Why Kelly Clarkson Didn't Divorce Her Ex Brandon Blackstock Sooner

In June 2020, Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock after seven years of marriage. While divorce is rarely smooth, Clarkson and Blackstock's personal relationship overlapped with a professional partnership, adding another layer to the already complicated proceedings. In addition to fighting over custody of their children, River Rose and Remington, and the rights to their Montana ranch, the former couple also had a labor dispute to resolve, as Blackstock was Clarkson's manager throughout their marriage.

Unsurprisingly, Clarkson and Blackstock's divorce got messy. In November 2020, Clarkson was granted primary physical custody of their kids after a judge determined the parents' relationship could create an unhealthy environment for them. "The level of conflict between the parents has increased. The parties have a difficult time co-parenting due to issues of trust between them," the ruling read, according to People. The back and forth continued until March 2022, when the former couple reached an agreement.

The "American Idol" winner agreed to pay Blackstock a one-time sum of more than $1.3 million, in addition to upwards of $45,000 monthly in child support and $115,000 a month in spousal support, The Blast reported. Clarkson got the ranch, and the couple agreed to share custody of River Rose and Remington, though they would live with her in Los Angeles while Blackstock would temporarily pay her to stay in the Montana property. The marriage clearly wasn't working and hadn't been for a while. But Clarkson had her reasons for staying as long as she did.

Kelly Clarkson let her 'ego' cloud her judgment

Kelly Clarkson wanted to prove she could withstand whatever was thrown her way. She knew her marriage to Brandon Blackstock was beyond salvage, but she had difficulty admitting she couldn't fix it. So she stayed. "I'm like, 'I can do this. I can handle so much,'" she said on the "We Can Do Hard Things" podcast in June. "My ego is like, 'I can control my actions, I can control my reactions, I can do this, and I can reach this person, and I can get through.'"

Clarkson's main motivation for staying was River Rose and Remington. Going through the divorce of her parents when she was a 6-year-old left a deep mark, even serving as the inspiration for her hit "Because of You," written when she was 16. "Divorce isn't fun," she told the Mirror in 2012. "It affects relationships you get into when you are older." Clarkson's childhood experience was made more traumatic because her father left the picture, something she admitted to the podcast hosts.

Blackstock's own experiences as the son of divorced parents also contributed to it. "If I'm being completely honest, we don't want to do what we saw done," she said. Ultimately, Clarkson came to understand that staying in a marriage that was serving neither of the parents was doing the kids no good. "After, I'm a far better mother. Because I think when you're honest with yourself, you're able to be honest with others," she said.

Kelly Clarkson finds co-parenting with Brandon Blackstock challenging

Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock had to learn to navigate co-parenting amid a contentious divorce. Finding a balance between those extremes was no easy feat. "It's tough ... It's just a difficult thing because we're in different places," she said while interviewing Khloé Kardashian on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" in 2021. Clarkson admitted she struggled with her children being away from her, even if she knew Blackstock agreed with her on the most important aspects of parenting.

Clarkson told Kardashian she and Blackstock were both prioritizing the kids, which put them on the same page most of the time. But the process wasn't straightforward. The former couple wasn't even on speaking terms while most of that played out. "Kelly and Brandon don't communicate directly regarding the kids. They use a computer program that is popular between divorcing parents involved in contentious proceedings," a source told Us Weekly in August 2021. 

In addition to technology, Clarkson and Blackstock also used nannies and lawyers to reach each other. Fortunately, they have reportedly found their groove. "Things haven't always been easy in terms of their personal relationship. However, they've come a long way and are handling things with their kids really well," an insider told Us Weekly in April. River Rose and Remington still wish their parents were together, which is tough on Clarkson. "I get it. That sucks. But we're going to work it out," she said on the "Angie Martinez IRL" podcast in March.