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Tim McGraw, Faith Hill are each other’s biggest fans

Everybody at once now: “Awww.”

Not ready yet? We’ll get it out of you.

It’s Valentine’s Day and there aren’t many show-business marriages that hold up anymore. So as The Venetian welcomes back Tim McGraw and Faith Hill this weekend, we’re breaking out an interview we’ve kept bottled up since the holidays.

Speaking to a round table of journalists, the Nashville couple faced down tabloid headlines of divorce with good humor — although more headlines were to come between then and now — and talked about the sort of reverse “Hannah Montana” scenario of juggling superstardom with the schedules of two daughters in high school.

And when they spoke of how much they admire each other’s talent — well, get ready to say it.

Hill: Anyone who has stood beside him onstage — it’s difficult to talk about with you sitting right here —

McGraw: No, I want to hear it.

Hill: He has this charisma and unexplainable presence that exudes from the stage. It’s magnetic and it’s incredible. It comes from years of doing it. … And he’s definitely perfected his craft, but more than that it’s just a God-given … some things just can’t be taught. I just feel like an amateur every single night when I’m standing up there. He just knows how to work the crowd, he knows when there’s dead space, he knows what to do in that dead space. I just run back to the band and just hide. … I don’t even know how many times we’ve been onstage together, but every time it still kind of blows my mind.

McGraw: I sort of work at all those things, and for her it’s just a natural thing to go out there and just sing. I feel like I have to work at it a little bit and make up for things in certain areas in order to put on the kind of show I want to put on. She walks out and just opens her mouth and it just comes out so naturally and so beautifully and so soulfully. That’s what keeps me on my toes every night. Knowing she’s out there singing, and people have to listen to me behind that. And secondly, knowing that I have to sing with her. You can’t fall down when you’re out singing with her. She’s not gonna not bring it when she sings. I just sit on the side of the stage and watch her sing and just know that it’s such a natural talent for her to open her mouth and sing soulfully, beautifully.

Hill: Aw, that’s so sweet.

(So she said it even if you didn’t.)

The duo’s “Soul2Soul,” continuing through April 12, is a bit of a working vacation. Especially with McGraw filming the anticipated sci-fi movie “Tomorrowland,” cutting a new album and preparing to go out solo in May on the “Sundown Heaven Town Tour.”

McGraw: In a way this is sort of relaxing to come here and do this. They spoil us rotten.

Hill: It’s one of those things when you’re on tour, you’re running around, everything changes daily.

McGraw: It’s almost like you can catch your breath.

Hill: You really can enjoy the moment onstage.

McGraw: I think the greatest thing about it is the level of confidence When the lights come on and it’s time to start the show and you know that both of us are leaning on each other to make this show work. You don’t have to worry about who’s got your back.

Hill: (When three daughters don’t come with them) It is kind of a nice little rendezvous for my husband and I.

McGraw: Like jettin’ out for the weekend to be by ourselves for a couple of days.

Hill: Have a few adult conversations with each other.

McGraw: Well, it starts out being that and by the end of the night after a couple of shows, it’s like, “Goodnight. I’m tired.”

Hill: It is incredibly intimate. You can hear the audience talking, yelling out things to us.

McGraw: Snoring.

Hill: We’ve only had one of those. On the front row. (She laughs, then inhales sharply.) That was quite entertaining. But I don’t think it was because of the show. I think it was something that happened before the show.

McGraw: Well you know, the drunker you get the better we sound. And if you’re sleepin’ we sound that much better.

However, the odds aren’t good at this point for of a third year of “Soul2Soul” in The Venetian’s 1,800-seat theater.

Hill: I think this is going to be it. … It’s increasingly more difficult. The whole high school thing, a junior and a senior, you just gotta be there. It’s just a lot. That social schedule?

McGraw: We don’t have a social schedule. They do.

Hill: There’s a winter formal, there’s a prom … I don’t recall when I was in high school ever being so busy.

McGraw: I bet you were busier than I was.

The family also has to contend with tabloid headlines, such as “$135 Million Divorce Shocker” in the National Enquirer last year, and more recently “Faith Throws Tim Out” in the Star.

McGraw: We’ve been married for 17 years now and I think since the first week we’ve been married those kind of things were out.

Hill: It’s perplexing. It stinks. I wish people wouldn’t buy that stuff and they’d stop printing that stuff.

McGraw: The only time we ever think about it is we worry about the kids seeing it. But they’ve been around it, too, so they sort of laugh it off.

Hill: They’ve actually never said a word about it. … (She laughs) You’re still at the dinner table so I don’t know.

McGraw: I saw one where it said we were having a $135 million divorce.

Hill: Let’s do it! Run away together somewhere. (They both laugh) Happy is good. I don’t know why happy can’t be a story.

On Valentine’s Day, at least, it can.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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