Country singer Keith Urban is opening up about his fight with drug and alcohol addictions — and how he’s “lucky” his career is still intact.
The Australian country singer first entered a Nashville rehab for treatment in 1998. Almost a decade later, not long after he married “Eyes Wide Shut” star Nicole Kidman in 2006, he spent another few months at the Betty Ford Center — at his Hawaiian-born wife’s insistence.
“Everyone does what they want to do to have a great time. I just realized I’m allergic to [substances]. Someone said, ‘You have an allergy? What happens when you drink?’ And I said, ‘I break out in cuffs,’” Urban, 54, recalled in a profile for the Sunday Times.
“I had to find a different way to be in the world,” Urban said about how his sobriety altered his life — and career.
“I’m glad it didn’t change anything about my music. I wrote plenty of hit songs while drunk. I wrote plenty sober,” he continued. “I feel lucky it hasn’t defined my creativity.”
In 2016, Urban told Rolling Stone that Oscar-winning “The Hours” actress Kidman, 54 — with whom he shares daughters Faith, 10, and Sunday, 13 — staged an intervention for him at one point to deal with his demons. Last September, he opened up further about the couple’s rocky start following his nuptials.
“I caused the implosion of my fresh marriage,” he told the Australian version of the magazine. “It survived, but it’s a miracle it did. I was spiritually awoken with her. I use the expression ‘I was born into her,’ and that’s how I feel. And for the first time in my life, I could shake off the shackles of addiction.”
The Australian country singer first entered a Nashville rehab treatment in 1998.AFP via Getty ImagesUrban described his wife’s encouragement to help him back on the road to recovery in his 2009 song “Thank You,” the lyrics of which include:
And I thank you for my heart
I thank you for my life
And I thank God for grace and mercy
And that you became my wife
In the new Times interview, he noted that his father — who died in 2015 — was an alcoholic and he “grew up in an alcoholic house and it took me a long time to believe I was wired the same.”
Urban also refrains from discussing his sobriety because he wants his fans to enjoy themselves at his concerts.
“I don’t talk a lot about it because I love my audience being able to just come and have a great time,” he added. “I’ve nothing against drugs or alcohol.”
Grammy-winner Urban — shown with Kidman — has been sober for more than 15 years.WireImageIn the interview with the Aussie version of Rolling Stone last year, Urban revealed it took him “a long time” to understand he had a problem.
“Took me a long time to recognize my alcoholism. A long time because I didn’t drink like my dad, so I compared everything to him. So it just took a long time for me. But I was able to finally make the right choice in my life that I wish my dad would have made,” he said at the time.