Keith Urban says that his life had become “unmanageable” before he entered rehab on Oct. 19, in a new video message to fans posted on his Web site Monday.
Urban says there was “no cataclysmic event” that convinced him to enter the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs, Calif. Rather, he says in the video, “What it was, was a lot of small things that were happening in my life, and a lot of small moments that were starting to accumulate that were telling me very loud and clear that I was a long way from my program of recovery, and they were making my life unmanageable.”
Urban, dressed in a casual button-down shirt in a relaxed living-room setting, adds that he stayed in the facility for 90 days instead of the planned 30 days because of what he was learning, including the idea that “abstinence is the ticket into the movie. It’s not the movie.”
“It’s hard to quantify what I learned,” he says. But “it’s been one of the most impactful times of my whole life.”
Urban points out that mid-October was far from an ideal time to enter rehab – right before his birthday (on Oct. 26), the release of his latest record and the holiday season. But doing so was the first step, he says, in letting go and accepting his need for treatment.
“Abstinence was one thing, but then there was all this other area of my life to start learning about,” he says. “Thirty days became 60, and 60 days became 90. And with each week that passed, I found myself really learning to surrender.”
Urban thanks his fans, friends and family, especially his wife Nicole Kidman, for their support. Kidman, he says, “stayed extraordinarily strong and loving” during the past three months.
At the end of the video, the singer adds, “It feels really good to have gone through it and to be where I am right now, because where I am right now is starting on that road to getting back to doing what I love, which is playing music.”
The message follows Urban’s first public post-rehab appearance, on the German TV show Wetten, dass..? (Wanna bet?), telling fans he’s feeling just fine.
During a backstage interview before his segment, the 39-year-old singer was asked how he was doing and was told that many of his fans had been worried about him.
“I’m very good, I’m feeling much better,” he said. “And thank you to everybody out there – I got a lot of support from everybody in the last three months, lots of e-mails and cards and letters. It meant a lot to me, so danke schön.”
He told the interviewer that the song he would later perform on the show, “Once in a Lifetime,” from his new album Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing, was based on his relationship with Kidman.
“A song like ‘Once in a Lifetime’ is inspired by my marriage – it’s a good, life-changing happening in my life,” he said. “I think when you find your once-in-a-lifetime love, that’s what everybody’s looking for.”
Asked how he felt about being named one of PEOPLE’s 2005 “International Men of Sexiness,” he said, “PEOPLE magazine never lies!”