Keith Urban Speaks Out About Getting Sober 15 Years Ago, How Wife Nicole Kidman Intervened

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)

Country superstar Keith Urban would not be where he is today — alive, happy, and healthy — without first getting help for his alcohol addiction.

The singer talked to TODAY recently about his efforts to get sober 15 years ago. The journey for him really started about four months after his marriage to Nicole Kidman in 2006, when she “staged an intervention” for him. At the time, Urban’s career was taking off and he was struggling to hold on tight.

“It’s not an uncommon story,” Keith Urban told TODAY. “You know, the career’s on fire and the personal life is also on fire, completely in the wrong way. That was the case for me. I was a real binge drinker.”

His drinking differed from his alcoholic father’s. And this made it harder for him to reconcile with the fact that he had an addiction in the first place.

“It took me a long time to get sober,” Urban said. “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.”

When Keith Urban moved from Australia to Nashville, Tennesee, for his career, he faced even more issues. Primarily, his exposure to other substance abusers, like his roommate who took cocaine.

“I’d never been around anything like that in Australia,” he said. “Only pot smokers, you know, not much more. And suddenly I’m with a guy who is freebasing coke. That was a whole other world that I fell into really fast.”

Keith Urban’s Wife Nicole Kidman ‘Saved His Life’

When Nicole Kidman staged an intervention early in their marriage, Keith Urban checked into Betty Ford Clinic. Now, he’s been sober for 15 years. But it could’ve gone much worse for the country star.

“I caused the implosion of my fresh marriage,” Urban said. “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.”

Those shackles had weighed Urban down even before he and Kidman tied the knot. It was his third rehab stint in eight years, and he wouldn’t blame her if she was fed up with all of it. But she stayed with him.

“That’s the point right there where she really should’ve just walked,” Keith Urban said. “I’m just so glad she didn’t. She made a decision to turn around and initiate ultimately this intervention. And it was done in such a way that the love in that room at that moment was just right. I was like, ‘Put the cuffs on, let’s go.'”