Kelly Clarkson is reflecting on the devastation her divorce caused.
Speaking to Angie Martinez on her IRL podcast, Kelly opened up about her decision to end her marriage after seven years, saying it wasn’t an “overnight” decision.
"It rips you apart, whenever you fall in love with someone and it doesn't work,” she said. "Anyone that's been divorced knows. That was years in trying to make — not make it work, 'cause I never wanted to be part of something to 'make it work’. I wanted to make it beautiful. I wanted to make it awesome. I wanted to make it everything it possibly could be, and sometimes that just doesn't happen."
Kelly also spoke about how her kids have fared throughout the process. She said part of her bedtime routine with the kids is asking them whether they’re happy and what might make them happier.
“It kills me but I want them to be honest so I don't ever say, 'Oh God, don't tell me that.' But a lot of times it would be like, 'I'm just really sad. I wish Mommy and Daddy were in the same house.' They're really honest about it. I'm raising that kind of individual," she said, adding that it’s important to remember they’re children, not adults, and that these are complicated emotions they’re dealing with.
Kelly said she tells her kids that coming from a divorced family herself helps her to understand what they’re going through. And being honest about what she’s going through is likely a huge help for other families navigating through splits, like mine.
Recently, I made the difficult decision to split up my blended family. As Kelly said, it wasn’t an overnight decision, but it certainly didn’t take years. Everyone has their breaking point, and I’ve always been very clear about mine. But I’m learning that while it’s great to have clear boundaries about what I will and won’t accept, you have an entirely different perspective once you walk away from something.
I’ve written about how much women tend to thrive after splits and divorces. Women like Kristin Cavallari and Shakira have demonstrated how good life can be after shedding the dead weight of a relationship they knew wasn’t going to work out. But rarely do we discuss the intense emotions that follow a divorce, like the ones that Kelly is describing.
For Kelly, it really has been a rollercoaster. And an expensive one at that. Back in 2022, their divorce agreement ordered Kelly to pay $45,601 per month to Brandon for child support. And that’s after a one-time payment of $1.3 million. He was also awarded $115,000 in monthly spousal support that remains in place until January of 2024.
It’s no wonder she doesn’t seem to have any interest in remarrying, something she chatted with Gwyneth Paltrow about back in 2021. Gwyneth appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, and Kelly posed a question about her decision to remarry.
"Coming from someone who's literally amidst a divorce, I can't even imagine doing it again. So that's amazing that you found love, and you found the space and the vulnerability—that level to say yes, and do it again. Was that hard for you?" she asked.
Gwyneth responded by saying remarrying was the “hardest” thing she’d ever done, but taking time between her divorce and remarriage allowed her to reflect and think about what was required of herself and a partner to make her next marriage work, before telling Kelly that she’d “get there” and that it “just takes time.”
"I'm actually in that place where I think a lot of people, I've heard, that go through divorce, it's almost like you start dating yourself again, like you actually make time for you again, and I love dating me," Kelly explained.
It’s a sentiment a lot of women post-breakup can relate to. Last night before I fell asleep I stumbled across a TikTok series a woman named Stephanie Cowan is doing. After getting dumped by a guy and being heartbroken over it, she committed to spending the next six months in what she calls her “golden era”. It’s a daily re-examination of her relationship with loneliness. She’s exercising, practicing gratitude, organizing her space, romanticizing her alone time and investing all the love she has given to men right back into herself to see the impact it has over a six month period.
Like Kelly, Stephanie is incredibly transparent about the range of emotions she’s feeling. She doesn’t only talk about the sunshine, lollipops and rainbows of it all, but dives deep into the lows of her journey. Watching her videos gave me a bit of hope, a bit of laughter and a lot of relief that I’m not the only one navigating an emotionally complex period in my life.
Like Gwyneth said, Kelly is getting there. It may not be a relationship or a remarriage at this point, but she’s moving past something huge. And something painful. She’s back on The Voice, co-starring with her ex-mother-in-law, Reba McEntire, which certainly adds a layer of complexity. But she’s also working on new music – which will, of course, reflect her experience with her divorce.
"Every phase is on my next record. There is sadness. There is rage. It's a lot because you go through all those emotions. If you don't hit all those, were you really in it? I was destroyed, like, on the ground, crying. That's a loss. It's a death," she told Angie.
The point Kelly made that most resonated with me – and maybe even answers my question about whether I need to reassess my breaking point in order to make something work – was what she said about not just wanting to do something to ‘make it work’. And wanting to make something beautiful instead.
No one wants the pressure to see something through get in the way of stopping to ensure we’re in something we enjoy. Something that’s healthy. And so though this certainly is the lesser walked path, I’m afraid that I will walk it every single time. Especially if it means finding the love and visibility I crave and deserve – even if the only person capable of giving that to me is me. And thanks to the honesty of women like Kelly and Stephanie Cowan, I feel a lot less alone in that.