Blake Shelton Once Said He Put His First Divorce “Up There” With His Brother Richie’s Death: “Tough, Tough Call to Make”

Blake Shelton and Kaynette Williams
Blake Shelton once said in an interview that he put his first divorce from Kaynette Gern "up there" with his brother Richie's death. J.Sciulli/WireImage

Blake Shelton, who finalized his divorce from wife of four years, Miranda Lambert, on Monday, July 20, hours after they announced their breakup, once said in an interview that his split from his first wife, Kaynette Gern, was just as difficult as his brother Richie's death.

Shelton, now 39, was still married to Gern when he and Lambert first met in 2005 at CMT's 100 Greatest Duets Concert, where they delivered an electrifying duet. Last November in a detailed interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Shelton candidly discussed that initial spark with Lambert — and his subsequent divorce from Gern.

"It's hard to argue with what I'm looking at," Shelton told Norah O'Donnell of that duet. "I'm trying to play the guy card here like, 'By God, no' but I mean, that's pretty pathetic right there."

In a previous interview with VH1's Behind the Music in 2011, Shelton said the chemistry between him and his future wife was palpable, if not tangible that night. "I’ve never had that kind of experience with anybody," he recalled to VH1. "I was a married guy, you know? Standing up there and singing with somebody and going, ‘Man, this shouldn’t be happening.’ Looking back on that, I was falling in love with her, right there on stage."

Eventually, he and Lambert married in 2011, but O'Donnell brought up the fact that Shelton was still a married man when the country superstars first met.

"I was married," Shelton told 60 Minutes. "That was easily the toughest thing that I've, you know, been through. I put my divorce up there with my brother's death and that was a tough, tough call to make."

Shelton's big brother, Richie, was killed in a car accident in 1990, when the future country superstar was 14 years old. "I remember picking up the phone to call him a week after he was dead, to tell him something," Shelton recalled to CBS of the tragedy. "And it was like, you think about what I, you know, I was picking up the phone to call him, to tell him something I just saw on TV or, and it was like constantly a shock to me that he was dead… That's what my dad told me, too. He said, 'Look, you will never, ever get over this happening. You're just going to have to learn to get used to it.' He was absolutely right."

One way Shelton processed that grief was by penning a smash single, "Over You," in honor of his late brother. While Shelton personally couldn't bring himself to sing the tune, his now-ex-wife Lambert recorded the single in 2012. She also released an accompanying music video that features her processing the loss of someone special in her life.

The couple released a statement to Us Weekly on Monday, announcing their split. Several hours later, Us confirmed that they had divorced and divvied up their assets accordingly.

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