Kelly Clarkson Opened Up About Feeling “Limited” In Her Marriage After Previously Hinting At “Lies” And “Secrets” In The Relationship

“It's like there's always this tug-of-war happening, like … ‘I love you, but god, I hate you. You are just horrible.’ You go back and forth, and that's not healthy.”

Ahead of the release of her new album, Chemistry, Kelly Clarkson is reflecting on her divorce from Brandon Blackstock.

A close-up of Kelly Clarkson smiling on the red carpet. Kelly is wearing an Adidas X Gucci outfit that has the signature Adidas three lines down the arms

Kelly and Brandon initially split in June 2020 after nearly seven years of marriage. Their divorce was finalized in March 2022, and Kelly was granted primary physical custody of their two children: River Rose, 9, and Remington Alexander, 7.

Kelly was the one to file, citing “irreconcilable differences.” And soon after, she opened up on her talk show about just how hard she was finding the split, particularly with two young children.

The former couple on the Critics Choice Awards red carpet

“2020 has been a dumpster fire,” she said. “2020 has brought a lot of change also to my personal life. Definitely didn't see anything coming that came.”

Kelly seated and wearing a long-sleeved, belted, floral-print dress and looking serious

Since then, she’s shared more about the end of her marriage in her music, alluding to “secrets” and “lies” in the relationship.

Close-up of Kelly smiling and wearing a sparkly jacket

“But now on the other side, I remembered I could fly / I told you I wanted you / But you needed me to need you / Your insecurity was the death of you and me,” she sings in a new track called “Me.”

Screenshot of the lyrics

And now, with the forthcoming release of her album bound to bring even more insight into the split, Kelly is getting candid about the demise of her and Brandon’s relationship.

A close-up of Kelly, on the right, smiling and standing next to Brandon at an event

In a recent episode of Glennon Doyle’s We Can Do Hard Things podcast, Kelly talked with the author about feeling “limited” in her marriage.

Close-up of Kelly seated and smiling

“I don't feel like that's necessarily the truth for all marriages; I just think that was for in my case,” she said. “If you're on the same path at the same time — and you're actually working together, and every day communicating together and doing the work — I think that it could be beautiful.”

Close-up of Kelly smiling and wearing an off-the-shoulder outfit

She added: “But for me, it wasn't that, and it was very limiting.”

Close-up of Brandon, smiling in a suit and tie, and a smiling Kelly, in a frilly-collar outfit

Despite feeling she wasn’t able to be her authentic self in the relationship, Kelly made it clear that her ex wasn’t solely to blame for things not being as happy as they should have been.

Kelly and Brandon seated together and holding hands

“Maybe, as in love as I was, I just wasn't ready, and maybe the other person wasn't either,” she admitted before going on to compare their marriage to an ongoing battle.

Close-up of Kelly smiling and wearing large, dangly earrings

“It's like there's always this tug-of-war happening, like, ‘Oh my god, I love you, but god, I hate you. You are just horrible,’” she said. “You go back and forth, and that's not healthy.”

Kelly and Brandon sitting together in an audience and smiling, with Brandon's hand touching Kelly's knee

When she was asked why she stayed in the marriage for so long in light of how difficult things were, Kelly admitted it all came down to her ego.

Close-up of Kelly smiling

“I'm like, ‘I can do this. I can handle so much,’” she said. “My ego is like, ‘I can control my actions. I can control my reactions. I can do this, and I can reach this person and I can get through.’ And it becomes a little bit of your ego that gets in the way.”

Close-up of Kelly smiling and wearing a lacy outfit

Amid the emotions of the split, Kelly made it clear that she and Brandon are on the same page about making things as straightforward as possible for their kids, who are apparently “really adamant about keeping that dream alive that [they] might still be together one day.”

Kelly stands with her kids at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony

“Love is tricky. It's just a very hard thing when you love someone so deeply, to separate that and to have the right answer — which I don't,” she said. “When my kids ask me sometimes, I'm like, 'I can't give you that whole story. This is your separate relationship with your father. This is mine, this is yours.’”

Close-up of Kelly smiling and wearing a sparkly outfit

You can listen to Kelly’s full interview here.

And you can check out Kelly's talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, on Peacock!

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