Seventeen years ago today, on Oct. 26, 2000, Garth Brooks fans received disappointing news. It was on that date that the country music hitmaker, who had already achieved 18 No. 1 hits, announced that he was retiring to focus on his family.

Brooks announced his retirement on the same day that his record label, Capitol, threw him a big party at the Gaylord Entertainment Center (now Bridgestone Arena), to celebrate selling 100 million albums in the United States. The Grand Ole Opry member said at the time that he wanted to focus on raising his three daughters, Taylor, August and Allie; however, only two weeks after announcing his retirement, Brooks filed for divorce from his wife, Sandy, whom he wed in 1986.

Brooks stayed mostly out of the spotlight for the next several years. From 2009 to 2012, the Oklahoma native took a residency at the Wynn Las Vegas, performing select shows and flying back and forth on a private jet in order to still spend most of his time at home. Brooks, who wed Trisha Yearwood in 2005, also performed nine sold-out shows in Nashville in 2010, with proceeds benefiting recovery efforts after the devastating flood in the city earlier in the year.

The country superstar says that his "retired" years were some of the best years of his life.

"I’ve got to tell you, that first soccer game that you go to as a dad is the greatest moment of my life," he tells The Boot. "And to think of a chance of missing that would just break my heart.

"The truth is, you know entertainment industries: They were ready to throw me out anyway, so I thought I’d leave before they tossed me out," Brooks adds. "It was a good time to take a real good look at life, because my former 10 years had not been a real life event. That decade of the ’90s was crazy. And being the life of a guy out on the road is not a real life, so this was good to get back to as close to real life as you could get being an artist."

In 2012, the "Friends in Low Places" singer hinted that he would resume touring in 2014, when his youngest daughter began college.

“We’re just going to start,” he said at the time. “It will be fun. We’ve got our youngest baby [Allie], this is her junior year, and she’s really in touch. Now, down from three to one [at home], you spend a lot more time with that one. She’s in on every plan. She knows all the decisions. She’s really well educated in what’s going on.”

In 2013, Brooks released a compilation box set, Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences, which included six CDs and two DVDs, and announced that he was returning to the spotlight with a world tour, which kicked off on Sept. 4, 2014, in Chicago, Ill.

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