Rita Wilson Reveals the Personal Reason She Started Songwriting (Exclusive)

Wilson also opens up to ET about finding balance between her acting and singing careers.

It's personal for Rita Wilson

ET's Nancy O'Dell spoke with the actress and singer on the red carpet at the 2018 CMA Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, where she opened up about her foray into music, and what inspired her to begin songwriting. 

The reason I got into songwriting was because a girlfriend of mine, Kara DioGuardi, who's a great songwriter, asked me if I ever wanted to write a song, and I said I couldn't... She went, 'Do you have something you want to say?' And when she said that, it kind of opened up in this whole different way," Wilson said. "For me, songwriting can get into those areas of things that you want to say, that sometimes you can't find it in the right role, or you can't write it in an article, and it comes out in a song in the way you feel it."

The 62-year-old actress admitted that her battle with breast cancer -- she revealed that she underwent a double mastectomy in 2015 -- has influenced her songwriting "a lot."

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"In [my new] album, I have a song called 'Tear by Tear,' that literally, I remember going to church, and I was with my priest, and I was just crying. It was not a good time, some just difficult times, and he said, 'It's OK, It's OK. It's alright to cry, because sometimes you can cleanse yourself.' And in Greek, we have a word for it called catharis, which means cleansing," Wilson shared. "So I wrote a song called 'Tear by Tear,' and it's about sometimes you just have to cry to get on the other side of it, and get it all out."

Wilson has been acting long before she decided to pursue singing, but she said they both hold special places in her heart. 

"They're both very different. I would say that music, for me, is something that I feel more creatively satisfied or connected to because it's so pure. It's such a pure expression of who I am," she explained. "With acting, it's great because sometimes you're, it has nothing to do with who you are, so you're liberated by that. And I feel lucky that I've been able to support myself in this business for so many years."

Her husband, Tom Hanks, meanwhile, seems to be a big fan of her music career. "I'm always singing for him! Always, definitely!" she confessed. As for his own projects, it seems he's a bit more tight-lipped. 

"I haven't seen it," she said of Toy Story 4, which will be released in June. "It's not even really ready yet. You know how it is, they're still working on it." 

"I know what Woody looks like," she teased. "[But] it's pretty buttoned up... I hear [it's going to be amazing]." 

See more from the CMA Awards the video below.