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Julie Jordan
November 07, 2009 08:55 AM

He might be country music’s resident tough guy, but Tim McGraw has a soft side for the gals in his life.

Despite a busy schedule promoting his new album, Southern Voice, and upcoming film, The Blind Side, costarring Sandra Bullock, McGraw, 42, says he is most happy at home in Nashville with wife Faith Hill, 42, and their three daughters, Gracie, 12, Maggie, 11, and Audrey, 7. “Our life is normal except for when we work,” he says. “And we like it that way.”

The singer recently sat down with PEOPLE to talk about his marriage, balancing music and movies – and becoming a man his daughters can look up to with pride.

You’ve said Faith has been a blessing to you
Faith has kept me alive. She’s saved my life in a lot of different ways – from myself more than anything. She’s loved me through times when I didn’t love me.

What if you two hadn’t met?
I’d be dead. Oh yeah, I would have partied too hard. I might have caught myself somewhere along the way and put the brakes on. I don’t know if I would have gone [to rehab]; I don’t think I could have been talked into that during those times.

How would you describe yourself as a parent?
I’m probably more the disciplinarian. I do try to be tough, not mean, just firm. You have to be; it’s just scary with girls. There’s so much that could go wrong. But they’re really good kids.

For much more of McGraw’s interview, including photos of his farm in Tennessee, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

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