After five platinum albums and a high-intensity, record-breaking tour, Jason Aldean is on top of his game. No surprise then, that the country world was shocked when he recently announced his split from his high school sweetheart and wife of 12 years, Jessica Ussery, after he was caught kissing an "American Idol" contestant.
Aldean has remained tight-lipped about the whole ordeal -- until now.
In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts for her special, "In the Spotlight With Robin Roberts: Countdown to the CMA Awards," Aldean invited ABC News cameras backstage on tour, shared his amazing story to stardom and opened up for the first time about what happened the night that the cell phone photos changed his world.
He was photographed kissing singer Brittney Kerr. The resulting tabloid uproar ended with Aldean announcing his divorce, just seven months later.
"When you have to deal with all that stuff in public, I mean, it's hard to -- it's hard enough to deal with it in private," Aldean told Roberts.
After a bumpy start to his music career, Aldean has been on a blockbuster run. He struggled for five years to get noticed in Nashville, but finally landed a record deal in 2005. That year, he released his first single, "Hicktown," off his self-titled album, and the song shot to the top of the country music charts. Since then, Aldean has had five platinum albums, numerous hit singles, including "Crazy Town," "She's Country," "Night Train" and "Dirt Road Anthem," and won several country music awards. He is even nominated for "Entertainer of the Year" at Wednesday's Country Music Awards.
But last October, the 36-year-old Georgia native was at the center of a media frenzy when a collection of cell phone photos emerged showing Aldean kissing Kerr, a former contestant on the 2012 season of "American Idol," at a Los Angeles bar.
When asked to describe what happened that night with Kerr, Aldean told Roberts, "It's one of those things where, you know, you go out and you're just hanging out."
"I think the biggest thing is, you know, obviously there was things going on in my marriage at the time where it just wasn't really happy," he added. "And you go out and you kind of let your guard down a little bit and things happen, and unfortunately ... it's tough."
After the photos were made public, Aldean issued a statement apologizing for his actions, saying he had "too much to drink" that night and "acted inappropriately." As damaging as the photos of him kissing Kerr were, the one reprieve Aldean said he got from the paparazzi was that they also snapped pictures of him leaving the bar that night -- without Kerr.
"Probably the best thing that could have happened that night was ... they also took the pictures of me getting in a cab with my buddies," Aldean said. "So it was, you know, it is what it is."
Seven months after the photos surfaced, Aldean and Ussery announced they had filed for divorce. Aldean said now the couple's two daughters are his top priority.