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Inside Kelly Clarkson's messy divorce – from breakdown of 'passionate' marriage to bitter fights over '$45m fortune'

WITH a difficult marriage split, bitter rows and months stuck inside due to the pandemic, it's been a particularly tough year for Kelly Clarkson.

And now the singer, 38, remains locked in a very messy divorce with her husband Brandon Blackstock, 43, in the run-up to Christmas.

Kelly filed for divorce in June, citing "irreconcilable differences", before winning primary custody of their kids River Rose, six, and son Remington Alexander, four, recently.

Now she's sparked concern from some fans who questioned if she was "drunk" on The Voice on Monday night, just hours after it was reported her ex "demanded $5.2MILLION a year in spousal support".

It follows a year that Kelly has branded a "dumpster", with her even choosing to spend her birthday alone in Covid times.

Here we look inside her previously loved-up marriage and how it sadly broke down…

Overcoming difficult past and 'dark time' post-American Idol

Kelly has insisted she's keen to keep her divorce as private as possible for the sake of her kids – as both her and her ex have come from divorced families, so know how it feels.

She called 2020 "a dumpster fire" on her show in September and said: "What I'm dealing with is hard because it involves more than just my heart. It involves a lot of little hearts.

"You know, we have four kids and divorce is never easy, and we're both from divorced families, so we know the best thing here is to protect our children and their little hearts."

Kelly's parents divorced when she was a child and she's been open in the past about her troubled relationship with her estranged father, Stephen, who died in 2019.

The Grammy winner said she had not had any communication with her dad in years due to their "unhealthy relationship" and went deeper into the struggles during her 2015 hit, Piece by Piece.

Speaking about her emotional reaction when singing the tune, she told Forbes it reminds her of "the moments that I really did try and make it work with my father and life and just get completely let down".

Kelly's hit song Because Of You was reportedly inspired by the painful time too.

The singer has also been open about her struggles with fame after winning American Idol in 2002 – as well as suffering "dark times" amid a battle with her weight.

She told Attitude magazine: "When I was really skinny, I wanted to kill myself. I was miserable, like inside and out, for four years of my life."

She turned a corner around the time of her third album, however, and later clarified her comments.

“Just to clear something up. I wasn’t ever miserable because I had to be thin. I said I was miserable & as a result I became thin,” she tweeted.

“I’ve never contemplated suicide because of my weight. I said people had no idea I was unhappy oddly enough because I appeared healthy,” the singer added.

Loved-up marriage and VERY active sex life

Kelly's manager, Narvel Blackstock, first introduced her to his son Brandon in 2006, but he was married at the time so the pair became good friends.

However, after he split from his former wife, everything changed.

They stepped out as a couple together for the first time in 2012 and Kelly told Us Weekly: "I love that I'm in a relationship right now… I want a life… The past five years or so I've found my groove and my balance."

And speaking to Redbook in 2017, Kelly said of her partner: "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."

The pair married in 2013 and went on to welcome their two kids together – and the spark remained well and truly alight throughout, with Kelly previously confessing they'd have sex most nights.

While playing Ask Me Anything in a Kelly Clarkson Show digital exclusive last year, she was asked about the last thing she does before going to bed each evening.

The singer chuckled to herself before answering: “I was single for many years, so…I have children and how one makes children is generally what I do before bed."

'You have to work at it'

While their marriage went from strength to strength, Kelly has admitted they constantly had to work at it throughout – and she told her fans during a Facebook livestream in November 2018 that it was far from perfect.

“I don’t think it’s a score. I think it’s keeping a tally of how many discussions you’ve had, I think it’s that.

“My husband feels like he constantly needs to talk about the same thing; I feel like the same thing with him.

“There’s always things you’re working on. If I sat here and told you that everything was perfect, that’d be a damn lie in anybody’s relationship."

“But you have to work at it,” she candidly confessed.

Spending her birthday alone amid pandemic

Meanwhile, earlier this year the singer confessed she ditched her children and husband to spend her 38th birthday in April completely alone, while speaking on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

She said: "I looked at my husband because it was a rough week of work and non-stop everything, and I said: 'I don't want to cook one damn meal, I don't want to clean one article of clothing, I don't want to do anything'."

She continued: "So it's like for my birthday, I literally asked to be left alone.

“Which is funny because we're all in isolation, but I'm not in isolation because I'm constantly surrounded by people.

"I was alone and I enjoyed it. I did nothing but eat stuff that made me gain ten pounds and I watched whatever I was watching, I don’t even remember.”

Just one week before her solo celebration, Kelly told The Today Show that times have been “depressing” lately.

She said of homeschooling during the pandemic: “In all seriousness, it is funny with the kids and it is hard doing the teaching and all those kinds of things.

“But it can be depressing, this kind of isolation. It can be a little dark for everyone and there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

And the TV personality brought up her need for alone time once again when talking about Brandon’s busy schedule to People.

"He has his own office. I have my own office. And he's always on the phone … he's always working," she said.

It can be depressing, this kind of isolation. It can be a little dark for everyone and there’s a lot of uncertainty.

“When we vacation, 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'."

Divorce and bitter legal fights over '$45m fortune'

While Kelly's revelation that she'd wanted alone time on her birthday had surprised some fans, her divorce announcement just months later – after seven years of marriage – came as a huge shock.

And days later, The Sun revealed how she was keen to ensure her prenup was enforced, after she is believed to have amassed an eye-watering $45million (£33.7m) from album sales, TV work and lucrative deals.

While speaking with ET in October, Kelly admitted it’s been really hard dealing with the aftermath of her divorce because splitting is "just a really s**ty thing" – but is happy everything’s out in the open.

She also recently won primary custody of her children as part of the divorce.

A court document read: "The Court finds that under the circumstances present in this case, the interest in providing stability and continuity for the minor children weighs in favor of Petitioner having primary custody."

The doc also noted that "the level of conflict between the parents has increased. The parties have a difficult time co-parenting due to issues of trust between them".

According to the document, they will share joint physical and legal custody, but Kelly will have primary physical custody in Los Angeles.

While she has put one court issue behind her, she is also in the middle of another as Brandon's father's company has sued her for $1.4million.

They claimed she hadn't paid the full commission this year for her work on The Voice and The Kelly Clarkson Show.

And most recently a source told People that Brandon is seeking $436,000 in monthly spousal and child support.

The source is quoted as saying: "Brandon's been equally unreasonable in his requests for child and spousal support, as well as attorney fees.

"Kelly's offered to pay for all the kids' expenses, but Brandon seems to think he is entitled to and needs $301K in spousal support and $135K in child support per month."

If Bandon's request is approved, he'd receive more than $5.2million per year.

"Additionally, he's already asked for $2m for attorney fees when he's the one driving up the cost of the divorce with seven attorneys just representing him alone," the source added.

Both of their reps didn't answer People's request for comments.

Finding therapy in music after 'dumpster' year

Kelly recently got candid about her divorce on Sunday Today with Willie Geist, claiming that her life was a "dumpster".

The Miss Independent singer said: "I mean, it's no secret. My life has been a little bit of a dumpster.

“Personally, it's been a little hard the last couple months."

"I've been talking to friends that have been through divorce… I don't know how people go through that without having some kind of outlet because it is the worst thing ever for everyone involved,” she added.

However, she has found music particularly therapeutic throughout, and said her next album is likely to be one of her most personal yet.

"The whole record is basically every emotion you experience from the beginning of a relationship to the end of what it is now or where it is now. It’s been very therapeutic for me. It’s very honest," she said.

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