Kelly Clarkson's been speaking openly about her divorce from her husband of almost seven years — but she also wants her kids to have the privacy they deserve.
The "American Idol" winner talked with TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb on Monday about how she's navigating the publicity around the split and also parenting her two children: River Rose, 6, and Remington, 4. To make matters more challenging, Clarkson's ex, Brandon Blackstock, has two older kids from a previous marriage.
"You can ask anyone that's gone through divorce," the "Stronger" singer told Hoda. "I don't think anyone expects it. You see yourself growing old with someone and then life has a different path, and it's so hard on everyone. You know me, I'm really open. ... I try to be open and share because we all go through things so we can help each other not feel alone."
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"But at the same time, we have four kids total together," she continued. "So that's a lot of hearts involved, and you just have to be really careful. It's just a tricky thing to navigate. It's hard on everyone involved."
"We're in the public eye, so that's hard, too — to try to be truthful but also keep your privacy for not just myself but others," she added.
Clarkson, 38, filed for divorce from Blackstock in June, citing “irreconcilable differences,” and requested joint custody of their children, but she also recognizes that 2020 has been a hard year for many people.
"Going through it, it's just a really difficult thing. ... I feel like everyone's 2020 is that, especially during COVID," she said. "It's just a rollercoaster of emotions. A lot of people have been going through hard times, whether it's relationships or financially. ... 2020 has been really hard on a lot of us, or really every human."
"I'm lucky, I have an outlet. I have music," she quipped. "I have the greatest therapist in the world."
Clarkson also told Hoda and Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY's fourth hour Monday that this is the first time she's gone through such a difficult, personal experience since becoming famous.
"It’s weird because I’m such an open person, and a lot of the ways how I heal is talking with people and everyone’s experiences," she explained. "You don’t feel so alone. You feel like, ‘OK so this is normal,’ or ‘this isn’t.’ It’s just, I’ve never really been through something like this in the public eye, so that’s new and different."
But both she and Blackstock watched their parents get divorced, which has made the terrain more familiar.
"It’s a hard thing with kids, and unfortunately, my husband and I have both been through divorces with our families, so we get it, as being kids of those families and products of that," she told Hoda and Jenna. "Everyone is just trying to do the best you can in this crappy scenario."
She also said she feels “fortunate” that she has her music to express “the good, the bad, the sad, the ugly, all of it. ... I’m still able to talk about it without talking about it.”
Still, this year has had plenty of positive moments for the hit-maker, including her Emmy win for outstanding entertainment talk show host for "The Kelly Clarkson Show." While she's excited about the success after her show's first season, she didn't know she won, at least not right away.
"I've been really one-on-one with my kids a lot," she recalled to Hoda about the Emmy Awards. "I honestly forgot it was on. I was doing Legos with my kids. Usually you're at the award shows, so I'm not usually watching them so I just forgot.
"My executive producer called me and was like, 'You're the best host,' and I was like, 'That's so nice.' I thought she was just being nice because she's really kind. ... and I've had a rough go the last couple months," she continued. "Then I was kind of bummed that I missed it. ... My kids were jumping up and down. ... They had no idea why they were screaming, but they were really excited."
Clarkson previously opened up about her divorce on Sunday TODAY.
"I mean, it's no secret," she told host Willie Geist. "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."