“He kind of summed it up one night,” the "Cry Pretty" singer, 37, tells Yahoo Entertainment of the retired NHL player. “We were a couple months in and had been very much in quarantine just with each other for a while. He said: ‘You know what? I like you.’ I was like: ‘What does that mean? You like me?’ He was like: ‘I know I love you — we’ve been married 10 years this year and have two kids together,” referring to sons Isaiah, 5, and Jacob, 1, “but this experience has showed me I like you, too.”
Underwood described it as “such a nice moment,” and recalled replying to Fisher, “‘I like you, too.’”
The star admitted that the time hasn’t been “without its challenges. Everybody has had their challenges. We’re not meant to be all together, all day, every day. At no other time in history has it been like this. There’s always been somebody working, somebody taking care of the kids, the kids going to school... No time in our humanness have we just all been together all day, every day. But it has been nice and refreshing knowing: OK, we’re solid. We like each other. We love each other. We can do this. We can work together even through the craziest of times.”
Underwood has continued plugging away — winning major awards, releasing her first Christmas album, taping a Christmas special and more. Her five-year old fitness and lifestyle clothing brand, CALIA by Carrie Underwood, is launching pop-up stores in Austin, Santa Monica and her home base of Nashville for the holidays. They open on Oct. 28 — and will remain up through the end of the year, with COVID-19 precautions in place.
"Five years we've been doing CALIA, so we thought: What can we do this year to try something new and have some extra fun?” she says. “We love those cities and they love CALIA, so we thought we'd try [it] in those areas.”
She’s said time and again that fitness is important to her — and it remained essential during quarantine.
“It’s an act of self-care for me to work it,” says Underwood, who also launched the fitness app, fit52, in early March just as a the pandemic hit the U.S. “It’s a mental, physical, stress reliever and it’s so good for my mental health. I need to work out. Now that we’re home, it is easier to say: ‘OK, I’m not going anywhere. I’m gonna go work out.’ And my husband and I got really good at kind of taking shifts. ‘You watch the kids, and I’ll go. And then, I’ll watch the kids and you go.’ Giving each other that gift, that support.”
And she’s not immune to experiencing “mom-guilt” over taking time for herself, but she knows it’s important.
“Sometimes I find myself in the gym just being worried my house is imploding or something,” she says. “I tell myself: No, this is better for me because I’m going to be a in better mood for the rest of the day because I’ve done this for myself. And when I start justifying it, when I really start thinking about why I work out — and wanting to be around for my kids as long as possible — I’m like: This is a gift I’m giving myself, but it’s also one that finds it way through the rest of my day and week and life. Everybody benefits from me taking 30 minutes to an hour to work out in the morning.”
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While her workouts continue, she admits her snacking increased.
“On the flip side, there’s been snacking because I’ve been home,” she laughs. “In the beginning I was like: I gotta figure this out. It definitely came with a cleaning out of the pantry and trying to get rid of things. Things that I walked by, I grabbed uselessly. It was a balance in figuring out keeping myself and my health a priority amidst this year.”
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Underwood said making her first Christmas album, My Gift, which is out now, during the pandemic also helped her get through the weird time. She started it last year and it mostly done before the shutdown. She was able to put finishing touches on it in late spring and early summer.
“In this year, if nothing else, I hope people love it and ... it gets them in the Christmas spirit,” she says. “For me, it was such a great thing to be able to go in and sing Christmas music when things were just not looking super awesome in the world. I could ignore what was happening and just go to my happy place and have Christmas in May.”
An added bonus was her elder son, Isaiah, adorably singing on the “Little Drummer Boy” track with her.
“First, I want to throw out — I had no idea how it was going to work out,” she says of the duet with her mini-me. “My son loves to sing. He wants to watch musical movies and learns all the songs. And he has my lyrical brain.” So she approached it like, “If nothing else, he gets to come to the studio and see what his mom does and have this memory and this moment.”
But he ended up nailing it.
“He did such a great job,” she the proud mom. “He put his little heart into it. He was throwing his arms in the air. He was just feeling every word that he was singing, which was very special for me to watch.”
Underwood says she’d absolutely support a career in show business if he was interested — one day.
“Of course I would,” she says. “Not at 5. This was a special one-off thing. I hope people don’t think: ‘Oh my gosh, she’s going to be such a momager, pushing him into the music industry.’ He can do whatever he feels like the good Lord is telling him he needs to be doing. But I would definitely support, especially if it’s in something like country music because I love our family. I love Nashville. We’ll see.”
There’s a good chance Isaiah — and maybe the other Fisher men — will be part of Underwood’s upcoming HBO Max Christmas special, which she describes as “just beautiful.”
“We have this beautiful orchestra,” she says. “I walked [on the set] and it was just a breath of fresh air. It made me feel like we were celebrating all that was right about Christmas. It was a special moment for me. Family is definitely incorporated — and some fun surprises in there as well.” (Like perhaps John Legend, who sings on the album track “Hallelujah”? She wouldn’t tell.)
As for their holiday plans, Underwood says, “For me, it’s all about family. I really hope we get to see all of our family — I’m not sure how that’s going to work because my husband’s family is in Canada, so I don’t know. But the point is, we’re all still here and we’re all going to figure out some way to celebrate with each other. Even if it’s on Zoom or something, we’re going to figure it out.”
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