At the Breaking Point
Seven years after they wed, friends fear Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher are headed for divorce
What’s the big hurry, ma’am?” a police officer asked Carrie Underwood on the morning of Jan. 29. The country superstar was speeding through the residential streets near her home in Tennessee when a cop pulled her over and grilled her. “I wasn’t even paying attention,” Carrie replied from inside her gray Mercedes SUV, footage from the police car’s dashcam shows. “I know that’s no excuse.” And yet it was good enough for the officer, who let her go with a warning to slow down. Still, Carrie was shaken by the incident. “I feel so ashamed! I may or may not have cried in my car,” she tweeted afterward. The otherwise uneventful traffic stop left the normally calm, cool and collected singer “super emotional,” says a Carrie insider. “It was a red flag that something is off.” That would be her marriage. The “Dirty Laundry” singer, 34, and her hockey player husband, Mike Fisher, 37, are on the verge of a split seven years after they tied the knot. “She and Mike love each other, but like any couple they’ve had challenges. So much so that at times, Carrie has been at the breaking point,” the Carrie insider tells In Touch exclusively. Through the years, everything from differing personalities (she’s shy, he’s outgoing) to differing interests (she’s a vegan, he’s an unapologetic carnivore) to differing schedules (their jobs have kept them both on the road) have taken a toll on the parents to 2-year-old son Isaiah. Their biggest problem of late: Mike’s decision to come out of retirement just six months after he hung up his skates and resume his NHL career with the Nashville Predators. “She really thought that Mike’s retirement was going to give them the time they needed to work on making their family stronger,” says the insider. “His decision put a huge strain on their marriage. If Carrie and Mike continue to grow apart, it will surely end in divorce for them. And that would be heartbreaking.”
DASHED HOPES When Mike announced his retirement in August, the Season 4 American Idol winner was elated that her husband —who, during a dark time last season, suffered two concussions — would be safe…and at home. “Just by the very nature of their jobs, Carrie is gone on long concert tours and Mike was away playing for the team a lot,” says a source.
Indeed, in 2016 alone, Carrie played 92 shows in cities from Louisville, Ky., to London. And during the 2016–’17 NHL season, the Predators had more than 100 games, including matches all across the country. “Carrie has wanted more quality time with Mike,” says the source. “They’ve only been on a couple of vacations together in the seven years they’ve been married.”
But life off the ice (where he was known for his violent streak, even in a sport where violence is routine) left Mike “stir-crazy,” according to a Mike insider. “He would play golf, go fishing, go hunting to fill his time, but his heart was still with his teammates in Nashville. The Predators are having a great season and might win their first-ever NHL championship, and it just ate at Mike that he hasn’t been a part of it.” Carrie, who’s busy recording an upcoming album, reluctantly agreed because he promised it would be a one-season gig. “But Carrie does have that fear he’s going to get so motivated by playing this season that he’s going to want to come back again next fall,” says the insider close to Mike.
Mike’s return to work has thrown a wrench in one of Carrie’s most important plans: having another baby. “Carrie’s been desperate to have a little brother or sister for Isaiah,” says the Carrie insider. “But she’s been struggling to get pregnant. She was hoping Mike would become more involved in the process of possible IVF treatments, if it came to that.” The situation speaks to a larger issue in their marriage, says a friend: “He isn’t always cognizant of Carrie’s feelings and needs.”
Especially now. Since a mysterious accident in November — she fell down on a flight of stairs at her Nashville
home, leaving her with a broken wrist and 40 to 50 stitches in her face — Carrie has been an emotional wreck. Mike was out of town when the accident occurred and rushed back home when he found out about it, according to Carrie’s rep. (But no one has said where he was or why he was away.) “It took her two months to muster up the courage to talk about the full extent of the accident,” says the friend. “It came right when she and Mike were trying to save their marriage and she was planning her comeback to the music world. You feel for her — it’s just been one thing after another.”
ROCKY START Their relationship had problems from the outset. The fiercely devout Christians met in 2008 at a meet-and-greet following one of her concerts. But there was one big issue: He was based in Canada, where he played hockey for the Ottawa Senators, while she was in Nashville and on the road touring. “I mean, can I make dating more difficult?” Carrie later said. They chatted
‘‘ It might just be good to have that space to talk things out” — CARRIE ON COUPLES THERAPY
for months before meeting up again on New Year’s Eve. Their first kiss took place just as the ball dropped.
By the next December, the pair were engaged. They wed the following summer, and for the first year of their marriage, they shuttled between homes in Nashville and Ontario, Canada, until Mike was traded to Carrie’s hometown team, the Nashville Predators, in 2011. “I don’t know if their marriage would have lasted this long if that hadn’t happened,” says the friend. “Carrie was ready to move to Canada full-time, but her heart really wasn’t in it. At least it put the two of them in the same city.”
Yet over time, they realized how different they truly are. “Mike is as gregarious as they come. He thinks nothing of inviting six people over, people Carrie barely knows, and it’s very uncomfortable for her,” says the friend. The source adds that even something as simple as family dinner can cause friction. “Carrie not only doesn’t eat meat, she doesn’t want to cook it, either,” says the insider close
to Mike. “She wants to be the kind of wife who makes her husband dinner, but it becomes a problem. They often cook two separate meals prepared separately, so dinnertime isn’t really a bonding process.”
As much as they both adore their son, having Isaiah complicated matters, too. “Your marriage does change a lot when you have a baby — it’s a whole new dynamic,” Carrie said in 2015. “You have to make it a point to not lose yourselves as a couple. There’s so much going on it becomes easy to not focus on your marriage anymore.”
To remedy that, she has suggested couples counseling, but Mike hasn’t shown interest — ever. “He doesn’t necessarily say no, but he just kicks that can down the road,” says the source. “He admits he really isn’t comfortable with the idea.”
And so Carrie often takes solace in her music. “During times of strife, she thinks back to the lyrics to some of her hit songs,” says the source. “She relates heavily to ‘Starts With Goodbye,’”
which includes lyrics like “I knew I had to do it, and he wouldn’t understand / So hard to see myself without him, I felt a piece of my heart break.” “It was a song she wrote before she met Mike,” adds the source, “but it hits home all the more to her now, because she’s feeling those emotions herself in a relationship, rather than just imagining what they would be.”
NOW OR NEVER Loved ones fear the pair are nearing the end. “If Carrie and Mike continue to grow apart, they will have no choice but to divorce,” says the source. “This will tear Carrie apart because of her faith and the vows she took. Obviously, it’s something neither of them wants, and the stakes are higher than they were a few years ago because of their son. But more and more, they seem to be going their separate ways, and it could spell doom for their marriage. They have a lot of work to do if they are going to rediscover what they’ve lost in each other. And time is running out.” ◼