We’ve all had a year, but Kelly Clarkson has had A YEAR. Between separating after quarantining with her husband Brandon and their two children (plus, at times, Brandon’s two children from a previous marriage) on a ranch that needed a lot of work while she was trying to host her show virtually, they called it quits in June. 


Then, her father-in-law Narvel Blackstock’s company, Starstruck Management Group, sued her over commission from a verbal agreement (and her team has filed a response saying that, amongst other things, her ex Brandon and Narvel operated as talent managers without a license). So the business side is extremely messy. 

On top of all that, the custody issues are complicated. Kelly Clarkson (who is represented by Laura Wasser) was awarded primary custody of their two children. With that comes a lot of caveats and wrangling and it’s not super cut and dry. Kelly and Brandon have joint physical and legal custody but the children will reside with Kelly as the judge ruled that California is their primary residence (and not Montana, where Brandon now lives). And there’s more – Brandon has weekend custody on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends. (Brandon will have to travel to LA for the 1st and 5th visit, the kids will travel to him for the 3rd ). Whew. For the holidays, Brandon got Thanksgiving and will have them from December 19th until Christmas Day at 2 pm. It’s very specific. 


Part of the reason for the specificity is that the document states that the co-parenting is not going well. Per PEOPLE, "the level of conflict between the parents has increased. The parties have a difficult time co-parenting due to issues of trust between them." So they don’t trust each other or trust each other enough to create a schedule.  This is not an unusual scenario for a newly split couple (it’s been 6 months, so very fresh) who have big careers and live in two different states. 

To make matters messier, there’s a lot of money at stake. Brandon is asking for $436,000 a month in spousal and child support (that’s approximately $5.23 million a year). The breakdown works out to $310k in spousal support and $135k in child support. Oh and another $2 million for attorney fees (he has 7 lawyers). Per usual, no one would speak on the record but a source called Brandon’s request “unreasonable.”


This is a bad breakup on so many different levels: professionally (he was her manager; she’s battling his dad), personally (obviously) and then there’s the issue of two small children who need childcare, school and travel during a pandemic. That’s a lot for anyone and on top of it, Kelly is incredibly busy with The Voice and The Kelly Clarkson Show. What I imagine makes it hard for Kelly is that being on TV requires a high level of energy, combined with the fact that she’s the star and people rely on her to show up, there’s a pressure and intensity there. Divorce is not unique but the circumstances around her divorce are very much so. 

Which is why, based completely on Marriage Story, I’m glad she has Laura Dern Laura Wasser, on her side. Lawyer Laura has dealt with many high-profile marriage and custody cases and cares about amicable solutions more than fighting it out, but she’s no doormat. Kelly is fighting the Blackstock family on a lot of different fronts and needs the reinforcement. We are all looking forward to the end of 2020 but probably no one more than Kelly Clarkson.