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Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman hugging and Keith Urban giving a speech.

Keith Urban Speaks About How Wife Nicole Kidman "Chose Love"

Instagram/ @keithurban and photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images
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How Nicole Kidman Saved Their Marriage After Keith Urban's Addictions "Blew it to Smithereens"

"She chose love."

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman may have a marriage made in (Hollywood) heaven, but it started in hell.

Less than four months into their union, Urban's battle with addictions spiraled out of control, forcing Kidman to stage an intervention. With his life and marriage imploding, he sought help at the Betty Ford Center, his third rehab stint in eight years.

Despite all of the voices telling her to walk away, Kidman held on fast to love.

The Early Years

Nicole Kidman, an Oscar-winning actress, and Keith Urban, a Grammy-winning country music star, seemed like a match made in heaven when they met at an event in January 2005. Instantly smitten, it took Urban nearly four months to pluck up the courage to call her.

"I was scared," he said. "I was nervous to call her and as prone as I might have been at the time to all sorts of delusional thinking, even I couldn't stretch that to think that this extraordinary woman would ever see anything in a guy like me."

Turns out, Kidman did see something in a guy like him. By June 2005, she knew he was THE ONE.

For her 38th birthday, Urban stood on the stoop of her apartment at 5 a.m. to bring her gardenias. "That is when I went, 'This is the man I hope I get to marry,'" she told PEOPLE. "I believed by that point he was the love of my life."

They tied the knot a year later in a fairy-tale wedding in Sydney, Australia.

Their union appeared perfect to the outside world, but beneath the surface, Urban was battling demons that would soon put their relationship to the ultimate test.

For years, he had turned to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism to deal with the perils of fame. In 1998, he checked into a Nashville treatment center to kick cocaine. He sought help again in 2003. But his demons were relentless and just kept coming back.

Nicole Kidman Receives AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

Urban opened up about those early years in a touching speech honoring his wife at the recent 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala in April.

Surrounded by their family, friends, and colleagues, he took the opportunity to prove, yet again, just how deep his love is for his wife. While he touched on their fairy tale love story calling her his "real life princess," he didn't shy away from sharing the nitty gritty.

“We got married in June 2006, and barely four months into our marriage, my addictions that I’d done really nothing about, blew our marriage to smithereens,” he revealed.

“Four months into a marriage, I’m in rehab for three months,” he continued. “I had no idea what was going to happen to us … If you want to see what love in action really looks like, give that a whirl.”

No one would have blamed Kidman for walking away. But instead, she remarkably supported her husband through it all, determined to stay together. Miraculously, their marriage survived. And Urban is now 18 years sober.

"Nic pushed through every negative voice, I'm sure even some of her own and she chose love. And here we are tonight, 18 years later."

Despite all odds to the contrary, she chose love. And according to Urban, it's the mantra she lives by.

He ended the speech by saying:

"...she also has a bit of a mantra, and that is: Choose love. Now I've watched her do this many times, navigating emotionally complex things that she's gone through with so many people. She always chooses that phrase; she lives by it. Choose love."

Love is a Choice

Today, Urban and Kidman enjoy a healthy, stable marriage. They have two children together, Sunday Rose (15) and Faith Margaret (13).

The happy duo are often seen at each other's events, supporting one another and singing each other's praises. And while it's obvious just how madly in love Urban is with Kidman, the same holds true for her.

"I'm so lucky that I have Keith who's just my love, my deep, deep love," she told PEOPLE.

Everyone always wants to know the secret to a long and lasting love, but if Kidman and Urban are any indication, there is no great secret.

The answer is simple: You just have to choose it.

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