to hide. Even when getting teased by other kids on the playground.
"When kids would call one another names, they'd say, 'You act like you're adopted.' And I'd always get 'em good, because I'd say, 'Well, I am adopted. So what do you think about that?' " she said in the 2012 CBS special "A Home for the Holidays."
After Hill moved to Nashville in her early 20s to pursue music, she decided to start searching for her birth mother. At the time, she was feeling incredibly lost and she needed to know who she was and where she came from. In an interview with Billboard, she explained why it was important for her despite loving the adoptive family she grew up with.
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"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 says with a laugh.
"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. I didn't know anyone I was related to, biologically, which gives you a sense of not knowing who you are."
The search for her birth family
In 1990, Hill began the search for her family. Adoption records were sealed so it took some help from one of her brothers to finally track down her biological mother which ended up taking three years. By that point, she was well on her way to becoming one of the hottest country singers in Nashville and was also in the midst of a breakup from her first husband, music executive Daniel Hill.
"That search consumed much of her energy," Daniel Hill told PEOPLE in 1999. "Meeting her birth mother was the most profound life-altering experience for her. After that, her world turned upside down. I was part of her old world, and she had to let that world go. But there is no bitterness. I'm proud of her success."
Everything going on in her personal life didn't stop the country star from wanting to meet her mother face to face. But when she finally got to meet the tall blonde who looked just like her, she didn't know what to say.
"The first time I met her I just stared at her," Hill told PEOPLE. "I'd never seen anybody that looked anything like me. It was the awe of seeing someone you came from. It fills something."
It also turned out there was more to her adoption story than she originally thought. HIll's parents had raised her to believe that her birth mother became pregnant while having an affair with a married man and that's why she decided to give her up for adoption. It turns out, her birth parents just weren't married at the time so they chose adoption together. They ended up getting married down the road and had another child together named Zack. Though Hill's biological father passed away before she could meet him, she was able to get to know her brother and saw her mother on occasion before she passed away in 2007. It apparently helped to find out that her birth mother was a professional painter as it helped explain why the "Mississippi Girl" singer had always felt a bit different from her adoptive family. She had a ton of creative energy that she inherited from her birth mom.
She bonded with her husband Tim McGraw over their untraditional upbringings
Two country music stars being married shouldn't have worked as well as it did, but Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have proven that true love prevails. The entertainers started a family together and have raised three lovely daughters -- Gracie, Audrey and Maggie. While Hill had her own personal story she was coming to terms with when they first got together, so did her husband. McGraw found out as a young boy that his birth father was actually professional baseball player Tug McGraw. It took them years to form a healthy relationship and overcome some of the initial drama that surrounded Tug's role as Tim's father. So if there's one person that could definitely relate to Hill's experience, it was her husband.
"I knew I had that instability and dysfunction in me, from the way I grew up," McGraw told Billboard. "And when I met Faith, I knew I needed her in my life -- to keep me stable, solid, and on track."