Even on its best day, Hollywood couldn't have conjured up this amazing woman. Faith Hill is a blond, drop-dead gorgeous superstar whose seven-year career has marked one of the music industry's most successful and steady climbs. She has sold nearly 20 million records worldwide and earned ten #1 singles and eleven #1 videos. Her latest album, "Breathe," debuted at #1 on both Billboard's Top 200 and Country Album Charts and produced two crossover hits: "Breathe" and "The Way You Love Me."

Not only is Faith all over the radio dial, she has also become CoverGirl Cosmetics' freshest face. Oh, and her hunky husband is none other than country star Tim McGraw, with whom she has two little girls.

And just to top it off, at the American Music Awards in January, Faith was named favorite female artist and favorite female country artist, "Breathe" was named best country album...and Tim was tapped as favorite male country artist.

With all of her success, Faith hasn't forgotten the bottom line ­ her fans. "There's got to be something for the fans to connect to in order for them to go out and spend their hard-earned money on a Faith Hill recording," says Faith, adding that her music today reflects her love for country, pop, gospel and R&B. "I'm constantly thinking about them. I hope they realize that and like the direction that I am going."

This 33-year-old diva has come a long way from Mississippi, where she was born on Sept. 21 to a single mother and subsequently adopted by factory worker Pat Perry and his wife Edna. Faith discovered music early in life, making her public debut at age 10 at a woman's club luncheon. After graduating from high school in 1986, she enrolled in junior college but was soon lured away by Nashville.

Not exactly bursting onto the scene in "Music City," she held many jobs, from working as a receptionist to packaging merchandise for Reba McEntire's company. She had a short-lived marriage to songwriter Dan Hill. Eventually, Faith landed a job as a backup singer and one fortuitous night in 1992, she was spotted by an executive from Warner Bros. Records. Her career was launched.

In 1993, her debut album "Take Me As I Am" was released and went double platinum. She made country music history in 1994 when she became the first female country singer in 30 years to hold Billboard's #1 position for four consecutive weeks with her single "Wild One." The nominations and awards rolled in throughout the 1990s, culminating with her three honors last January.

Tim and Faith married in 1996. Their daughter Gracie Katherine was born in 1997, followed by Maggie Elizabeth the next year. They took the girls with them in a customized bus on their "Soul 2 Soul Tour 2000," which drew more than one million fans and 45 million dollars. Faith says if she couldn't have her kids with her on the road, she wouldn't be on the road.

Amid all the hoopla, Faith remains dedicated to helping others, particularly through children's charities. She recorded "For Our Children Too," a benefit album for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. She's bowled and played softball to raise money for St Jude Children's Research Hospital. Last December, Faith and Tim performed a benefit concert to support the families of the 17 American sailors killed in the bombing of the USS Cole in November 2000.

But the charity that is most dear to her heart is the Faith Hill Family Literacy Project, launched in 1996. Faith's father Pat, one of 14 children, quit school after the fourth grade to support his family. He couldn't read. Her father's plight prompted Faith to design a project to combat illiteracy. She urges fans to donate books at concert venues.

So just how does she handle stardom, marriage and motherhood? "It's a challenge," she says. "I'm learning how to take time for myself. Frankly, the thing that I want most out of life is normality."

Her favorite expression is borrowed from Edith Piaf, "la vie en rose" (life in the pink). It is something that Faith tries to accomplish for herself, her fans and those close to her. "Each day I try to get as much out of life as I can, to keep it real, sincere and very honest," she says. "Hopefully people can get that from my music. And if I'm lucky, one day there will be a little spot carved away somewhere that says I made a contribution."

From the Spring 2001 issue.

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CELEBRITY PROFILES
archives

2003-2004

jessica simpson

mary hart

beyoncé

susan anton

2000-2002

india.arie

clark howard

faith hill

trisha yearwood