Kelly Clarkson wasn't pulling any punches during a virtual interview on Sunday Today with Willie Geist last month. Talking from her home office, the typically good-humored singer was somber as she discussed her shocking split from her husband of nearly seven years, Brandon Blackstock.
"I mean, it's no secret, my life has been a little bit of a dumpster," said Kelly, who filed for divorce in June. "I don't know how people go through that without having some kind of outlet," she added, "because it is the worst thing ever for everyone involved."
After a tough few months, a source tells OK! the star is ready to open up about what she's been through.
"She's breaking her silence," says the source. "She wants to talk about everything." According to the source, Clarkson, 38, who shares daughter River, 6, and 4-year-old son Remington with the 43-year-old music manager, has been talking to friends about her ill-fated marriage, and how she ultimately managed to pull herself back from the brink.
"The divorce is the hardest thing Kelly's ever done," the source adds, "but she's finally starting to look forward to the future."
When Clarkson met Blackstock in 2011 — after being single for six years — she thought she'd found her happily ever after. The American Idol winner called their relationship her greatest accomplishment, "especially for me because I just didn't think it would happen," she said.
Clarkson and Blackstock tied the knot in 2013, but issues plagued the couple, including rumors that Blackstock (who is also father to Savannah, 18, and Seth, 13, from his first marriage) had a wandering eye.
"When Kelly gained weight after having Remington, she started hearing whispers that Brandon was hitting up bars and partying with other women," says the source. "Then she remembered all those sordid stories of how he cheated on his first wife."
In the spring, while on lockdown at their Montana ranch, things went from bad to worse. "They both had a lot of pent-up anger and the hostility just grew," reveals the source, adding that the kids witnessed some blow-out fights. "Kelly felt it wasn't right for them to see their parents at each other's throats all the time, so she packed her bags and went back to L.A."
She was ready for some major blowback from Blackstock. "Kelly braced herself for an ugly divorce," says the source, noting that she was furious when he made it known he wanted half of her $45 million fortune. "The word is she ultimately agreed to a lump sum along with cash from the sales of two of their mansions. She looks at it as housecleaning."
The emotional toll was much greater than the financial one. "Kelly knew she'd hit rock bottom when she collapsed in a crying heap alone in her room," says the source. "It was the mother of all meltdowns. She thought she couldn't take another day."
Clarkson told pals she felt as if she'd let everyone down when she left Blackstock. "She saw divorce as a failure," says the source. "Everyone thought Kelly and Brandon's relationship was picture-perfect, but it wasn't, and the guilt was tremendous." So she turned to therapy.
"Kelly said she knew she needed help," explains the source, adding that she's been doing daily Zoom sessions with her therapist. Now, the Grammy winner is no longer so hard on herself.
"Kelly's embracing life as a working single mom," adds the source, noting that she's juggling multiple projects while raising River and Remington. "She loves her career, but she makes sure to be home to cook dinner and tuck the kids in at night."
Thanks to therapy and some much-needed introspection, Clarkson has a new perspective on all that's happened.
"She was miserable in the marriage and has come to realize that leaving was necessary," shares the source. "She's saying she's learned a lot about herself." In classic Clarkson form, she's channeling all of her angst into her music. "She poured her heart and soul into her new album," dishes the source, pointing out that the songstress has called it her "most personal" yet.
"She's opening up because she wants to inspire others with her story and hopes to help folks in distress," continues the source. "Things were pretty bleak for a while, but she's got her life back."
She's even dipping her feet into the dating pool! "There are a couple of guys she's interested in, and it feels nice to be the center of attention again," says the source. "It's just some texting and Zoom chats, but she's having fun."
She's also doing yoga and has already lost some weight. "She's feeling like herself again and doing better than she has in years," says the source. "She sees the light at the end of the tunnel."