Kelly Clarkson Opens Up About How She And The Kids Are Doing After Divorce From Brandon Blackstock, And Shares Key Advice To Staying At An '11'

Kelly Clarkson hosting talk show
(Image credit: The Kelly Clarkson Show)

If one was aware of Kelly Clarkson solely through watching her weekday talk show installments, one might think that the current Voice coach is the happiest person on the planet, so infectious are her big smiles and jubilant energy. Of course, her biggest fans know that’s certainly not the case, at least when it comes to her high-profile and extensive divorce from ex Brandon Blackstock. Having successfully maneuvered through the holiday season, with a tweaked musical focus on creatively exploring her relationship woes, Clarkson has kept the positive vibes going strong in 2023, and has now opened up about what keeps her emotionally at an “11,” while also sharing the important way she stayed connected to her kids’ mental states.

Kelly Clarkson had quite the engaging conversation with another fan-favorite host, rapper and radio queen Angie Martinez, on the latest episode of the latter’s podcast Angie Martinez IRL. Given that a mother’s life is so rarely at peace, the American Idol winner shared some candid thoughts about how hard things have been over the past two years of divorce struggles, and obviously not just for her. When the subject of child-rearing came up, Clarkson revealed one big way she’s raising her kids to be the kind of person she is, saying:

I literally ask my kids every night when we’re snuggling and I put them in bed, I’m like, ‘Are you happy? And if you’re not, like, what could make you happier?’ Sometimes they’ll say, especially in the past two years, and it kills me — and I want them to be honest, so I don’t ever say, ‘Oh God, don’t tell me that,’ you know? — but a lot of times, it would be like, ‘I’m just really sad. I wish Mommy and Daddy were in the same house.’ And they’re really honest about it. I’m raising that kind of individual. I want you to be honest with me.

As much as it might hurt for a parent to bear witness to their child’s feelings of sadness and conflict, it’s no doubt a healthier situation for them to be open and straightforward about what’s bothering them, without avoiding the issue, and without lying about being bothered in the first place. Even while young, discarded feelings of negativity can grow wildly if left unaddressed, but Clarkson intends to avoid such a turnout with her own offspring. At least as long as they’re in her custody

Listening can sometimes be the most important job a parent can have, and Kelly Clarkson can personally relate to the mindstate that her kids are potentially tethered to, as her parents also split when she was younger. In her words:

And I just sit there, and I’m like, ‘I get it. I’m from a divorced family as well. IU get it. That sucks. But we’re gonna work it out, and you are so loved by both of us.’ And I go through this conversation with them. I think communicating with them… and not treating them like a child [works]. They’re not small feelings. Those are huge feelings, those are huge emotions. So I think that’s my thing. It’s super simple.

The talk show host, who took over a key daytime time slot following the end of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has spoken in the past about the toxic behavior she witnessed from her father. She spent many years working to distance herself from that world, and remained estranged from him at the time of his death in 2018. It doesn't seem like her working relationship with Blackstock is a whole lot healther than that one, but she knows how important it is to keep the peace with him for the sake of their youngins. 

Earlier in the podcast episode, after Clarkson pegged her emotional state as being at a maxed-out 11, Angie Martinez asked what the key, number one way was for the Grammy winner to keep herself in that mental zone. According to Clarkson:

You do not have to attend every argument that comes your way. My therapist is like, ‘You don’t have to attend every time someone invites you to an argument.’ . . . In work or in personal life, you know, divorce is really hard. Even though you love each other intensely for a moment, things get real crazy in divorce. And kind of the worst versions of yourself can kind of come out of people sometimes. And it’s like, no one’s gonna win. So it’s just like, ‘No I’m not gonna attend this one, so I’m gonna let that go.

For an entertainer with one job that basically requires her to get into silly arguments with Blake Shelton, it's vaguely ironic for the above to be something of a mantra at this point in her life. To that end, though, having faux tiffs with genuine friends is always going to be a lot easier to handle than down-and-out rows with an ex-spouse.  So here's hoping time is also helping to heal all wounds in the Clarkson household, as well as some good ol' country crooning from the celeb herself. 

Check Kelly Clarkson out every weekday morning hosting her eponymous talk show, and she'll be aiming to win out on The Voice for Blake Shelton's final season every Monday and Tuesday night on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET. Head to our 2023 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are popping up soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.