Blake Shelton has enjoyed spending time with girlfriend Gwen Stefani's three sons during the couple's five years together, but the country music star also knows there's a serious side to his relationship with the boys.
Stefani, who shares sons Kingston, 14, Zuma, 11, and Apollo, 6, with ex-husband Gavin Rossdale, showed how much he means to them when she posted some joyful photos on Instagram of the kids with Shelton on Father's Day last month, thanking him "for helping me raise these boys!!"
While Shelton was gratified for the sentiment, he also understands that he is a role model for the boys.
"That’s a scary moment for me because it’s one thing for me to be with the kids all the time and be their buddy, but you do have to consider after awhile that they start to listen to things that you say and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that," he told Carson Daly and Hoda Kotb on TODAY Friday.
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The music stars and "Voice" coaches have been dating since 2015 and they've been together with the boys on Shelton's Oklahoma ranch during the pandemic.
"We've been doing things that I wished I had time to do for the last 20 years I guess," he said. "That's literally stupid things like pick blackberries. We grew a garden, grew several acres of sweet corn."
They also have had time to make some music together, releasing the quarantine-inspired duet "Happy Anywhere" on Friday, where it immediately went to No. 1 on the iTunes charts. They also gave TODAY fans a treat by performing it live on Friday as part of the 2020 Citi Music Series.
Their latest collaboration comes after the ballad “Nobody But You,” which they released in December, when it became Shelton’s 27th No. 1 hit on country radio.
The couple has also had some familiar guests out to the ranch. Carson and his family have spent some time hanging out as part of Shelton and Stefani's small quarantine bubble of families.
"I have so much fun when we go out to the ranch," Carson said. "We do nothing, it's so fun, it's just like an adventure. It's like a movie."
Shelton was asked if Carson, a California native, has any ranching skills.
"No, he doesn't actually," Shelton said. "At all."
It's no surprise that Shelton and Stefani have welcomed guests like Carson's family and collaborated on some new music given that Shelton said he is incapable of slowing down when he's at home.
"I just can't be still, especially when I'm home, there's just too much stuff that I want to do and I want to experience," he said.
The smashing success in the country genre has been a new experience for Stefani, who rose to fame as the lead singer of the pop punk bank No Doubt and then as a solo artist.
"I would say Gwen (is more surprised than me) because she just never imagined hearing herself on country radio, and she's been listening for the last five years I guess and has really fallen in love with country music," Shelton said.