During a recent interview with The Times, Keith Urban, 54, opened up about his battles with alcoholism and drug addiction, his road to recovery and the role his wife Nicole Kidman played in his journey to overcome addiction. In 1998, Urban first checked himself into rehab, and then again, just months after marrying Kidman, in 2006.
“I don’t talk a lot about it because I love my audience being able to just come and have a great time,” Urban said during the interview. “I’ve nothing against drugs or alcohol. Everyone does what they want to do to have a great time. I just realized I’m allergic to it. Someone said, ‘You have an allergy? What happens when you drink?’ And I said, ‘I break out in cuffs.’”
Urban noted that he has seen the long-term impact of growing up in an alcoholic household.
“My dad was an alcoholic, so I grew up in an alcoholic house and it took me a long time to believe I was wired the same,” Urban said.
Kidman was the inspiration for his song “Thank You” from his 2009 album Defying Gravity. The song, which Urban wrote with Rick Nowels, includes the lyrics, “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.” He noted that his family was one of the reasons he knew he had to make a change.
“But I had to find a different way to be in the world,” he added. “I’m glad it didn’t change anything about my music. I wrote plenty of hit songs while drunk. I wrote plenty sober. I feel lucky it hasn’t defined my creativity.”
In June 2021, Urban and Kidman celebrated their 15th anniversary, with Urban sharing a photo of the couple hugging each other in front of a Christmas tree. Urban’s caption of the photo echoes the sentiment found in “Thank You.”
“My life started when you said ‘I do’ 5,475 days ago today,” Urban captioned the photo.
Urban has 21 Billboard Country Airplay No. 1 hits to his credit, as well as four Grammy wins. His most recent album, The Speed of Now Part 1, was released in 2020. He was also featured on Taylor’s Swift’s recent album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) on the “From The Vault” track “That’s When.”