From releasing a joint single to combining forces on tour, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley have done it all together.
Now, the country superstars are gearing up to host their eleventh consecutive CMA Awards together on Wednesday — and yet they say still haven’t gotten sick of each other thanks to a trick they’ve learned from their own respective marriages.
“We spend a lot of time apart,” Underwood, 35, tells PEOPLE. “I feel like that’s important for any ‘marriage,’ work or real. Gotta spend some time apart.”
Paisley, 46, agrees and adds, “In each of our marriages, it’s that way. [We spend] a lot of time apart because of separate careers and stuff like that.”
“But, no, it’s a great thing,” he continues. “The chemistry we have up there … I think you can take that for granted, but it’s really rare.”
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Paisley is married to According to Jim alum Kimberly Williams-Paisley and has two sons — William, 11, and Jasper, 9. Underwood is married to professional hockey player Mike Fisher and has a 3-year-old son, Isaiah.
Hosting this year is going to be a little different for the “Cry Pretty” singer due to the fact that she’s currently pregnant with her second child, and she even shares how Paisley reacted to her growing bump.
“When I saw Brad after not seeing him for a little bit and I had kind of popped, I walked in the door and he said, ‘Holy cow!’” Underwood says.
“Poor choice of words,” she continues. “It is different. Mainly it’s a wardrobe thing and I don’t move as fast as I would like to. There’s a lot of quick changes and running from one side of the stage to the other.”
Check out PEOPLE’s full CMA Awards coverage to get the latest news on country music’s biggest night.
While Paisley says he fully expects Underwood to be in a “robe and sweats” before the show’s over, Underwood says she’s opting for a lot of spandex.
“It’s amazing because the majority of designers do not make maternity clothes,” she says. “So, I’m squeezing myself into things not meant to go on [my] body, but I’m sorry when I give them back and they’re all stretched out. Sorry designers. We’re pulling a lot of archive things that they don’t need anymore, and I have no idea what we’re gonna end up with. We’re not forcing anything — except that zipper.”
When it comes to Paisley’s outfits for the show, Underwood says she was unsuccessful in her attempts to get him in a man romper.
“We’ll see,” Paisley says. “In male sort of fashion, we’ve turned this corner where for a while they were trying things. But now its almost like people just gave up. It’s just flat brim hats and skinny jeans and whatever. You know what I mean?”
Aside from planning their wardrobe choices, Underwood — who is nominated for two CMA awards, including female vocalist of the year — says Paisley has been doing most of the writing for their jokes.
“He’ll do his thing, and I’ll tweak something here or there,” she says. “But, he does so much of the writing.”
“In July, I feel like I start opening my eyes and ears to what is going on in the universe specifically for CMA purposes,” she continues. “A lot of it will fall by the wayside because nobody is talking about it anymore. Everybody moves on to the new thing, the next thing but it’s always good to keep your eyes and ears open.”
Paisley even revealed that Underwood was among those invested in the drama that went down when Cardi B tried to fight Nicki Minaj at a New York Fashion Week party — and she texted him about it.
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“I was like, ‘There was a fight! Let’s get on that,” Underwood says. “Trying to apply it. I don’t think it’s going to work its way into CMAs but you never know.
Paisley wishes something like the famous #WhoBitBeyoncé debacle would happen right before the show airs.
“All spring you’re thinking, ‘No, do this in the fall. Bite Beyoncé in the fall,” he says, as Underwood adds: “Bite famous people in the fall, people, c’mon!”
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While a lot of the duo’s plans for the show are kept under wraps, one thing is for sure — Underwood is excited to take some time off afterwards to spend with family.
“I’ve been everywhere doing so much album promo and stuff like that, and it’s been really great,” she says. “But it is going to be nice to have this last big shebang and then take a breather. Take a minute, enjoy some holidays, enjoy some family and it’s gonna feel good to be done for a minute.”
When showtime comes Wednesday night, Paisley wants fans to be ready for material that’s “100 percent fun.”
“I think that’s an important thing to do right now,” he says. “The election’s over. We’re all now looking, I think, for something where we can watch some music and feel good.”
The 52nd annual CMA Awards air Wednesday, Nov. 14 from Nashville at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. PeopleTV, the advertiser-supported OTT streaming service from PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly, will live stream its Country Music Association Awards pre-show, “PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly Red Carpet Live: CMA Awards,” beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT. The show will wrap before the ceremony begins at 8 p.m. ET.
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