Kelly Clarkson says she 'didn't see' divorce coming during her show's season premiere

Kelly Clarkson's divorce came as a surprise to her. During the season 2 premiere of The Kelly Clarkson Show on Monday, the 38-year-old host opens up about her split from Brandon Blackstock to a live, virtual audience.

"I'm so glad I can still connect with all of you in my studio because, as you probably know, 2020 has brought a lot of change also to my personal life," she tells the audience, who appear on screens in front of her. "Definitely didn't see anything coming that came."

"What I'm dealing with is hard because it involves more than just my heart, it involves a lot of little hearts. We have four kids," Clarkson continues of River, 6, and Remington, 4, as well as Blackstock's kids from a previous relationship, Savannah and Seth. "Divorce is never easy. We're both from divorced families, so we know the best thing here is to protect our children and their little hearts."

It's for their kids' sake, Clarkson says, that she plans to forego her usual candidness in favor of privacy during this challenging time.

"I'm usually very open and I usually talk about everything, but in this case, I will talk a little bit here and there about how it affects me personally, but probably won't go too far into it because I'm a mama bear and my kids come first," she says. "Although I do love you all."

Despite this tumultuous period in her life, Clarkson assures her audience that she's "OK."

"It's OK because it matters. It was something important," she explains. "I know a lot of you at home unfortunately have probably been through it, either as a kid or just as yourself in your own relationships. I feel you! And it is a bad connection to have with people."

Through all the challenges, though, Clarkson says she turned to music, something she's done since she was a kid.

"When I got upset when I was a kid, I had a problem saying how I felt and my mom told me to start writing and that's actually how I get my feelings out," she says. "I probably won't speak about it too much, but you definitely will hear it musically probably. That's how I became a songwriter. Music's always been my outlet to help me get through difficult times."

Later in the show, Clarkson welcomes on John Legend as a guest and gushes over loving the sexy songs on his latest album, Bigger Love.

"I started this show saying, 'Hey, my personal life is kind of like [mimes explosion],' and so, I'm just saying, if this album can be so great for someone like me who's really wanting some Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morisette right now, it's a great album," she says.

Clarkson filed for divorce from Blackstock in June after nearly seven years of marriage.

"Kelly and Brandon had been having problems for several months and were making a conscious effort to work things out," a source told ET at the time. "They both hoped quarantining away from L.A. in Montana would help them work things out in their marriage, but instead the change in environment was actually detrimental. The constant time together seemed to make an already challenging situation worse."

"Kelly knew she just needed to follow her heart and finally realized divorce was her only option," the source added. "They are both heartbroken, but their plan is to put the kids first. Their focus is on co-parenting and moving forward, as this is the last place they ever thought they would be. They both understand divorce is never easy for children, but Kelly and Brandon are great parents. It'll just take time."