Keith Urban has opened up about how his father used to hit him but never remembered due to his drinking problem.
The 48-year-old star lost his dad Bob to cancer last December (15), and credited his parent for shaping his love for country music when announcing the death. Keith had a tough upbringing though and has now admitted he was physically beaten by his father as a youngster and never recognized or praised for his musical talents.
"My dad was an alcoholic, and I grew up in an alcoholic's house. No intimacy," Keith opened up during a candid chat with Rolling Stone magazine.
"My recollection is that he was a physical disciplinarian. Ten years ago, I would have said, 'He never did anything I didn't deserve.' Now I realize it's not about deserving it. I don't recall him ever telling me he loved me as a kid. I'd do a gig I thought was fantastic and the only thing he'd say is, 'When you speak onstage, you've got to slow down.' He never commented on anything else. And the way he disciplined me, he seemed to have forgotten about it as he got older. I don't think he was in denial, he genuinely had no recollection. 'Hitting you? I never did that!'"
What made the things even more difficult is that Keith only ever wanted his dad's approval, which is what spurred him on to become a musician in the first place. Even the country genre was defined by his elder's taste, with Keith admitting that if Bob had been into African music he'd be pursuing a different path.
This revelation could explain some of the star's previous reckless behavior, including a cocaine habit that led him to enter Cumberland Heights treatment center, followed by a highly publicized stint in the Betty Ford Center for alcohol abuse. The second stay was after he married actress Nicole Kidman, with Keith releasing a statement at the time apologizing for the pain he'd caused his wife.
They're now stronger than ever, and parents to daughters Sunday Rose, seven, and five-year-old Faith Margaret, with the singer praising his Oscar-winning spouse as his savior for standing by.
"I caused the implosion of my fresh marriage," he sighed. "It survived, but it's a miracle it did. I was spiritually awoken with her. I use the expression 'I was born into her,' and that's how I feel. And for the first time in my life, I could shake off the shackles of addiction."