Kelly Clarkson and her ex-husband Brandon Blackstock were married for nearly seven years before splitting in June 2020.
The former couple first met at a rehearsal for the Academy of Country Music Awards in May 2006. Clarkson and Blackstock, son of Narvel Blackstock and stepson of Reba McEntire, got engaged in December 2012 and wed the following October. They welcomed two children during their marriage: daughter River Rose and son Remington Alexander. (Blackstock is also father to son Seth and daughter Savannah from his previous marriage to Melissa Ashworth.)
The American Idol winner filed for divorce from the music manager in 2020, which was finalized two years later.
From their first meeting to their split, here’s everything to know about Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock’s relationship.
May 2006: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock meet
Clarkson and Blackstock first met in May 2006 at a rehearsal for the Academy of Country Music Awards.
“I’ve only had three other boyfriends that I dated, and not really seriously,” Clarkson told PEOPLE in 2013. “This guy walks by, making everybody laugh. I said, ‘I’m gonna end up with him. I know it.’ ”
Clarkson shared even more details of their first meeting in November 2017, saying, “My guitar player’s wife Ashley was my date for that night and we had just both been in crap relationships.”
She continued, “Sometimes it sucks dating because it’s so many wrong ones until you get the right one. And we were like, ‘OK, what we’ve been doing wrong here’ — because it was a country music event and we’re both southern girls — we were like, ‘We’ve been dating skinny jeans and we need Wranglers.’ ”
Clarkson added, “Literally, I’m not joking, he walked past us at that time. And he walked by, I was ready to take it all off. I just felt something.”
At the time, however, Blackstock was married to then-wife Melissa Ashworth, though they split in 2012.
February 5, 2012: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock reconnect at the Super Bowl
Although they met years before, Clarkson and Blackstock didn’t officially start dating until 2012. Blackstock’s father, Narvel, was Clarkson’s manager at the time.
Clarkson performed the national anthem at the big game, and Blake Shelton, whom Blackstock managed, was singing “America the Beautiful” alongside his now ex-wife Miranda Lambert.
“I was so nervous because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to suck for the millions of people watching, I didn’t want to suck because I was trying to impress a guy,” Clarkson joked to SiriusXM in 2017. “I wanted him to be like, ‘Damn.’ It had nothing to do with the Super Bowl!”
The American Idol alum added: “We didn’t even know each other, but he had walked past me once and there was a moment in my crazy head. He thought I hated him, too. When I finally confessed that, ‘I really dig you,’ he was so shocked because he thought I hated him. I hadn’t let on that I liked him. Inside I was like, ‘Ask me out!’ but outside I was like, ‘I love being single and coming home every night alone. It’s awesome.’ ”
February 11, 2012: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock go on their first date
In 2013, Clarkson recalled that she and Blackstock had their first date on Feb. 11, 2012 — the same day Clarkson’s idol Whitney Houston died.
“This is the funniest/worst thing ever: One of my superhero idols is Whitney Houston, and the day she died was our first date,” Clarkson said. “I was like, ‘This is a bad omen.’ ”
December 14, 2012: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock get engaged
Clarkson and Blackstock got engaged in December 2012, and the talk show host shared the news on Twitter.
“I’M ENGAGED!!!!!” she wrote. “I wanted y’all to know!! Happiest night of my life last night! I am so lucky and am with the greatest man ever.”
Clarkson later shared details about the proposal with PEOPLE. The couple was relaxing at their Nashville home that evening, and Clarkson recalled, “Out of nowhere I just said, ‘Thanks for being an awesome guy.’ I’ve never been loved properly by a man, and I was just like, ‘I thank you so much for that.’ ”
Shortly after, Blackstock proposed. “Not a damn clue!” she said. “If I did, I would have worn something besides Uggs and a sweatshirt with no bra.”
October 20, 2013: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock get married
The couple tied the knot on Oct. 20, 2013.
Clarkson tweeted, “I’m officially Mrs. Blackstock 🙂 We got married yesterday at Blackberry Farms in TN, the most beautiful place ever!”
November 19, 2013: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock reveal they’re expecting their first baby
The singer shared the news that she and Blackstock were expecting their first child in November 2013. Clarkson said that she was predicting her first baby would be a girl.
“I’m totally gonna have a girl. I’m manifesting it! And when I have a girl, you’re gonna be like, ‘That chick knew it!’ ” she said at the time.
