Toby Keith made the big time as a country music star back in 1993, with his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, followed by his self-titled debut album, Toby Keith.
But it wasn’t easy for the “Red Solo Cup” singer to be as successful as he is today. It took a lot of hard work—gig after gig—working multiple jobs and raising a family. But one person in his life never lost faith in how great he could be. That person was, and still is, his wife Tricia.
Tricia Lucus was 19 when she first met her future husband who was 20 at the time. They crossed paths in an Oklahoma nightclub in 1981 where it was instantly love at first sight.
She was an oil-company secretary and he worked in an oil-field while also playing in his band, Easy Money, on the side.
Remembering the night they met, Tricia told People, “He was just one of those larger-than-life guys, full of confidence.”
She had a daughter already, Shelley, whom Toby adopted upon their marriage in 1984. A year later, they’d welcome their own child together, Krystal, but wouldn’t have another for twelve years until their son, Stellen, was born in 1997.
Soon after their marriage was underway, they experienced how hard it was going to be for them to raise a family on the money they were making, especially with a downturn from the oil company hit and Keith felt like he had no other choice but to dedicate his life to being a musician.
Keith didn’t have to worry about having support from his wife, though. She made it clear she was staying by his side.
“Dozens of people told Tricia, ‘You need to go tell your old man to get a real job,’” Keith told Country Weekly. “It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, ‘He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us if he can make it work.’”
After shifting his career to full time as a musician, it took a lot of his time away from his family. Tricia told People, “He’d say, ‘Trish, one of these days, my time is coming. Hang in there.’” And she hung in there.
After some time, Keith landed himself a record deal with Mercury Records and was able to record and release his debut album, Toby Keith, which went platinum, selling more than one million copies.
Toby expresses his gratitude to his wife, Tricia, as she was the one all along who told him and told others that he would make it as a country star. Tricia and Toby’s friend, Mark Miller, both talked to People about how—despite his large stature—he’s in touch with his sensitive side and his writing reflects that.
“Most people think he is just the most romantic person on the planet,” Tricia said. “He has his moments of charm. It is nice to get a bouquet of flowers, but I’ve told him, ‘Save the money. Roses die in five to seven days. Buy me an outfit or take me to dinner.’”
Toby also told Country Weekly, “I absolutely love performing and writing songs, but being at home with my wife, Tricia, and my three kids is the best feeling of all.”
As of late, Keith has been battling stomach cancer, which he was diagnosed with back in 2021.
Toby’s hopeful for his health, saying, “as long as everything stays hunky-dory, then we’ll look at something good in the future.”
In June last year, he shared the news on Twitter, shouting out his family for being there in support.
“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
Toby and Tricia are coming up on 40 years together next year. Tricia has truly stuck by his side for richer and for poorer, and in sickness and in health, and we wish them and his family the best as they continue to fight for the good life they deserve.