(Left) Big Machine Label Group/(Right) Kevin Mazur via USA Today
Those who aspire to become country singers often look up to the major stars as role models and inspirations. Such is the case for country star Brantley Gilbert, who has a great admiration for one mega country star. But for him, this artist did more than inspire him to write and sing music…he inspired him to live.
Growing up, Gilbert was the definition of a “bad boy.” During an interview with The Tennessean, he revealed that he drank at high school parties and also abused pills that were given to him to help with sports injuries.
Gilbert’s hard-partying ways carried over into his adult life, even after he became a hit singer and songwriter. His habits had a heavy toll on his body, and he ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis. That served as a mild wake up call for Gilbert, who then made the choice to go to rehab.
Although doctors said otherwise, Gilbert felt ready to leave rehab after a few days. The rehab center encouraged him to stay one more, saying they wanted him to meet someone who knew exactly what he was going through.
That person was none other than Keith Urban, who managed to get sober after his own stint in rehab. As a former addict and a country music singer, Urban was the perfect person to speak to Gilbert at such a time in his life.
Gilbert confessed he was hesitant to talk to Urban at first, but he finally found himself opening up to him:
“I told him, I don’t think I can do my job. I don’t know if I can ever play a song at my shows without being [messed] up. Or writing, I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level.”
Urban told Gilbert he had the same worries when he first got sober. But in the end, Urban said he became a better singer and writer once he let go of all of his vices.
Now, Gilbert has been sober for a total of five years. He gives credit for his transformation to Urban, who has remained a close friend to him.
“If it weren’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be sober or be in this business anymore,” he said. “I’d probably be dead.”
Although he’s sober now, Gilbert says he still knows how to “have a damn good time” without alcohol or drugs. That’s clear in his music video for his single “The Weekend,” which also stars his beautiful wife, Amber. Tune in below to check it out.