The country singer has been married to actress Nicole for 10 years, but he had a lot to learn early on in their marriage because he didn't know how to react to the Moulin Rouge! star's emotions.
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"A lot of those really simple, tough lines in (my song) The Fighter are straight from early in my relationship with Nic," he tells Hitsdailydouble.com. "I had such a learning curve in our marriage! When she'd get scared, I'd think she was angry; then I'd get defensive, go tearing out the driveway... and that's when it all gets pear-shaped. What she needs... is for me to stay, to be close, to hear her. Get Closer: the album title alone was literally from this new awareness I had with this reality of how to react. When things are tough or upsetting, it's about pulling her close. That's what she needs, and I had to learn it."
"It was like that with (my song) Stupid Boy," he continues. "Sarah Buxton had put out an album and I was listening on the bus. I said to Nic, 'I need a song like that,' and she said, 'Why don't you do this song?' And I was thinking it was a woman singing. Nicole was so clear: 'You're the stupid boy. Sing the whole song, and then at the end put it out there'."
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The 48-year-old also praises Nicole for being open and honest with him and insists the way she communicates with him has helped him become a better husband.
"First and foremost, my marriage with Nic informs everything," he says. "Nic is so unbelievably open; she doesn't keep things in or bottle them up. She's really a great communicator. Because of her, if I open up, every day, I'm listening and growing and learning. If I'm a better man, it's because of her."
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