Lady A’s Charles Kelley Opens Up About Recovery From Alcohol Abuse In Emotional Interview: “I’m On This Second Half Of My Life Adventure”

Charles Kelley country music

Last year, Lady A had to put a pause on their tour so that co-frontman Charles Kelley could seek treatment for alcohol abuse.

And now Kelley’s opening up on his journey to sobriety.

Kelley sat down for an interview with CBS Mornings to discuss how his struggles with alcohol abuse were hurting his life.

He admitted at first:

“I remember joking, you know, with buddies. I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m definitely a functioning alcoholic.’ And I said, ‘I know I’m gonna have to stop at some point, but that’s not today.’

And that was always kind of my little joke. It was, like, that tells you I kinda knew.”

Kelley also admitted that his bandmates, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood, knew that he had a problem, and they had addressed it five years prior:

“It was the first time that they had really, you know. We would have shows where they’re like, ‘Hey man, you might have had a little too much to drink that night.’ I was like, ‘Okay, well, has it affected how hard I work? Has it affected the shows?'”

He noted that he was very dismissive to their confrontation, and even responded with emotional and verbal abuse.

He also added that his alcohol struggles were affecting his relationship with his seven-year-old son, Ward:

“Cassie [Charles’ wife] would tell me some stories about how little things that Ward would say that I didn’t even know he was noticing. You know, ‘Daddy’s talking a little funny,’ or, ‘You and Daddy argue a lot.'”

Kelley said that hearing those words from his son “crushed” him.

He said that he’s tried to quit before, but never went into rehab because he was scared and thought that it was only for people who had serious problems with alcohol. However, he realized that it can affect people in different ways:

“What I’ve learned is, there’s degrees of alcoholics. You know, I think that’s one of the things too that I want to even share is, like, just because you’re not living on the street, or you’re not waking up in a bush, like some stories you may hear, it can get there.” 

Kelley added that his progress is helping his relationship with his family, and his bandmates:

“Slowly, but surely, that has built the trust back that eventually I think that won’t be a necessity.”

He also talked about how his struggles nearly resulted in the loss of his marriage. It all nearly came to an end when they went on a trip to Greece, and the two got into a heated argument. He turned off his phone, and disappeared for the night and drank with strangers.

When he got home, his wife Cassie told him that he needed to get help and was planning to meet with a divorce attorney, and that’s when reality struck:

“It just makes me feel so grateful at how close I came to losin’ it all. And I think the thing that’s hard is to know how much it affected Cassie the most, and my band, and the people around me.

And how much it emotionally kinda wrecked them for a while. And that, I can’t really say I’m sorry enough. And it’s just gonna take time to rebuild that.” 

Kelley’s road to recovery involves therapy sessions with his group, and Lady A is back at it again as they’ve kickstarted their tour at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last month.

You can check out the whole conversation here:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock