The "Humble & Kind" singer heard "Tim McGraw" before Swift released it in 2006, and admits that although he was flattered a teenager was name-checking him, he thought it might be a tune signaling the end of his run as a star.
"It came out and it blew up and she blew up," the country crooner husband of Faith Hill told radio host Bobby Bones. "My first thought was, 'OK, let me re-evaluate here. What does this mean? All right, if there's a song that she's singing about me... does this mean I'm done? Out the door!' "
Then the father of three daughters learned how young Taylor was. "Somebody told me she was, like, 13 and wrote it in math class and I thought, 'Well that's all right. I can live with that.' " he recalled. "It's not like a 35-year-old artist saying, 'You know, hey, I used to listen to Tim McGraw, and I'm done.' "
Back in 2006, Taylor explained to CMT how she came up with the song off her self-titled debut album. "I wrote [the song] in my freshman year of high school," she recounted. "I got the idea in math class. I was just sitting there, and I started humming this melody. I kind of related it to this situation I was in."
"I was dating a guy who was about to go off to college. I knew we were going to break up. So I started thinking about all the things that I knew would remind him of me," the multiple Grammy winner continued offering more details. "Surprisingly, the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite country artist is Tim McGraw."