They say the first year of marriage is the hardest. For Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman, that’s a bit of an understatement. Just months after their marriage, Urban relapsed with alcohol. Today, Urban is sober and enjoying country music success most only dream of. In the current issue of Rolling Stone, he opens up about his battle with addiction and credits Kidman for saving his life.
The Past Comes Back with a Vengeance
Urban’s problems began with social drug and alcohol use. In the early 90s, the Aussie musician was on tour with a band known as The Ranch. Taking the mantra “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” a little too seriously, he spent late nights partying, drinking heavily and abusing cocaine until the sunrise signaled it was time for bed.
“I liked to get crazy after the gig and when I would do lots of drugs is when I was home off the road,” he told Rolling Stone. “If we were home for five days, I’d be f***ed up most of the time. I would find myself feeling very alone, very lost, and vulnerable to my old ways,” he said in the interview.
In 1998, he checked into Nashville’s Cumberland Heights treatment center for cocaine addiction.
On June 25, 2006, Urban and Kidman were married in Sydney. Despite having eight years’ sober, the singer relapsed while his wife was out of the country filming in Kosovo. After learning he relapsed, Kidman immediately flew in from Rome and prepared for an intervention.
Once confronted and asked to enter rehab immediately, Urban didn’t bother to put up a fight. He checked himself into the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs and spent the next 90-days receiving treatment for addiction and alcoholism.
“I was very, very blessed to have Nic call an intervention on me. I had a tight group of friends around me for the intervention. And off I went,” Urban told Rolling Stone.
Sustained Sobriety Takes Work
Urban admits he wasn’t focused on sobriety. “I wasn’t in any recovery program of any sort. I wasn’t in AA. I didn’t have a sponsor. I didn’t have anything. Meeting Nic and falling in love with Nic and starting a relationship with Nic became — I realize now in hindsight — my sobriety. That was how I was able to keep it together,” he told Rolling Stone.
Despite the relapse, Kidman stood by her man every step of the way. “I’ve learned an enormous amount having a relationship with someone who is in recovery,” Kidman later told Vanity Fair. “I’m more than willing to walk it with him.”
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