And Clarkson was right: In January 2014, she announced that they were expecting a girl. “We just found out we’re having a girl officially!” she tweeted. “I knew it! Only a girl could cause this much drama with all this vomiting ha!”
June 12, 2014: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock welcome their first baby
Clarkson and Blackstock welcomed their daughter, River Rose, on June 12, 2014.
“Our baby girl River Rose Blackstock arrived on June 12th!” Clarkson tweeted. “Thank you everyone for all of your well wishes! Brandon and I are on cloud 9!!”
Clarkson later shared more about her daughter’s independent personality. “She will run a company one day because there’s no way she’s gonna work for anyone,” Clarkson told PEOPLE in 2018. “She does not heed advice very well. She’s just very ballsy, which is awesome.”
The singer added: “I love that [River] is very bold, and she’s progressive for 3. She watches Jurassic Park and loves it, and Harry Potter … it doesn’t affect her and she’s just very grown up and very boss.”
August 19, 2015: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock reveal they’re expecting their second baby
Clarkson announced she was pregnant with her second child during a performance in Los Angeles. She got emotional while introducing her song “Piece by Piece” and addressed the audience directly.
“I was not planning on announcing this, but … I’m totally pregnant. I’m having a really hard time,” she said.
“I’m gonna nail the s— out of this song. That was not how I wanted to announce that … I hate this song right now,” she joked while wiping away tears. “My makeup artist is backstage hating me right now. I just don’t want you to think I’m on pills or drunk.”
After finishing the song, she added, “I’d like to apologize to my husband. That was not planned. I just didn’t want you to think I was crazy or something. Honestly, I’m just so hormonal today. … I haven’t vomited yet. That is a freakin’ win, y’all.”
April 12, 2016: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock welcome their second baby
On April 12, 2016, Clarkson and Blackstock welcomed their son, Remington Alexander. “Meet Remy, our newest [addition] to the family!” the singer tweeted.
Clarkson also shared several black-and-white photos of Remington on Instagram, including one of her cradling him and another of Blackstock holding him.
November 3, 2017: Kelly Clarkson opens up about her attraction to Brandon Blackstock
Clarkson revealed in an interview with SiriusXM in November 2017 that she had never felt a strong sexual attraction to anyone before she met Blackstock.
“This isn’t a downer to anybody I dated before him, but I’m just going to be real: I never felt like, honestly, sexually attracted to anybody before him,” Clarkson said. “And I’m not downing my exes. You know, everybody’s different. But there was something about him.”
The singer added: “I honestly thought I was asexual — I’d never been turned on like that in my whole life. I was like, ‘Oh that’s that feeling … OK! That’s what they were talking about in Waiting to Exhale.’ I just got it. I just didn’t have a clue.”
November 2017: Kelly Clarkson opens up about her sex life with Brandon Blackstock
Later that month, Clarkson shared details about her and Blackstock’s relationship with Redbook in November 2017.
“To keep it family appropriate, let’s say we’re just a lot more [sexually] active than other couples,” she shared. “I’m a person who loves change. He loves spontaneity. Having a set time or place [to have sex] would be boring to us.”
She continued, “When I met Brandon, I wasn’t looking for a friend. I have a lot of great friends! I was looking for a lover. I had never found someone I was truly passionate about, who I wanted to stay in bed with all day. The fact that I did, well … I was going to latch on and take advantage of that.”
August 2019: Brandon Blackstock encourages Kelly Clarkson to host her own show
In 2019, Clarkson told PEOPLE that Blackstock sold her on the idea of having her own talk show.
“My husband and I were actually talking a lot of pillow talk over months and months of time. Because we also lived in Nashville, so it was a big move for our family to move to L.A.,” she said. “We ended up moving our whole family out here. It was kind of a big decision for us, but it just seemed like a new adventure, honestly. My husband is a really good salesman on ideas. He’s just really good at pointing out things that maybe will push me out of my comfort zone, which is why we’re really great partners in life as well.”
Clarkson also revealed what it was like to work so closely with her spouse — or what she called “a lot of togetherness time.”
“What’s funny about Brandon and I is we have, well, the same temper, the same amount of like, ‘OK cool I was wrong. That was me,’ ” she said.
In the same interview, Clarkson discussed her and Blackstock’s dynamic as spouses and colleagues, both in and out of the office.
