Kevin Hart made his first public appearance after the incident at the People's Choice Awards over the weekend

By Ale Russian
November 12, 2019 03:32 PM

Months after a scary car crash left him in need of surgery, Kevin Hart is slowly re-entering the spotlight.

The celebrated actor and comedian, 40, made his first major appearance since the September incident at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards, where he accepted the award for comedy movie star and thanked his family for standing by him during the recovery process.

“First and foremost, thank God, because I definitely don’t have to be here,” he said after Robert Downey Jr. presented him the trophy at Sunday’s ceremony.

“Being that I am, it makes me appreciate life even more. It makes me appreciate the things that really matter: family. I want to thank my wife, my kids, who really stepped up to the plate for me,” Hart added, giving a sweet shout-out to his wife Eniko Parrish and his kids: sons Hendrix, 12, and Kenzo, 2, and 14-year-old daughter Heaven.

“I truly want to thank you guys for being there for at my difficult time,” he added to his fans.

Kevin Hart at the People’s Choice Awards
| Credit: Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images

On Sept. 1, Hart was a passenger in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when its driver, friend and producer Jared Black, lost control and crashed through wooden fencing just before 1 a.m. on Mulholland Highway in Malibu.

The blue Barracuda crashed about 10 feet off the road and into a ditch, leaving Black and the comedian with “major back injuries,” TMZ reported.

The Night School star had to undergo emergency back surgery following the crash and has been working hard in recovery ever since. He recently shared a video to Instagram documenting the grueling recovery process he’s been undergoing.

A source recently told PEOPLE that the Jumanji actor has been dedicating himself to recovery in the two months following the accident. “Kevin still receives physical therapy,” the source said, adding that Hart spent time at a live-in physical therapy center before returning home.

“He works very hard. It’s obvious that his determination has helped him tremendously. He doesn’t drive himself yet though and instead has a driver,” the source continued.

WATCH: Kevin Hart ‘Works Very Hard’ in Physical Therapy After Accident, Says Source

The actor himself gave TMZ an update on how he’s doing recently, saying he was “great” and “feeling blessed to be alive.”

In mid Oct., he stepped out for the first time since his crash on a night out with rapper JAY-Z and other high-rollers during a three-hour outing at Beverly Hills hotspot Avra. The group spent their time playing poker and ate before exchanging hugs on their way out.

Hart next appears in Jumanji: The Next Level, the sequel to the hit 2017 reboot, meaning he will likely do some press surrounding the opening on Dec. 13.

He also has several titles that have been announced, including a third movie in the Ride Along series with pal Ice Cube.