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Kelly Clarkson Explains Name Change Situation Following Divorce From Brandon Blackstock

Ever since a young Texas girl walked out in front of Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul on the first season of American Idol in 2002, the world has known the name Kelly Clarkson. That’s why it was such a shock to find out that amidst her divorce from Brandon Blackstock, The Voice coach had decided to legally change her name to Kelly Brianne, going just by her first and middle names. It might not be as drastic as it seemed at first, though, as Clarkson recently took the time to clarify the name change.

The Idol alum has to be one of Hollywood's busiest TV personalities, as she typically juggles her daytime talk show with coaching duties on the aforementioned reality competition series. However, since NBC began airing just one season of The Voice a year, the crossover singer has joined forces with Snoop Dogg to host an NBC singing competition of a different sort. American Song Contest debuted on March 21 (and who knew Snoop was a fan of K-Pop?), with Clarkson taking the opportunity on the red carpet to clarify her previously requested name change. She told PEOPLE (the TV Show!):

I just got divorced, so I had to drop my married last name. I just kept my middle name for my personal life. I'm still Kelly Clarkson. I don't think I can change Clarkson at this point. I'm 20 years in!

It’s been 20 years since Kelly Clarkson walked away as the first ever winner of American Idol. She parlayed the win into a career in music (she’s won three Grammy Awards out of 15 nominations and is eying EGOT status), movies and television. I think she’s right that her name isn’t going anywhere. While she dropped Brandon Blackstock’s last name in the divorce, the singer never used “Blackstock” professionally, and the moniker change is just for use in her personal life.

At the time that she filed the name change paperwork, she said Kelly Brianne more fully reflected who she was. Personally, I am all for the act of personal empowerment, especially after the long and hard divorce battle she’s been through.

Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from Reba McEntire’s stepson in June 2020. After an intricate legal battle filled with multiple lawsuits and lots of drama surrounding the couple’s Montana ranch (a win for Clarkson), which Brandon Blackstock wanted to keep as his home, the divorce was officially finalized earlier this month. As part of the settlement, it was reported that Blackstock will receive a one-time, tax-free payment in the amount of $1,326,161 from his ex. Furthermore, he will be getting $115,000 per month in spousal support until January 31, 2024, and $45,000 monthly child support payments until their two children (who are currently 5 and 7) turn 18.

Hopefully the “Since U Been Gone” singer can now move forward with her life, new TV show and new name. If you want to catch her on her latest venture, tune in to American Song Contest at 8 p.m. ET Mondays on NBC, and check your local listings for The Kelly Clarkson Show. Be on the look out for updates on the upcoming season of The Voice, and our 2022 TV Schedule, where you can find all of the upcoming premiere dates.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.