Stephen M. Silverman
March 11, 2003 01:00 PM

Tim McGraw’s fans are shaking in their boots amid stories that that their hero may pull a Garth Brooks and remove himself from the country music scene — as McGraw intimated during a recent interview with North Carolina’s Charlotte Observer.

To date, the sexy (as the newspaper described him) McGraw, 35, has sold 25 million albums, scored 19 No. 1 hits and sired three children with his wife since 1996, Grammy-winner Faith Hill, 35. Their children are Gracie, 5; Maggie, 4; and Audrey Caroline, 1.

Asked, then, if he might mimic Brooks and become a full-time dad, McGraw responded: “Yeah, it will be a smart thing to do one of these days. I’m never going to start saying, ‘I’m retiring,’ because I may want to do something else after that.

“Still, I can’t go hard and heavy my whole life. When my oldest, Gracie, starts first grade next year, we want there to be stability in her life for school.”

And as for Hill, “Faith is just cool,” he says. “She’s really a smart, smart lady that has got everything together and knows her priorities.”

All in all, it’s been quite a month for McGraw. This week it was announced that he and the American Red Cross have joined forces to raise funds for local chapters in cities on his new tour, “Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors’ One Band Show.”

Fifty cents of every ticket sold on his Web site and 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of special Red Cross/Tim McGraw T-shirts will go to the Red Cross, the Associated Press reports.

Then there’s the bad news: McGraw’s uncle, Dennis McGraw, 55, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for killing his California neighbor, Jason Garfield, 31. McGraw insisted at trial that he shot him in self-defense, but prosecutors claimed that Garfield was unarmed at the time of his murder, said AP.

Dennis McGraw is a brother of Tim McGraw’s father, former baseball star Tug McGraw. A representative for the singer said he would have no comment on the sentencing.

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