Shortly after cohosting the CMAs in November, the American Idol winner, 35, fell from the front stairs of her Nashville home — sending her to the hospital with a broken wrist that necessitated surgery, and cuts to her face that required more than 40 stitches.
Though she’s now returned to the spotlight, with an emotional performance of her new single “Cry Pretty,” at Sunday’s 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Underwood hasn’t provided many details about what caused the accident except to tell her fans she “might look a bit different” when they saw her.
But during an appearance on iHeartRadio’s The Bobby Bones Show on Thursday, Underwood gave details of the accident, explaining that it happened when she went to take her dogs out for a quick walk at night.
“I was taking the dogs out to go pee one last time, and I just — I tripped,” she said. “There was one step, and I didn’t let go of the leashes! Priorities! So that’s why my left hand’s fine. But I went to catch myself and I just missed a step.”
“If I had fallen anywhere else, I would have been perfectly fine. But it was one step that messed everything up,” she added.
Underwood broke her right wrist and injured her face around her mouth, with the scars slightly visible during the interview.
“I thought I just busted my lip,” she later told Storme Warren on SiriusXM’s The Highway channel Thursday morning in Nashville. “Then I walked inside and took the dog leashes off and took my coat off and went to go survey the damage and was like, ‘Oh, no!’ I’m acting very calm about it now, but … it wasn’t pretty. I chipped my tooth but it was just my skin, thank the Lord. Stitches and all that stuff.”
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The “Jesus Take the Wheel” singer said she was “very fortunate in the healing process,” though nervous that it wasn’t going to be that way.
“I was at a point where I didn’t know how things were going to end up,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going to go on. I didn’t know what it was going to heal like. … You just don’t know how things are going to heal or end up.”
Recovery was tough, especially because Underwood is right-handed and had to adjust her handwriting.
“It set me back,” she said. “The most frustrating part was trying to work out with a broken wrist, and just how much it can throw off your world, having an appendage that is there, but you just can’t use it.”
And while Underwood went dark on social media for a bit and has kept selfies and photos of herself to a minimum since the accident, she insists she wasn’t hiding.
“I mean, I don’t think I hide. There’s always stuff to do, even if it’s not necessarily playing shows. But, I don’t know. I’m kind of a homebody,” she said. “I was lucky that when it happened everything was shutting down in the music world — we had the holidays.”
Getting back out there was “important” to Underwood, she said, even if going out in public while recovering provided a new set of challenges.
“I started resuming my life again, and going to the grocery store, and taking my kid to school and stuff like that, I was like, ‘Okay. Somebody’s going to creep on me at the grocery store and people are going to be like, ‘What happened?’ when they post it on Instagram.’ “
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She told Warren, “We put a memo out to the fan club just because I was like, ‘Man, somebody’s going to catch me at the Kroger and people are going to be like, “What’s going on?!”‘ It was just important — I knew they’d be the first ones to come to my defense.”
One of those encounters happened on Dec. 12, when Below Deck alum Adrienne Gang ran into Underwood at the gym and snapped a pic with her.
“We were on vacation. I was like, ‘Um, can we, like, stand in the shadows?’ ‘ Underwood recalled. “And I made my friend take the picture from far away.”
Since then, she’s gotten more comfortable in front of the camera and said she is up for speaking about the incident.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be done talking about it, because it was an event in my life,” she said. “And, I mean, I’m okay talking about it!”