“Even the show here, he has his own office. I have my own office. And he’s always on the phone … he’s always working,” she said. “When we vacation — we just took our first family vacation and had a really good chunk of time because we knew things were about to be really busy. He goes off and does stuff with the kids, and then I’ll do something else with the other two. We do a really good job of being like, ‘I need some me time.’ ”
April 2020: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock quarantine in Montana
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarkson shared that she was social distancing with Blackstock and their children at their Montana ranch, where she also filmed remote episodes of The Kelly Clarkson Show.
“It’s a really beautiful ranch, and it’s a nice getaway for our family,” she said of their extended time there. “It’s something Brandon and I have dreamed about since we were both kids. This is what we would call home.”
In May 2020, Clarkson called Blackstock her “partner in crime” during a virtual press conference with her fellow The Voice coaches, saying she wouldn’t have been able to film in isolation without him.
“My husband is now a lighting technician, an audiovisual technician, a director and he’s also playing cowboy on our ranch,” she said. “He’s got his hands full. We both, definitely, have our hands full. It’s not just this job, it’s [my] TV show and making records. We’re all still making records. It’s a lot of new things happening for us, and we’re trying to get it done.”
June 4, 2020: Kelly Clarkson files for divorce from Brandon Blackstock
After nearly seven years of marriage, Clarkson filed for divorce on June 4, 2020, citing irreconcilable differences.
October 2020: Kelly Clarkson shares that her kids are her priority
In October 2020, Clarkson said that the well-being of her children was her priority.
“The thing that’s been kind of hard to navigate is I am an open book, but at some point, I’m a mama bear more than I am a person in the public eye,” she said. “So I care 100 percent more about my children than I do anything else on this planet.”
She added, “So that’s been the hard thing of, yes, I’m willing to share my experience and, yes, it is the worst. The past few months have been horribly sad. But at the same time, I have to think, ‘Hmmm, what I say has a domino effect in other people’s lives.’ ”
November 2020: Kelly Clarkson is awarded primary physical custody of her and Brandon Blackstock’s kids
In November 2020, Clarkson was granted primary physical custody of their children River and Remington. Court documents revealed at the time that “the level of conflict between the parents [had] increased” and that they had “a difficult time co-parenting due to issues of trust between them.”
A source close to the family told PEOPLE that Clarkson was “pleased” by the custody ruling and that her priority was to protect her children.
“As Kelly has said, her first priority in all of this is to take care of the kids and all the hearts that are involved in this divorce,” another source said. “It’s been a hard time for everyone, but Kelly’s pleased with the court’s ruling regarding custody.”
Blackstock sought $301,000 in spousal support and $135,000 in child support monthly. (A judge later ruled that Clarkson would pay $200,000 monthly in both spousal and child support.)
July 1, 2021: Kelly Clarkson requests to be declared legally divorced from Brandon Blackstock
In July 2021, Clarkson requested a judge declare her legally single, according to legal documents filed by the singer’s attorney.
Clarkson stated that despite the ongoing divorce, she and Blackstock “both deserve the opportunity to build a new life.”
August 2021: Kelly Clarkson is declared legally single
A judge signed off on the dissolution of Clarkson and Blackstock’s marriage in August 2021, and Clarkson was declared legally single.
“She is doing great and facing forward,” a source told PEOPLE at the time. “She’s enjoying the fact that she has the kids for the vast majority of the time and is enjoying time spent with them.”
January 20, 2022: Kelly Clarkson gives Brandon Blackstock 5 percent of their Montana ranch
The couple’s Montana ranch became a point of contention during their divorce proceedings. An L.A. county judge awarded Clarkson ownership of the property in October 2021 as it fell within their prenup. At the time, however, Blackstock was living at the home and claimed it was “marital property.”
After losing a legal fight to evict Blackstock from the ranch in December, court documents from January 2022 revealed that Clarkson agreed to give Blackstock 5.12% of their Montana ranch, which represented $908,800 of its total $17,750,000 value.
March 2022: Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock finalize their divorce
Nearly two years after Clarkson filed for divorce from Blackstock, the divorce was finalized in March 2022. Per court documents, Clarkson was ordered to pay Blackstock a massive one-time payment of just over $1.3 million, as well as monthly spousal and child support payments which started on Feb. 1.
