“She has a great coparenting relationship with Brendan, but things haven’t always been easy in terms of their personal relationship,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly of the “Miss Independent” songstress, 41. “However, they’ve come a long way and are handling things with their kids really well.”
Clarkson married Blackstock, 46, in 2013, later welcoming daughter River Rose, 8, and son Remington, 7, in 2014 and 2016, respectively. Us ultimately confirmed in June 2020 that the former American Idol champ had filed for divorce from Blackstock — who also shares two children from a previous relationship — after seven years of marriage. The proceedings were finalized two years later in March 2022 after the now-exes went toe-to-toe over joint assets, including Clarkson’s Montana residence that Blackstock lived in, and custody of River and Remington.
The Kelly Clarkson Show host eventually agreed to pay the music manager a one-time sum of $1.3 million plus a $115,000 monthly spousal support until January 2024, according to court documents obtained by Us at the time. Additionally, Clarkson was awarded primary custody of their two minor children with Blackstock receiving monthly visitations.
The “Breakaway” singer later revealed on the “Angie Martinez IRL” podcast last month that River and Remington were “really sad” about their parents’ separation.
“I literally ask my kids every night when we’re snuggling, ‘Are you happy? And if you’re not, what could make you happier?’” Clarkson recalled in March. “Sometimes they’ll say — especially the past two years — a lot of it — and it kills me — and I want them to be honest, so I don’t ever say, ‘Oh God, don’t tell me that.’ But a lot of times it would be like, ‘You know, I’m just really sad. I wish Mommy and Daddy were in the same house.’ And they’re really honest about it. And I’m raising that kind of individual.”
She continued at the time: “I just sit there and I’m like, ‘I get it. I’m from a divorced family as well. I get it. That sucks. But we’re going to work it out. And you are so loved by both of us.’ I think communicating with them and not treating them — not treating them like an adult, because they’re not — but not treating them like a child. They’re not small feelings. Those are huge feelings, and those are huge emotions.”
Clarkson, for her part, channeled her post-divorce feelings on a brand new LP.
“It’s called Chemistry because I was trying to find a word — also, it might be one of the songs on the album — that really described the whole thing,” the Voice coach said in a social media video earlier this month. “I didn’t want everybody to think I was just coming out with some ‘I’m angry,’ ‘I’m sad’ — just one or two emotions. This album is definitely the arc of an entire relationship. A whole relationship shouldn’t be brought down to just one thing. So there’s the good, the bad and the ugly kinda thing going on in it.”
Clarkson’s first tracks from the record — “Mine” and “Me” — dropped on April 14, with several pointed lyrics about breakups.
“I don’t need somebody to hold me / Don’t need somebody to love me / Don’t need somebody to pick these pieces up / I put together my broken / Let go of the pain I’ve been holdin’ / Don’t need to need somebody / When I got me,” she sings on “Me.”
While Chemistry doesn’t have a release date yet, the source tells Us that recording new music has been “very cathartic” for Clarkson.
“Kelly’s music has always been her passion, but it’s also been very cathartic for her no matter what she’s going through,” the insider adds. “After a very public divorce, she felt like she owed it to her fans to let them know what she had been through, good or bad, so she’s really excited for fans to hear her album.”
With reporting by Sarah Jones