Kelly Clarkson made reality TV history when she won the first-ever season of American Idol back in 2002. Since then, she’s achieved a ton of success as a singer and host of her own daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show. For seven years, the Grammy award-winning singer had a picture-perfect life with music manager Brandon Blackstock. But over the last year, Clarkson’s divorce has clouded her world. What seemed like a flourishing celebrity family suddenly came crashing down with a devastating breakup, shocking lawsuits, and a heated custody battle. Gossip Cop is here to give the full rundown on the marriage, the divorce, and the aftermath.
Kelly Clarkson Was Married To Brandon Blackstock For Seven Years
Clarkson and Blackstock first met in 2006 at the American Country Music Awards. The “Miss Independent” singer told People in 2013 that she knew they would end up together just by the way he walked into the room and made everyone laugh. Blackstock was married to his previous wife, Melissa Ashworth, at the time of their initial encounter.
The two already had some connections in common, so it was only a matter of time before they’d cross paths again. Brandon’s father, Narvel Blackstock, was Clarkson’s manager. And at the time, Narvel was married to Reba McEntire, one of Clarkson’s mentors.
Fast forward to the Super Bowl in 2012. Clarkson was set to perform the national anthem, while Blake Shelton was booked to perform “America the Beautiful.” And who was Blake Shelton’s manager at the time? A recently divorced Brandon Blackstock. The timing was perfect, and the couple connected. They went on their first date on February 12, 2012.
In a 2013 interview with Cosmopolitan, Clarkson talked about their first date. “One of my superhero idols is Whitney Houston, and the day she died was our first date,” she said. “I was like ‘This is a bad omen.’”
Despite the bad omen, sparks flew between Clarkson and Blackstock. By December 2012, the couple was engaged, and in October 2013, they walked down the aisle. The wedding took place at Blackberry Farms in Walland, Tennesse. She shared a video on Twitter documenting the big day.
It wasn’t too long after the wedding that the couple started growing their family. Clarkson gave birth to the couple’s first child, River in June 2014. The next summer, they welcomed their second child into the world, a son named Remington.
In addition to their two kids, Blackstock also had two children from his previous marriage, Savannah and Seth.
Clarkson said that they were on “cloud 9” following the wedding. It seemed like the relationship was flourishing, but as time went on, the foundation began to crack.
Kelly Clarkson Said That ‘This Isn’t Happiness’
Throughout the pandemic, Clarkson continued working on both The Voice and The Kelly Clarkson Show. Busy careers and four kids may have caused cracks in the relationship to intensify.
“We’ve been in really close quarters and it’s been kind of nuts. I’m not going to lie,” Clarkson told People in an interview in May 2020. “There’s definitely some cabin fever going on. It’s challenging being a working mom.”
Kelly Clarkson officially filed for divorce in June 2020, marking the end of her seven-year marriage to Brandon Blackstock. The divorce papers cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the split, which is a common, but vague way to describe divorce. However, there’s more to the story.
A source close to the Grammy-award-winning songstress confirmed with Us Weekly that the quarantine exacerbated the couple’s differences. “They clashed on so many levels and being in quarantine together heightened their problems to the point of no return,” according to the source.
Throughout the divorce, Clarkson used her daytime talk show to open up about her decision to leave the marriage. During a December episode, she sat down with Glennon Doyle, the author of the book, Untamed. Doyle discussed the emotional struggle of divorce and the added complication of sharing children, a topic that deeply resonated with the host.
Clarkson said, “The hardest for me is the kids.” She continued, “I think, as women especially, we’re trained to take it all on and deal with it and you’re fine. But it’s your babies that you worry about.”
Doyle acknowledged Clarkson’s sentiment, remarking how she stayed in her first marriage for the sake of her daughter. The author said, “I didn’t leave a marriage in spite of being a good mother; I left because I am a good mother.”
Reflecting on her own divorce, Clarkson added, “That’s what I needed to see to make a step in my own life.” She continued, “This isn’t happiness, and we both deserve better.”
Starstruck Management Sued Clarkson After She Filed For Divorce
Cabin fever in quarantine wasn’t the only thing driving a wedge between the couple. An even uglier wrinkle to the story popped up when Starstruck Management Group, owned by Brandon’s father Narvel Blackstock, filed a lawsuit against Clarkson in September 2020, just a few months after the divorce filing.
Variety reported the details of the lawsuit, where it was alleged that Clarkson should pay $1.4 million in unpaid commissions. The complaint stated, “By way of example only, Starstruck was instrumental in helping Clarkson achieve success in terms of numerous hit albums, multiple Grammy wins and nominations, her role on popular television shows like ‘The Voice’ and her talk show. Despite Starstruck’s hard work and dedication, Clarkson has decided she is going to stop paying Starstruck for what is contractually owed.”
The claim states that although Clarkson and Starstruck didn’t have a written deal, a verbal agreement was in place that the entertainer would pay a 15% commission on her gross earnings. This deal allegedly went into place in 2007.
The “Breakaway” singer hit back at her old management company, saying that Brandon operated illegally as her manager for years because he was never a certified talent agent. Her counterclaim stated that Brandon should actually pay her back for all the commissions and fees he received.
Kelly Clarkson Won The Heated Custody Battle
Throughout all of the messy divorce drama, one of the most contentious elements surrounded the future of their children. Clarkson resides in California while Brandon has been residing in Montana. Where would their kids go?
USA TODAY obtained court documents in November 2020 revealing that Clarkson won primary physical custody of their children, River and Remington. The ruling went on to describe the state of Clarkson and Brandon’s relationship, saying, “The level of conflict between the parents has increased. The parties have a difficult time co-parenting due to issues of trust between them.”
Since filing for divorce, Clarkson has dedicated time to taking care of herself and the kids. She bought a new house to help them feel more peaceful. Recognizing how difficult the process was, Clarkson told Extra TV that she enlisted the help of child psychologists. “Everyone’s sad and it’s okay to be sad,” she noted.
Kelly Clarkson Is Writing Music To Cope With The Divorce
The three-time Grammy award winner is channeling this dark time into her music. In February 2021, Clarkson revealed to Entertainment Tonight that she has written nearly 60 songs since filing for divorce last year.
But will fans get a chance to hear these songs? That’s still undecided. When describing her songwriting process, especially when writing about something personal, she has to ask herself, “What are you willing to put out there?”
She told Entertainment Tonight, “I hate that I had to go through ‘Because of You’ or ‘Piece by Piece’ [moments]. Certain songs that I’ve written certainly have shaped me, but have been really hard.”
Whatever Clarkson’s next move is, whether it’s writing a post-divorce album or just mentoring singers on The Voice, her fans will be there to support.