"I don't know who has hugged that many presidents in that short of time," the country star said of embracing Biden, Bush, Clinton and Obama at Inauguration 2021
Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks: singer, songwriter and official presidential family hugger.

During the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January, a video of Brooks, 59, hugging and greeting every presidential family in attendance went viral as he held up the ceremony for a few minutes. In an interview with Washington Post, the country icon joked that he probably holds the record for most presidential hugs thanks to that day.

"And now I'm holding things up. It's like, 'Oh, crap!' So you just try and run as fast as you can and get out of there," he told the newspaper. "It's gotta be some kind of record. I don't know who has hugged that many presidents in that short of time."

After performing "Amazing Grace" that historic day, he shook the hands of President Biden, former vice president Mike Pence and VP Kamala Harris. He then put on his cowboy hat, and as he was exiting, got a greeting from former president Barack Obama. So what did he do? "I hugged his neck," he said, and "hugged Miss Michelle [Obama]."

And right next to the Obamas were Bill and Hillary Clinton so he went to hug them too.

"As I'm hugging Miss Michelle, there's the Clintons — so I go over and hug them and tell them I love them," he said.

But that wasn't it. "Then I hear this voice go, 'Hell, you love everybody,'" Brooks recalled. "I look over and there are the Bushes. Now, 41 — Jiminy Christmas, I worship [George W. Bush] and I worship his family. So I go hug them."

What resulted from the back-to-back greetings was a viral video of Brooks rushing in the crowd back to his seat before the ceremony was able to continue.

Though the country artist is a Republican, he has been open about his bipartisanship, something he's been criticized for. But in the interview, Brooks said he doesn't mind the criticism.

"If I do something that pisses you off that makes you want to burn the CDs, burn them," he said. "I'm not running for president, so I'm not trying to be everything to everybody. All I can be is myself. And if you dig that, great. If you don't? World's big enough. Thank you for the chance to listen."

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"I just gotta be who I am. And if that means zero people show up or a billion people show up, you still are who you are," he added.

Brooks' interview with WaPo comes as he's set to receive the Kennedy Center Honor next week, where he hopes to "represent God and my family and where I'm from — Yukon, Oklahoma — the best I can," he said.

Brooks spoke about being in quarantine and what he looks forward to as the country inches toward normalcy again. (Unsurprisingly, he just wants to go out with his wife Trisha Yearwood.)

"I'd probably break down if I got to stare at my wife across the table at a restaurant," he told the newspaper. "Just see the candlelight on her face and just stare at her and just order dinner and never eat. And look at her and talk to her. How cool would that be? A waiter coming by and ask if you need anything? I can't help but feel I was taking things for granted. Because those things seem very special now."