Keith flew back to Tennessee in September to host the 2020 American Academy of Country Music Awards and promote his new album, The Speed of Now Part 1. He then returned to Sydney, but had to quarantine for two weeks away from his girls.
“We’ve never been away from each other this long before,” Nicole admitted in an interview conducted during the separation.
“It’s hard, so we’re constantly on FaceTime. That’s our world now – and thank God for it. What would we have done without it?”
With filming of Nine Perfect Strangers moving to the Harbour City this week, the whole family are finally together again.
“The pandemic kept them apart for longer than either of them would have liked, and Nicole was beginning to fret about him being in Nashville without her for too long,” tells our source.
“Keith loves it there and feels like it’s his spiritual home. But all the bad influences of his wild early days when he was taking drugs and whatnot are still there – not far from where they live in fact.”
Last week, Nicole admitted it’s “too frightening” to think her husband could be leading a double life, something her character faces in her new show The Undoing.
“I can’t imagine it,” the Oscar winner said. “I think everybody’s nightmare would be to find out that the person you’re living with is nothing that you thought they were.”
Our source confirms that’s not the case here, insisting Nicole, 53, “totally trusts” Keith and knows he’s dedicated to being the best husband to her, and the best dad to Sunny and Fifi.
Still, she understands addiction can be a terrifying thing, and never wants to revisit the time when she helped check Keith, 53, into rehab, less than four months after their wedding.
“Those were some of her darkest days, and she promised herself she would never let Keith get in such a bad way on her watch – and so far she’s been successful,” says the source.
“She likes to have him close by to keep an eye on him and provide support. He really does well when he’s surrounded by his wife and kids. That’s partly why they have their rule.”
Another reason Nicole wanted Keith back on home soil was because he’s found lockdown tough.
Speaking to Marie Claire recently, Nicole revealed “at times he just needs to escape with his guitar. Sometimes I’ll find him in his closet playing guitar.
"That’s when I know we really need to give him space ... [And] I’ll know when he’s stressed ’cause he’s Googling cars,” she added.
With the 16-hour time difference between Byron and Tennessee, Nicole “found it difficult to be there for Keith when he was feeling low”, adds the source. “So it’s a huge weight off her shoulders to have him back home.”
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