“I have not been single for very much of my life,” McPhee, 32, said of her newly single status after splitting from her Scorpion costar Elyes Gabel last month after nearly two years of dating. “I don’t really understand how to date or how to be single. As soon as I know that I don’t really want to be in a relationship with somebody, I don’t really care to keep it going. I’m trying to date in a way that doesn’t lock me down.”
The American Idol alum revealed that she struggles with casual dating. “There is still a certain level of attachment with the prior relationship that I was in, so emotionally to be suddenly dating other people is not as easy,” she said of her romance with Gabel. “People say, ‘You just need to hook up with a bunch of people,’ but I am more of an in-love kind of person. I want to be in love with one person. I’m a one-man kind of gal and a kind of true romantic at heart.”
The actress and singer was previously married to Nick Cokas, but they hit a rough patch after she was photographed kissing her married Smash director, Michael Morris, during a brief break from Cokas in October 2013. The couple — Cokas was 19 years her senior — ultimately filed for divorce in May 2014 after six years of marriage.
“I feel pretty grounded,” McPhee continued of her life now. “I got married really young, and then divorced, and in the last couple of years, I felt like, ‘Wow, this is what I should have been doing when I was 20 instead of planning a wedding.’ But I don’t have any regrets. All of the choices I made I learned from in a really deep way. I have always been fortunate to have strong influences in my life who have forced me to look at my own choices and my own failures. I think we are all on that journey to have more awareness about who we are as a person and to grow and learn.”
The “Terrified” singer also opened up about her second-place finish on season 5 of American Idol in 2006 and whether that affected her confidence. “I love competition, but I always had this sense that that is not really life,” she said. “I definitely remember being disappointed, but it didn’t hurt my confidence. Those experiences strengthen your vision for yourself, and also that adrenaline that you get, you want more of it. You want more of the high from performing in front of audiences.”