Garth Brooks Reflects on Longtime Friendship With Loretta Lynn: ‘I Just Loved Her’

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/WireImage for NARAS)

Tuesday, October 4th marked a sad day in country music as fans around the world bid a final goodbye to American icon Loretta Lynn. Since the longtime country singer’s death was revealed Tuesday morning, countless numbers of country stars and fans have mourned her passing. On Thursday, a day after her death was announced, one of the genre’s living legends, Garth Brooks, spoke about his friendship with Loretta Lynn, sharing his love for the coal miner’s daughter and her music.

“She was the first female [artist] for me,” Garth Brooks said during an interview with Billboard. “I know her contemporaries and I know there were women that came before Loretta, but Loretta was the first Reba. She was the first Dolly. She was the first of the female stalwarts that you built a foundation on and she never gave that throne up.”

According to Billboard, Garth Brooks shares a long friendship with the beloved country music star. Their friendship last more than two decades, and he helped induct the legend when she received her Kennedy Center Honor in 2003. In 2010, Garth Brooks was Loretta Lynn’s date when she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Salute to Country Music.

Garth Brooks Recalls Humurous Moment Attending Dinner at the White House with Loretta Lynn

Reflecting on his friendship with Loretta, the “Papa Loved Mama” recalled a time he, Lynn, and his wife and fellow country music singer Trisha Yearwood attended a state dinner at the White House.

“She never quit being her,” Garth Brooks said of his friend fondly. “We were at a state dinner at the White House. She was getting a Kennedy Center Honor and her daughters couldn’t keep her shoes on.”

But that’s just the beginning.

“This is a true story,” he continued, “You cannot make this s—t up. This young man is bringing around dinner and she uses his tie like a doorbell. She just reaches up gently, grabs his tie, pulls him down, and she goes, ‘Son, what is that?'”

After learning the flat biscuit in front of her was a scone, she told the young man, “You tell them people in the kitchen if they put some self-rising flour in that thing, it’ll pop right up.”

Brooks said, “She was fantastic! Never, ever did she ever come off as uneducated. She always came off as sincere.”

So Long Miss Loretta

Like other contemporary country artists and fans, Loretta Lynn left a lasting impression on Garth Brooks. Bookending their two decades-plus of friendship following her death, Garth Brooks concluded, “I don’t know what it is. I can just tell you that there was a bond with that woman that I’m sure that everyone that ever met her felt, that she made you feel like you were so special.”

Concluding the interview, he gushed, “I just loved her. And she had me convinced that she loved me right back.”

Loretta Lynn passed away in her sleep at 90 years old on October 4th while home at her Hurricane Mills ranch in Tennessee.