The singer says treatment has been "divine" for his relationship with Nicole Kidman

By Liz Corcoran
Updated July 16, 2007 09:00 AM

Since completing his 90-day stint at the Betty Ford clinic in January, Keith Urban says he feels older but wiser – and that’s exactly how he wants it.

“I do the old man view now,” the country star, 39, told The Tennessean newspaper. “I picture myself in my 80s, looking back at my life and I try to make decisions based on that view.”

Given his wider perspective, he sees various elements in his life in a new way – and that includes his CD Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing, which he was meant to promote when he instead sought treatment. “A tour? One record? That is such a blip on the radar. When I went to Betty Ford, I didn’t care if the whole record got scrapped. It was just time to take care of my life,” he says.

“I’m never going to look back and think, ‘I wish I’d toured for one more week in July.’ That doesn’t make any sense,” he says. “I’m trying to find a quality of life, and that comes with trade-offs and sacrifices and balance.”

Urban terms his time off as crucial, and credits wife Nicole Kidman, 40, as the one who “really took the reins” and steered him towards rehab.

“My wife was away,” he says about events that led up to his seeking treatment. “She hadn’t really been away before, and it came as a shock to me to be alone and not prepared for it; alone with this thing that I had, this big monkey on my back.”

He adds, “Not going in would have cost me my career at the very least, and my marriage would have been gone, anyway. That real cleansing and surrendering everything is what was really needed for me. I realized, ‘This is the crossroads of my life. If I want a life, this is the time to take charge.’ ”

Assessing what transpired, even if sales of his CD may have suffered, Urban says, “It sounds strange, but I’m glad it happened. There’s no doubt that what it’s done for our marriage has been truly divine. It has brought my wife and me to a place that may never have happened for us.”

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