Longtime pals TIM McGRAW and KENNY CHESNEY are caught up in a bitter feud after Kenny tried to help Tim patch up his crumbling marriage to FAITH HILL, say sources.
There’s been tension between Tim and Kenny since the two hit the road together on their “Brothers of the Sun” tour last year. But the situation exploded in September when Faith asked Kenny to talk to Tim after her husband disrespected her during a major event.
Problems in the McGraws’ 17- year marriage burst into public view on Sept. 21 – Faith’s 46th birthday – when Tim showed up at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas and paraded around the red carpet without his wedding ring.
Sources say Tim is ready to end the marriage, but Faith wants to make one last-ditch bid to save it and, desperate, she apparently turned to Kenny for help.
“She begged Kenny to talk with Tim and get him to stop humiliating her in public and start working on their marriage,” said a source. “All of Kenny’s instincts were telling him to stay out of it.
“He argued with Faith, telling her that he and Tim have not been close lately. But Faith has also been Kenny’s friend for many years, and he could see she was frantic.
“He eventually caved and told her he’d speak with Tim.”
But Tim exploded in rage when Kenny called, says the source.
“Tim screamed, ‘Stay away from Faith and keep your nose out of my business!’
“Kenny was completely stunned. He was just trying to be a nice guy and do a favor for a friend whose marriage was in trouble, but Tim totally rejected him. Now Kenny doesn’t want anything to do with Tim, and Tim is bad-mouthing Kenny all over Nashville.”
It’s a stunning reversal for their lengthy friendship, but insiders say trouble’s been brewing for quite a while.
Both Tim, 46, and Kenny, 45, are megastars of country music – both have sold millions of albums and scored dozens of Top 10 singles. But Tim’s career has lagged lately, while Kenny’s has soared.
“In the early days of Kenny’s career, Tim was the bigger star,” said the insider. “Today, Kenny is much bigger than Tim, and Tim is jealous.
“But Tim was a complete jerk on the tour.
“He insisted on parking his bus and crew away from everyone else. And even though he wasn’t the headliner on the tour, he complained constantly because Kenny’s name was always featured first on the tour posters.
“But the worst thing to Kenny was watching Tim mistreat the people on his tour. Tim constantly berated and yelled at his band members and production crew.
“That tour pretty much ended their friendship.”
Meanwhile, Faith and Tim, who married in 1996 and have three daughters – Gracie, 16, Maggie, 15, and Audrey, 11 – are “fighting more than ever before” and often go days without speaking, said the source.
“When Faith approached Kenny to talk with Tim, Kenny knew it probably wouldn’t work, but he felt sorry for Faith and made the call,” the source said. “Now, their longtime friendship is history, and Tim is doing everything he can to bad-mouth Kenny.
“It’s like Tim’s trying to pick a fight, but Kenny isn’t falling for it. He’s just turned his back on Tim and walked away for good.”