Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock’s love story has come to an end.
On June 4, the singer, 38, filed for divorce from the music manager, 43, in Los Angeles, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.
The couple, who wed in October 2013, share two kids: daughter River Rose, who turns 6 on Friday, and son Remington Alexander, 4. Blackstock is also father to son Seth, 13, and daughter Savannah, 18, from his previous marriage to Melissa Ashworth.
Prior to filing for divorce, Clarkson had spent time social distancing with Blackstock and their children amid the coronavirus pandemic at their Montana ranch, even filming remote episodes of her talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show there.
“It’s a really beautiful ranch, and it’s a nice getaway for our family,” she said of their months-long retreat. “It’s something Brandon and I have dreamed about since we were both kids. This is what we would call home.”
In May, Clarkson called Blackstock her “partner in crime” during a virtual press conference with her fellow 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,” Clarkson 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.”
For Clarkson’s 38th birthday in late April, Blackstock and their children made a special video for her. “Happy birthday baby. I love you more than you’ll ever know,” Blackstock said in the footage, which also starred sons Remy and Seth as well as daughter River.
Earlier that month, Clarkson put her Los Angeles home on the market for nearly $10 million (it has since been removed). Their family had been living full-time in L.A. after they relocated from Tennessee so Clarkson could film her NBC daytime program, which Blackstock serves as an executive producer on.
Throughout their marriage, Clarkson has been open about her and Blackstock’s romance, specifically their sex life. The star previously revealed that she 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, honesty, sexually attracted to anybody before him,” Clarkson confessed during a private show for SiriusXM listeners in 2017. “And I’m not downing my exes. You know, everybody’s different. But there was something about him.”
“I honestly thought I was asexual — I’d never been turned on like that in my whole life,” she added. “I was like, ‘Oh that’s that feeling… okay! That’s what they were talking about in Waiting to Exhale.’ I just got it. I just didn’t have a clue.”
In 2016, she said that people in her Burleson, Texas, hometown thought she was “gay” when she “wasn’t married with kids” by 30.
“I was like, ‘That’s kind of insulting to the gay community!’” she said. “But, especially in this day and age, I had a very high bar.”
“I have an awesome life, and I can hold this down on my own. I learned that from my mother. She depended a lot, financially, on a man,” she said, adding of Blackstock: “I don’t depend on him, and he doesn’t depend on me. We made our own way in our own right, and I think that’s what really helps, too.”
Clarkson and Blackstock first met at a rehearsal for the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2006, where Clarkson was performing a duet with Rascal Flatts on their tune “What Hurts the Most.” Blackstock was the country group’s tour manager at the time.
“My guitar player’s wife Ashley was my date for that night, and we had just both been in crap relationships,” Clarkson explained during the 2017 SiriusXM show. “Sometimes it sucks dating because it’s so many wrong ones until you get the right one. And we were like, ‘Okay, 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.’”
“Literally, I’m not joking, he walked past us at that time,” Clarkson continued. “And he walked by, I was like, ready to take it all off. I just felt something.”
Despite her strong feelings, Clarkson said she “didn’t even talk to” Blackstock, who was still married to Ashworth at the time.
It wasn’t until six years later that Clarkson and Blackstock were brought back together at the 2012 Super Bowl, where Clarkson sang the national anthem and Blackstock’s client Blake Shelton sang “America the Beautiful” with his now ex-wife Miranda Lambert.
“I was so nervous,” Clarkson said. “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. I wanted him to be like, ‘Damn.’ It had nothing to do with the Super Bowl!”
“We didn’t even know each other, but he had walked past me once and there was a moment in my crazy head,” she added. “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.’”
She remained coy on what exactly she said that got Blackstock interested (“It involved alcohol … you get really bold when you’re drunk”). But looking back on it all, Clarkson said she knew what she had found was unique.
“It’s a hard thing to find that feeling,’ she said. “I always tell [Savannah], ‘Wait it out. Wait until you get those goosebumps.’ Because if it’s not, it’s not worth it.”
Clarkson had her first date with Blackstock on Feb. 11, 2012, the 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 in 2013. “I was like ‘This is a bad omen.’”
Still, Clarkson and Blackstock went on to get engaged 10 months later. “I’M ENGAGED!!!!!” Clarkson wrote on Twitter at the time. “I wanted y’all to know!! Happiest night of my life last night! I am so lucky and am with the greatest man ever.”
A year after welcoming their daughter River in 2014, Clarkson was inspired to write her hit “Piece By Piece,” the lyrics of which compare Blackstock to her own father, who abandoned her when she was a kid.
“I had [my daughter] River, and even from holding her the first day, I was like, how could anyone walk away from that?” Clarkson told Glamour. “Then I started thinking that my husband is such a great father. He’s not an audience guy — he is onstage doing the work with me. He changes diapers, he stays up, and if I’ve had a late night, he’ll wake up with her in the morning. We’re definite partners, and I felt so lucky.”
In her 2015 PEOPLE cover, Clarkson said her best friend had always told her: “You just want to create the family you never had.”
“I might be doing that,” she said. “In defense of my family, it happens. People fall out of love, and people go separate ways. People are human. I’ve accomplished a lot, but I guess the biggest success I want is that whenever I die people will say, ‘She was so successful as a mother and as a wife.’ That’s kind of a big goal.”
After they had their son Remington, Clarkson said she and Blackstock got “fixed” in their own ways.
“I was literally pregnant with Remi, and I was like, ‘You are getting fixed. This will never happen to me again,’” Clarkson said on The Jenny McCarthy Show. “If something happens, it’s a miracle of God. I literally told my OBGYN on the table while open, ‘If I get pregnant again, I will find you!’”
Clarkson later said, “Those tubes are gone! … That’s blasphemy. We don’t even speak of it. We’re both fixed in our own ways, yet still we’ll probably get pregnant again somehow.”
In 2017, Clarkson told Redbook that she and Blackstock were “a lot more active than other couples” in regards to their sex life.
“I’m a person who loves change,” she said. “He loves spontaneity. Having a set time or place [to have sex] would be boring to us.”
During the same interview, Clarkson said that she was “looking for a lover” when she met Blackstock.
“I had never found someone I was truly passionate about, who I wanted to stay in bed with all day,” she said. “The fact that I did, well … I was going to latch on and take advantage of that.”
When Clarkson joined The Voice in 2018, she told PEOPLE that her husband was “Switzerland” when it came to rooting for her or his client, Shelton, to win.
“I always do say though that at least I put out — so unless he’s doing something I don’t know about, I should win!” she joked.
In August 2019, Clarkson opened up in PEOPLE’s cover story about how Blackstock sold her on the idea of doing 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.”
At the time, Clarkson also revealed what it was like to work so closely to 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, ‘Okay cool I was wrong. That was me,'” she said.
In the same interview, Clarkson went on to discuss 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.'”