Five months ago, country music superstar Carrie Underwood took a frightening fall at her home, which led to a broken wrist and 40 to 50 stitches in her face.
At first, the singer was hesitant to reveal that she’d suffered facial injuries, and even after opening up about the news to her fans she remained mostly out of the spotlight, only sharing photos of family and pets in her social media posts. When she did share photos of herself, she seemed to hide most of her face, making fans question just how serious the injuries were.
Now, with the singer preparing to take the stage for the first time since the fall at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday, where she’ll debut her new song “Cry Pretty,” ET is looking back to Underwood’s painful, inspiring recovery journey.
November 10 – The Fall
Just days after hosting the 2017 CMA Awards, the 35-year-old country singer fell down some steps while walking outside around her home in Nashville, Tennessee. She sustained multiple injuries in the fall, and was rushed to a hospital.
While the extent of her injuries was not known at the time, it was later revealed that Underwood had broken her wrist, which required surgery, and had to get 40-50 stitches for her facial lacerations.
November 12 – Reaching Out
Underwood’s rep told ET that her husband, Mike Fisher, flew overnight to be by his wife’s side after her accident. The next day, after being released from the hospital, the singer took to Twitter to thank her fans, and her husband, for their support.
“Thanks so much for all the well wishes everybody… I’ll be alright… might just take some time,” she wrote. “Glad I’ve got the best hubby in the world to take care of me.”
The “Heartbeat” singer also had to cancel her appearance at the Country Rising Festival on Nov. 12, due to her injuries.
November 15 – First Health Update
The extent of Underwood’s injuries became more apparent when, five days after the fall, she took to Twitter to give fans an update about her health and her time in the hospital.
“I just wanted let everyone know that I’m doing great. Had surgery on my wrist yesterday & all went well…even though I’ll be setting off airport metal detectors from now on…I’m so thankful for the doctors, nurses, family & friends who’ve been taking such great care of me.”
November 20 – Wins in Absentia
The “Church Bells” singer took home the award for Favorite Female Country Artist at the American Music Awards, but she was unable to attend in person. Underwood reached out to thank those who voted for her on Instagram writing, “So amazing!!! Thank you, fans, for this! I so wanted to go to the #AMAs just in case because I know how hard you’ve been voting. I’m sorry I couldn’t get up there and thank you all on stage…you guys are incredible and am so thankful for you!”
December 27 – Bundled Up
Underwood took to Instagram to share the first photo of her face since the accident, although she hid every part of it, except for her eyes, under a thick, wool scarf. She didn’t address the injuries she suffered in the post, writing, “When in 5 degree weather, wrap your @caliabycarrie scarf around your neck and face…you keep warm AND look like an awesome winter snow ninja!”
January 1 – Getting Candid With Fans
Nearly two months after her accident, Underwood decided to open up about how bad her fall really was in a letter written to her fan club members, where she first revealed that she needed quite a few stitches to her face.
“There is also another part of the story that I haven’t been ready to talk about since I have still been living it and there has been much uncertainty as to how things will end up,” she wrote. “It’s crazy how a freak random accident can change your life… in addition to breaking my wrist, I somehow managed to injure my face as well. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, but when I came out of surgery the night of my fall, the doctor told [Underwood’s husband] Mike that he had put between 40 and 50 stitches in.”
Underwood said that, despite the pain, she was “grateful” that the accident “wasn’t much, much worse” but wanted to let her fans know that the stitches and the surgery might leave lasting changes.
“I am determined to make 2018 amazing and I want to share things with you along the way,” she writes. “And when I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different.”
January 19 – Titanium Woman
Underwood took to Instagram to share an x-ray of her broken wrist, which explained her previous remark about “setting off airport metal detectors” in the future. According to an MRI/X-ray technologist who spoke with ET about the x-ray at the time, the surgeon put in a titanium plate, which is flat and required multiple screws. The medical expert told ET that patients can keep the plate in forever, or eventually have it removed, it’s just a matter of preference.
“Last check up on the old wrist this morning!! Thanks, Dr. Wurth and my PT angel, Renee, a.k.a. “Bulldog” for fixing me up!!!” Underwood captioned the pic. “I’m good to go!”
Underwood shared one of the first photos of her face since her scarf-clad December snapshot when she took to Instagram to post a photo of herself and her husband covering their mouths with red Xs to lend their support to the End It Movement against modern day slavery. In the photo, Underwood covered almost half of her face with a large red X, while Fisher marked the back of his hand with a red X.
April 4 – Recording Studio Snapshot
Underwood posted a captionless, black-and-white shot of herself in a recording studio, seemingly back to work on new music. While the shot still didn’t show her entire face, and it was unclear when the photograph was taken, one thing’s for sure: she looked as gorgeous as ever.
April 6 – Band Rehearsals
The singer reunited with her band, and shared a photo from their rehearsal session which also happened to be the first photo she’d posted showing her full face, although the picture was taken from relatively far away. Underwood captioned the pic simply, “Missed these guys. #bandrehearsals.”
April 10 – An Open Letter
Days after announcing that she’d soon be releasing her new song, “Cry Pretty,” Underwood penned an open letter to her fans to share an optimistic health update in which she said she’s “doing pretty darn good these days!”
“My wrist is almost back to normal, about 90% there…and the docs say that last 10% will come in time,” she wrote. “And my face has been healing pretty nicely as well. I definitely feel more like myself than I have in a while.”
She also said that one of the “silver linings” of having to take some time to herself to recover was getting the chance to spend with her husband and their 3-year-old son, Isaiah. “I’ve been calling it ‘forced relaxation,'” she wrote. “Sometimes I think things happen in order to make us slow down.”
Underwood also revealed that “Cry Pretty” is part of a a full-length album she will soon be releasing, and that she is planning a tour. “Thank you all so much for your love and support this year and always,” she concludes. “I feel it and I appreciate it. And I can’t wait to start this new chapter with you!”
April 11 – Pretty Crying
The singer dropped her latest single, “Cry Pretty,” and she told fans that the emotional ballad “reflects some of her personal experiences over the last year.”
“The title refers to when emotions take over and you just can’t hold them back,” she explained in the open letter posted a day earlier. “It really speaks to a lot of things that have happened in the past year and I hope when you hear it, you can relate those feelings to those times in your life. It’s emotional. It’s real. And it ROCKS!”
She also revealed that she’ll be returning to the stage for the first time at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards, where she will also deliver the live debut performance of her latest song.
Hours after the single dropped, a source told ET that Underwood is “at the top of her game” and that after recuperating from her injuries – and with her husband returning to hockey after a brief retirement – she “thinks this is the best time to go for what she really wants.”
Another source told ET on Thursday that Underwood is “totally back to normal and feeling great and healthy.” However, fans probably shouldn’t expect to see her posing for photographers on the carpet.
“She doesn’t think she will walk the red carpet at all because she’s just not ready to be bombarded by cameras,” the source said.
Check out the video below for more on the songstress’ lengthy recovery and upcoming music.
The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Featured Image: Getty Images
Inset Image: AP Photo/File