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Superstars and problems

Country Standard Time Editorial, November 2006

We like to think of our country music stars as one of us - that they aren't all that different from me and you except they probably can sing great and know how to put on a performance.

But as fans - particularly country music fans because this does not exist in other genres - we like to get real close to the stars. That's why at least until they get to superstar status, singers routinely sign autographs and engage in chit chat at meet and greets with those who made them what they are - the fans.

No other musical style has something akin to Country Music Association Music Festival where the annual event in Nashville enables fans once again to get up close and personal with the famous to the has-beens to those who hoping to be famous. We expect it from the artists, and they at least say how important the fans are to them, especially at awards show time.

Which leads us to the current plight of Sara Evans and Keith Urban.

Out of nowhere seemingly, Evans' personal life unraveled and is all across the papers with nasty accusations, denials, counter charges and everything in between for Evans and her husband Craig Schelske. And when adultery, pornography and alcohol abuse get tossed into the picture, rest assured that the antennae of the public is tuning in real close to get the latest sordid details of a couple who seemed like a happy couple.

As for Urban, his sad news came out of the blue as well - he was back in rehabilitation. Earlier in his career, Urban overcame a cocaine addiction.

It's all the more surprising because life seemingly was good for Urban. His career continued on the upswing with an Entertainer of the Year award from the Country Music Association, hit singles and a new album about to launch in early November. Not to mention getting married to actress Nicole Kidman, a fellow Aussie, a few months ago.

What can we learn from these separate events? It's a given that "success" does not breed happiness. In fact, it may only up the ante of pressure for these artists, feeling the anxiety to do as well on their new album, if not better than they had previously done.

Once at the top, it's sure hard staying there, especially given the climate of the music business today. Whether the problems facing Evans and Urban will affect them with the public certainly remains to be seen. Given the details of the Evans case, she may have to deal more with the repercussions of her situation than Urban.

Hopefully, Urban will stage a full recovery from his addiction and overcome his issues. Ditto for Evans in getting her house in order.

For fans, it's quite sobering to acknowledge that these superstars do not necessarily lead perfect, wholesome lives. They may suffer from the same problems we all do, and in that way, they are not all that different from us after all, are they?