Long After Divorce, Chesney Back on Top

Kenny Chesney strutted triumphantly for the cameras backstage at the CMAs awards after repeating his 2004 win in the night's top category, Entertainer of the Year.

Little more than a year ago, Chesney's quickie marriage and divorce to Renée Zellweger became a tabloid sensation. But in 2006, the 38-year-old star also reached new heights of stardom, selling out stadiums from Seattle to Nashville and topping the charts with a pair of No. 1 hits.

"This year has, in many ways, been the most emotionally satisfying year, and also the most draining year of my life," Chesney said.

There have been "so many ups and downs … like a huge emotional roller coaster," he added.

Urban-Minded Country Stars

Male Vocalist of the Year Keith Urban was on everyone's mind backstage as he continues to undergo treatment in a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse.

Leeann Rimes told reporters that she was sad that he couldn't be there to accept his award.

"I'm just hoping he gets better," Rimes said. "And that's all that matters."

Brad Paisley was another big winner Monday night, taking home the Album of the Year trophy for "Time Well Wasted."

After joking with reporters for a few minutes, Paisley admitted that he was inspired by Montgomery Gentry's speech about some of country music's most-honored recordings.

With the mentions of such classics as Johnny Cash's "Live at Folsom Prison" and Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskoggee," Paisley was hoping his album would win. He said he found himself saying, "OK, I want that."

A Trophy Worth Kissing

CMA hosts Brooks & Dunn were relieved to be finished with their duties when the night was over, but they were also quite pleased to win Duo of the Year for a 14th time.

Of course, Kix Brooks said he and his partner are prepared for another duo to win.

"We know it's coming," he said. "We're prepared every year to clap for somebody else, honestly."

The twosome took home three awards. Besides Duo of the Year, they won single and song of the year honors.

Carrie Underwood carried her Female Vocalist and Horizon trophies with her as the cameras snapped photos backstage --- and even kissed one of the trophies!

Underwood admitted to reporters that she didn't expect to win Female Vocalist, and even turned down her date, Anthony Fedrov, when he offered to hold her purse if she won the award.

But even though she was up against Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson and Sara Evans, Underwood prevailed.

"Just to be among the other women that were nominated, as well as all the other women who've won it throughout the CMA history, it's incredible," Underwood said.

"I'm on such a high right now. This is amazing. … I'm certainly grateful to win Horizon and Female in the same year. That's such an accomplishment."

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