To country fans, Faith Hill is a titan, an industry legend who dominated the charts in the late nineties and early 2000s, selling more than 40 million albums world wide.
Her reputation is only bolstered by her marriage to megastar Tim McGraw, and their doe-eyed, enduring romance has made them one of music’s power couples.
But Hill’s life didn’t spring from a similarly stable love. Her biological mother gave her up for adoption, a fact that her adoptive parents never tried to keep from her.
“I actually had a pretty amazing childhood,” she said once during an interview with CNN’s Larry King. “My family, my mom and my dad and my brothers, they are amazing.”
However, one thing was less than stellar about them.
Ted and Edna Perry, who would choose Hill as their own in 1967, had always told her that her mother had given her up for adoption because she’d been having an affair with a married man — an assertion that simply wasn’t true.
“I used to think there was some kind of conspiracy, that I must be the daughter of one of my aunts,” Hill said in an interview with Billboard. “And, of course, I used to dream I was Elvis’ daughter. …
“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.”
That lack of a sense of belonging led Hill on a pilgrimage in her early twenties to find her biological mother.
Eventually, she did locate one Paula Conway, and what she learned shocked her.
It turned out that Conway hadn’t played the homewrecker all those years ago. In fact, she eventually married Hill’s biological father and went on to have another child.
She would also discover that her mother was a painter.
That realization helped her come to terms with why a self-proclaimed “gypsy at heart” felt so out of place in a “salt of the earth, hardworking” family.
Hill has never offered a reason why her adoptive parents might’ve deceived her about her past. But she has learned to accept and love all of them, which is no mean feat.
“I can’t imagine the choice to do that [i.e., give someone up for adoption] and how thankful I am that [Paula Conway] was able to give me the opportunity that I had, because I was placed into an incredible home that, I mean, basically is responsible for the way I am today and the backbone that I have in order to do this for a living, which is a crazy, sometimes unstable world that this projects,” she said.
“But the most important thing to me is about my family and that was definitely taught from my mom and dad.”
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