Garth Brooks: I chose my daughters over fame

Garth Brooks definitely doesn't regret retiring from music in 2000 to raise his three daughters Taylor, 22, August, 20, and Allie, 18, from his first marriage to Sandy Mahl.

In a new interview with People, the 53-year-old country superstar explains his big -- and rare -- decision to walk away from the spotlight. Following his split from Mahl in 2000, he and his daughters lived in a one-bathroom bunkhouse on his ranch in Oklahoma.

"People said, 'How could you walk away from music?'" he recalls. "But being a dad -- there's nothing that can touch that."

PHOTOS: Stars Share Pics of Their Cute Kids

Garth admits that at first, he "didn't know" his own kids.

More On This...

    "I'd just stare at them," he says. "I knew their sweet faces and their dispositions. But I didn't know who they were."

    But that changed when he started engaging in familiar parenting activities like packing school lunches, doing chores and participating in after-school activities.

    "The dads across the soccer field looked at me as a dad just like them," he says. "And I was very grateful."

    But now that his kids have all graduated from high school, Garth has more time to get back to the music. His latest album, "Man Against Machine," is already certified platinum.

    "Our statement has always been the same: We got one baby left in high school and then we'll figure out what's left for me and Ms. Yearwood," he told ET's Nancy O'Dell in November 2013 about his future plans with his wife, fellow country star Trisha Yearwood. A year later, last November, he became visibly choked up while speaking about the years spent raising their daughters at a press conference announcing his big comeback: "I found my purpose for the rest of my life," he said.

    VIDEO: Hunter Hayes Teases Garth Brooks Collaboration