Garth Brooks proved at Wednesday’s CMA Awards that he still rules the country stage, but his sweetest moment of the night was unrehearsed: a passionate smooch he gave to wife Trisha Yearwood after their duet medley.
The couple took on a string of country classics from the Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash duet “Jackson” to George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s “Golden Rings,” prompting the likes of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban to sing and dance along in the aisles, and after a quick bow Brooks grabbed his wife and planted a kiss on her lips.
Brooks tells PEOPLE he couldn’t resist. “I’ve wanted to do that for a hundred years,” he says. “Usually when we sing together, we stand back and bow but I just want to eat her alive! I thought she did so well and she was so gorgeous and I actually thought the cameras were off us — that’s why I did it. And that was probably one of the best kisses I ever got from her!”
- PEOPLE’s Special Edition 50 Years of the CMA Awards is on sale now online and on newsstands.
And the night only got better from there when Brooks was crowned CMA Entertainer of the Year — 25 years after he won his first EOTY award.
Winning again after so many years, and after taking a career hiatus to raise his kids, was overwhelming, Brooks says.
“There you are, a crazy kid like everybody else, and you get lucky, and you have your run. Then you leave, you raise your babies, 15, 16 years and then say, I’d like to come back. And people show up,” he says. “And so the gratitude this time – I don’t think I took things for granted then, but there is a level of gratitude that is unbelievable just because you’re able to do this still this late in your career.”