The Year in Country Music 2018: "Love Wins" for Carrie Underwood, after a difficult time away from the spotlight

ABC/Image Group LAFor Carrie Underwood fans, 2018 began shrouded in mystery, as the American Idol winner disappeared from public view after a November fall that left her with a broken wrist.

In a January letter to her fan club, Carrie revealed that she’d needed between 40 and 50 stitches on her face as well, and warned she “might look a bit different” when she returned to the spotlight. But in early April, the Oklahoma native posted her first post-accident photo, and she looked pretty much the same, except for maybe a small change around her upper lip.

The picture was a precursor to the new album Carrie was working on, and the record’s first single, “Cry Pretty,” arrived shortly before she made her first major public appearance performing the song at the ACM Awards in Vegas. We soon learned the album would be called Cry Pretty as well, and for the first time, Carrie was co-producing it herself.

But there was even bigger news to come: In August, Carrie revealed that she and husband Mike Fisher were expecting their second child, following the birth of their son Isaiah in 2015. Her all-female Cry Pretty 360 Tour -- with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June -- would have to wait until May of 2019.

But there was a heartbreaking footnote to Carrie’s joyful news: In September on CBS Sunday Morning, she revealed she’d suffered three miscarriages over the past three years.

Later that same month, Carrie’s triumphant return was complete, as Cry Pretty topped the all-genreBillboard 200, making her the only country female ever to do so four times. The title track spent two months in the top ten, followed by the release of her current hit, “Love Wins.”

In November, Carrie returned to host the CMA Awards with Brad Paisley for the eleventh time, though she admitted her famed wardrobe changes were considerably more difficult because of her pregnancy. She also reclaimed the Female Vocalist title, taking home the trophy for the fifth non-consecutive time.

First up for Carrie in 2019: the birth of her second little one, whom she revealed during the CMA monologue will be another little boy.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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