Kevin Hart made his first major awards show appearance as he continues to recover from his September car accident.
The actor, 40, accepted the award for comedy movie star of 2019 at the E! People’s Choice Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. Hart referenced his car accident in his speech after the audience gave him a standing ovation.
“First and foremost, thank God, because I definitely don’t have to be here,” he said after Robert Downey Jr. presented him the trophy.
“Being that I am, it makes me appreciate life even more. It makes me appreciate the things that really matter: family. I want to thank my wife, my kids, who really stepped up to the plate for me,” Hart added, giving a sweet shout-out to his wife Eniko Parrish and his kids: sons Hendrix, 12, and Kenzo, 2, and 14-year-old daughter Heaven.
The father of three also thanked his fans for their ongoing support. “I truly want to thank you guys for being there for at my difficult time,” he said.
On Sept. 1, Hart was a passenger in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when the driver — friend and producer Jared Black — lost control and crashed through wooden fencing just before 1 a.m. local time on Mulholland Highway in Malibu. He had to undergo emergency back surgery.
In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, a source explained that the Jumanji actor has been dedicating himself to recovery in the two months following the accident. “Kevin still receives physical therapy,” the source said, adding that Hart spent time at a live-in physical therapy center before returning home.
“He works very hard. It’s obvious that his determination has helped him tremendously.” “He doesn’t drive himself yet though and instead has a driver,” the source continued.
Recently, the star shared a video of his recovery process. “When God talks, you gotta listen,” he explained. “I swear, life is funny. Because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things that you needed the most. And in this case, I honestly feel like God basically told me to sit down.“
Hart added, “When you’re moving too fast and doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things that you’re meant to see. But after my accident I see things differently, I see life from a whole new perspective.”
Two days before the awards show, Hart and Parrish stepped out in Los Angeles for dinner at celeb hotspot Mr. Chow.
The People’s Choice Awards 2019, airing from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, will be broadcast live Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on E!