September 2022: Clarkson shares details on her post-divorce album
Clarkson shared with Variety that her divorce inspired plenty of new songs for her upcoming album.
“When my ex and I first separated, there were many emotions. It was hard,” she said. “My producer and I were laughing yesterday because I was like, ‘Remember that time we wrote, like, 25 songs in a week?’ A lot of those are the ones that are on the album.”
October 2022: Kelly Clarksons discusses learning how to “un-love” an ex
While speaking to Khloé Kardashian on an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, Clarkson opened up about life after divorce.
“It’s hard. I think it’s the most ridiculous thing sometimes when something doesn’t work out and you’re in a relationship and you’re so deeply in love — and people are like ‘Oh yeah, why can’t you [move on],” she told the reality star.
Clarkson continued, “I think I might always love that person, I don’t know if it goes away.”
March 13, 2023: Kelly Clarkson opens up about her and Brandon Blackstock’s decision to divorce
During an episode of Angie Martinez’s IRL podcast, Clarkson reflected on the decision to get a divorce from Blackstock.
“I think the thing about divorce — especially having it publicized, and people thinking they know the whole thing — the hardest part of that is, like, it wasn’t an overnight decision,” the singer said.
She added, “I wanted to make it beautiful. I wanted to make it awesome. I wanted to make it everything it possibly could be, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen.”
Clarkson also spoke about how her divorce has impacted her kids.
“I literally ask my kids every night when we’re snuggling up in the bed, ‘Are you happy? And if you’re not, what could make you happier?’ ” she shared. “A lot of times they’ll be like, ‘You know, I’m just really sad. I wish Mommy and Daddy were in the same house.’ ”
Clarkson added: “They’re really honest about it. I get it. I’m from a divorced family as well. It sucks.”
March 26, 2023: Kelly Clarkson reveals that new album Chemistry covers the “arc of an entire relationship”
Clarkson, who started working on the project shortly after her split from Blackstock, announced that her album Chemistry is “coming out soon,” despite some hesitation to release the vulnerable tracks.
“This album is definitely the arc of an entire relationship, and a whole relationship shouldn’t be just brought down to one thing. So, there’s the good, the bad, the ugly thing kinda going on in it,” she said in a video on Twitter.
Clarkson added: “Chemistry can be a really amazing, sexy, cool, fun thing, but it can also be very bad for you. I thought it was kinda the perfect title to describe the entire album. I’m nervous, but I’m excited about putting it out.”
April 6, 2023: Kelly Clarkson’s new track “Me” references an old love song written for Brandon Blackstock
In 2015, Clarkson wrote the song “Piece by Piece,” for Blackstock. She sang about how her then-husband “restored” her faith in love after her parent’s tumultuous divorce.
The songstress’ new track, “Me,” which she teased on Instagram, appears to reference the love song from nearly a decade ago.
“I don’t need somebody to hold me / Don’t need somebody to love me / Don’t need somebody to pick these pieces up,” sings Clarkson. “I put together my broken / Let go of the pain I’ve been holdin’ / Don’t need to need somebody / When I got me.”
June 13, 2023: Kelly Clarkson admits that her kids still hope she and Brandon Blackstock will reconcile
Clarkson spoke about not wanting to divorce Blackstock for the sake of their kids during an appearance on Glennon Doyle’s podcast We Can Do Hard Things. The singer explained that it can be hard for kids to watch their parents get divorced — but also difficult to grow up with their parents in an unhealthy marriage.
“Your kids will still have a hard time. It doesn’t matter if you stay, it doesn’t matter if you go, I am still having conversations [with my kids] three years later,” Clarkson said. “My kids just came back from my ex and any time there’s mention of maybe him being with somebody else…they are just really adamant about keeping that dream alive that we might still be together one day.”
June 22, 2023: Kelly Clarkson talks about singing “I Will Always Love You” after finalizing her divorce
During an interview with Andy Cohen, Clarkson revealed that she sang “I Will Always Love You” as a tribute to Dolly Parton at the 57th ACM Awards in March 2022 the day she received word that her divorce from Blackstock was finalized.
“I’m looking at Dolly Parton and I’m like, I had just gotten my text of like, ‘Hey, your divorce is final, like you’ve both signed,’ ” the singer explained. “Like, right before getting on a stage to sing ‘I Will Always Love You.’ I was like, ‘Screw you, universe.’ That’s the timing?”