Photo Credit: Tony R. Phipps/WireImage
Keith Urban has made country-music history! The singer, who was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on April 21. The crooner is now the first performer from another continent to become a member of Nashville's venerable country music establishment.
After singing two of his hits "Days Go By" and "Without You" (with wife Nicole Kidman watching from backstage), Us Weekly reports, the country star was officially inducted by Opry General Manager Pete Fisher and fellow members Trace Adkins and Josh Turner.
"Thank you very much! Yee haw! That is awesome!" an excited Urban, 44, said. He went on to thank his parents who "got me into country music and drove me around to all the gigs," his wife Nicole, daughters (Sunday Rose, 3, and Faith Margaret, 16 months) and his dedicated fans.
"This is a responsibility that I take deep to the heart of me," he said during his emotional speech. "I honor the history of country music, but I absolutely fully dedicate myself to the future of country music, as well."
Last winter, after Urban underwent surgery to remove throat polyps, he was forbidden to speak for three weeks, leaving him and Kidman concerned about what his voice would sound like when he was finally allowed to talk again.
"To go without his voice, and then to finally hear [it]. What if he sounded different?" Kidman, 44, admitted. "I was there for his first words, and then we cried."