Late country superstar Toby Keith was embroiled in a bitter feud with the female country trio The Chicks, formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, in the early aughts that involved a war of words from both sides. Fans want to know more about how it started and if they ever made up.

How Did Toby Keith’s Feud With The Chicks Begin?

The Chicks’ lead singer, Natalie Maines, slammed Toby’s 2002 song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).” It was released following the 9/11 attacks and detailed what actions he thought that the U.S. should take in retaliation. The controversial tune included the lyrics, “And you’ll be sorry that you messed with The U.S. of A./ ‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass/ It’s the American way.”

“I hate it. It’s ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant,” Natalie told the Los Angeles Times in August 2002. “It targets an entire culture — and not just the bad people who did bad things. You’ve got to have some tact. Anybody can write, ‘We’ll put a boot in your ass.’ But a lot of people agree with it. The kinds of songs I prefer on the subject are like Bruce Springsteen‘s new songs.”

What Happened in Toby Keith and The Chicks’ Feud?

In March 2003, when the United States was on the brink of the Iraq war, Natalie told an audience in London during The Chicks’ tour stop, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas,” referring to ​then-President George W. Bush.

The comment, along with her previous diss of Toby, got The Chicks’ music banned from numerous country radio stations across the U.S. The former beloved trio suffered massive backlash ​and were branded unpatriotic.

Toby started showing a doctored photo of Natalie standing next to Saddam Hussein at his concerts. In May ​2003, Natalie infamously wore a T-shirt to the ACM Awards that read, “F-U-T-K.” While the band insisted at the time that it stood for “Friends United Together in Kindness,” Natalie confessed in the 2006 documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing that the acronym indeed stood for “f–k you Toby Keith.”

When Did Toby Keith End His Feud With The Chicks?

Toby called a truce in August 2003 when he saw a cover of Country Weekly that was devoted his feud with Natalie and The Chicks.

“You know, a best friend of mine, the guy that started the first band I was ever in, he lost a two-year-old daughter to cancer — this was just a couple of weeks ago. A few days after I found she didn’t have long to live, I saw a picture on the cover of Country Weekly with a picture of me and Natalie and it said, ‘Fight to the Death’ or something. It seemed so insignificant. I said, ‘Enough is enough,'” he told the publication.

The “How Do You Like Me Now?” singer added that he wasn’t the one who started the beef.

“People try to make everything black and white. I didn’t start this battle. They started it with me. They came out and just tore me up. One thing I’ve never, ever done, out of jealousy or anything else, is to bash another artist and their artistic license,” he explained.

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