Kelly Clarkson Says Her Divorce Felt ‘Freeing’ Despite Being ‘Incredibly Sad’

“I never experienced grief like that,” the singer revealed in an Apple Music interview.
Closeup photo of Kelly Clarkson smiling
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As a self-described “fixer” and someone who thinks “everything is salvageable,” Kelly Clarkson’s decision to leave her marriage was extremely difficult—but it was also ultimately freeing, she told Zane Lowe in a recent Apple Music interview.

The singer’s latest album, Chemistry (out June 23), follows the rollercoaster of her separation from music manager Brandon Blackstock. And the track “Lighthouse,” she told Lowe, recounts the moment the blinders lifted and she was forced to confront the couple’s fate—a feeling she said was bittersweet.

“The lighthouse is what we never got to,” she explained. “We just couldn’t get there…. We [were] never gonna get there. We were in the dark, lost at sea, treading water, couldn’t find each other, no matter how hard you swam.”

While writing the song, she realized that there was “no amount of hope” that she could “fix” the relationship. “It actually is freeing,” she continued. “It’s incredibly sad, and it’s a dark place—fetal position on the floor crying—and there’s so much loss with that, and I never experienced grief like that.”

Three years after she filed for divorce in 2020, Clarkson is grateful that she ultimately realized: “We’ve got to let each other go. This is not working. This is not going to pan out, and it's not working for either of us,” she said. “And then we have two little kids watching us. And you don’t want to set that example.”

In an interview with Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly on Today, Clarkson said she debated whether or not to release Chemistry, a title inspired by the concept of romantic intoxication, which can sometimes be a double-edged sword. “Chemistry—it can be an insanely amazing thing or it can be an insanely unhealthy thing,” she said.

She added that she doesn’t really think about Blackstock listening to the ultra-personal record. But they did have “a little text exchange“ about its release, she said. “I don’t even remember why or how it happened, but I was like, ‘Hey, I didn’t just diminish us down to one [thing],’” she recalled. “It’s all in there, the ride. The beauty is in there as well. Now, there’s a lot of pain, but that’s what happens, for all of us.”

As for the future of the Voice judge’s love life, she’s not actively searching for a new match—but she is looking forward to moving The Kelly Clarkson Show from Los Angeles to New York City to be closer to family.

“I’m not in a bitter place. I love love,” she told Kotb and Daly. “I’m not closed off, but I’m just not looking at all either.”