Country music icon Randy Travis is finding his voice in a new memoir following the massive stroke he suffered six years ago.
During an emotional interview with Jenna Bush Hager on “Today”, Travis and his now-wife Mary Davis discuss the highs and lows after his near-fatal stroke that left him with a less than 1 per cent chance of survival.
Davis, his fiancée at the time, details the scary medical events that left him hospitalized for nearly six months: “Even in his state, his semi-coma state, he squeezed my hand.”
“He laid there, and I saw this tear just fell. And it was one, two at a time. And I just went back to the doctors and I said, ‘We’re fighting this,”’ Davis adds during the first TV interview since his health scare.
The singer underwent brain surgery and his long road to recovery hasn’t been easy. Travis has trouble speaking and had to learn to walk again, but Mary has been his biggest support throughout the whole process.
Travis tells Hager it was love at first sight for him and Davis and the couple married in an intimate, emotional ceremony two years after his stroke.
“One of my favourite songs of his is called ‘Are We in Trouble Now?’ and it is a beautiful love song,” Davis tells Hager.
She emotionally continues: “It was one that he was gonna sing to me at the wedding, but we play it all the time, and we kind of hold hands and cry.”
Now at 60 years-old, Travis is reflecting on his music, faith and his challenging road to recovery in his candid memoir Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life.
“The song ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’ is a universal song and it’s like the national anthem of country music,” says Mary on why Travis decided to name the book after one of his many hit songs.
The book not only highlights his successes, including winning six Grammy Awards and selling over 25 million albums, it also details his downward spiral that was seen in the public eye years before his stroke.
Travis divorced his first wife in 2009, his finances were in trouble from bad business decisions and he struggled with alcohol abuse that led to an arrest in 2012.
“He’s always owned up to his shortcomings and failures, but he has always risen above them too,” Mary said. “He wants the reader to understand that there is [sic] mountains and valleys in life.”
“What I’ve learned about him is that he hadn’t forgotten anything, but the world will never forget him either,” said Mary.
Forever and Ever, Amen will be released on Tuesday, May 14.