Kelly Clarkson and Ex-Husband Brandon Blackstock Settle Commissions Case: A Timeline of Their Split

Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock's contentious legal battle has reached a resolution.

Though they finalized their divorce in March 2022, the couple -- who share 9-year-old daughter River Rose and 8-year-old son Remington Alexander -- have remained in court over the dissolution of their professional relationship, as Blackstock served as Clarkson's manager over the course of their relationship.

Clarkson won a legal victory in November 2023, when a California labor commissioner ruled that Blackstock overstepped his role as when securing various lucrative gigs and deals for Clarkson. As a result, Blackstock was ordered to hand over commissions totaling $2,641,374 to his former wife -- he subsequently filed a complaint seeking to appeal the decision.

A judge scheduled a trial for the former couple for August 2024, however, in May 2024, both parties filed a request to dismiss the case. Clarkson's attorney, Ed F. McPherson, confirmed the news to ET, announcing that, "The case has been settled in its entirety. It is a confidential settlement."

As the two continue to disentangle their lives, ET is taking a look back at their eight-year relationship and marriage.

The Beginning

The pair first met at the Country Music Awards in 2006, when Clarkson was performing a duet with Rascal Flatts. Blackstock, son of her former manager Narvel Blackstock (and former stepson of Reba McEntire), was the group's manager at the time -- and he was also married to Ashworth.

"We met years ago when I was working with Rascal Flatts," Clarkson told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS FM radio show in October 2012. "I didn't really know he was [my manager's] son and it was kind of weird. I was like 'Dude, I gotta know that guy.' We were just in a room together, and then he came up and said he was from the same hometown as me and I was like, 'Oh, we're so getting married,' I was so that girl. When he became single, I was on the prowl."

Reuniting Years Later

After Blackstock divorced Ashworth, his and Clarkson's fateful reunion came at the Super Bowl in 2012, where Clarkson was performing the national anthem and Blake Shelton, whom Blackstock manages, was singing "America the Beautiful." They then began dating.

"This isn't a downer to anybody I dated before him, but I'm just going to be real: I never felt like, honesty, sexually attracted to anybody before him," Clarkson said of Blackstock during a show in 2017. "And I'm not downing my exes. You know, everybody's different. But there was something about him."

"I honestly thought I was asexual -- I'd never been turned on like that in my whole life," she continued. "I was like, 'Oh that's that feeling... OK! That's what they were talking about in Waiting to Exhale.' I just got it. I just didn't have a clue."

Engaged

With Clarkson smitten with Blackstock, the two got engaged in December 2012. The original American Idol winner showed off her stunning yellow diamond engagement ring to her fans, writing, "I'M ENGAGED!!!!! I wanted y’all to know!! Happiest night of my life last night! I am so lucky and am with the greatest man ever."

Kelly Clarkson engagement ring
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Wedding Day

The two tied the knot on Oct. 20, 2013, at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, and Clarkson shared a gorgeous wedding video and photos with her fans.

"I'm officially Mrs. Blackstock :)" she gushed. "We got married yesterday at Blackberry Farms in TN, the most beautiful place ever!"

She also became a stepmother, as Blackstock was a father to an older daughter and son from his previous marriage to Melissa Ashworth.

It's a Girl!

Clarkson shared that she was expecting her first child in November 2013. The "Since U Been Gone" songstress then announced the birth of her bundle of joy with Blackstock, a baby girl they named River Rose, on Twitter on June 14, 2014.

"Thank you everyone for all of your well wishes! Brandon and I are on cloud 9!! :)" she added.

Baby No. 2!

During an August 2015 concert in Los Angeles, Clarkson revealed that she was pregnant with her second baby. Breaking down in tears while singing "Piece by Piece," she opened up to the audience about how she felt lucky to have a loving, supportive husband.

"Not everybody is born with a great dad or a great role model," she said, before praising Blackstock. "I married such a great lover."

"I was not planning on announcing this. I'm totally pregnant again," Clarkson then revealed.

Clarkson became a mother of two on April 12, confirming the news herself later in the week.

"Our little baby boy has arrived!! Remington Alexander Blackstock was born 4/12/16 & he is healthy & we couldn't be happier or more in love!" Clarkson tweeted.

Feeling the Love

During an interview with ET in September 2017, while promoting her album Meaning of Life, Clarkson said that her hubby inspired her new music and makes her feel confident.

"He makes me feel so sexy," she confessed. "I already am a confident woman -- I don't think that's a secret. But I love being with somebody who is unafraid of making you feel sexy."

"I always make fun of him, like, 'Why are you touching my behind in public?'" she explained. "He'll like, goose me or something, somewhere, and I'm like, 'What are you doing?!' But I really like it."

Busy Schedules...

In October 2017, Clarkson admitted to ET that their busy schedules have gotten in the way of them spending time together.

"We have forgotten two out of four of our anniversaries," she shared. "But the great thing about us is we collectively do it. It's not like one of us forgets and one of us remembers. We both epically fail. We're always very busy. The only times we've remembered our anniversary is when we had [it] off. If we're working, we forget what day it is."

...But Healthy Sex Life

In a 2017 interview with Redbook, Clarkson said she and Blackstock are "a lot more active than other couples."

"I’m a person who loves change. He loves spontaneity. Having a set time or place [to have sex] would be boring to us," she told the magazine. "When I met Brandon, I wasn’t looking for a friend. I have a lot of great friends! I was looking for a lover...I had never found someone I was truly passionate about, who I wanted to stay in bed with all day. The fact that I did, well... I was going to latch on and take advantage of that."

Last December, Clarkson got candid about her and her husband's sex life during her talk show. During an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Voice singer Brynn Cartelli asked her what she does before bed each night, and Clarkson was as candid as ever.

"Well, Brynn, I was single for many years, so," she replied with a laugh. "I have children, and how one makes children is generally what I do before bed -- that's not a lie."

Birthday Love

All seemed to be going great for the happy couple in April 2020 when Clarkson tweeted that she bawled over a sweet birthday video Blackstock filmed for her.

"Happy birthday, baby," Blackstock says in the video. "I love you more than you'll ever know."

Even just weeks before news of their split went public, Clarkson referred to her husband as her "partner in crime" when speaking with ET about how the couple were spending their time in quarantine.

"My husband is now a lighting technician and audio visual technician. He's a director, and he's also playing cowboy on our ranch. He's got his hands full. We both definitely have our hands full," she told ET. "Brandon and I are hustling, definitely, around the ranch, trying to make it happen. And I 100 percent, none of this would be happening without my partner in crime."

Divorce

ET confirmed that the singer filed for divorce on June 4, 2020 with Clarkson citing irreconcilable differences in her divorce filing. According to court documents obtained by ET, she listed the separation date as "TBD" and asked for joint legal and physical custody of River and Remington.

Clarkson also asked the court to terminate the ability to award spousal support to Blackstock, asked the court to enforce their premarital agreement and requested that both parties cover their own attorney's fees.

What Went Wrong?

A source at the time told ET that the couple "decided to call it quits after realizing the relationship hasn’t been working for a while."

"Kelly and Brandon work together non-stop, and that became a contention in their relationship. Brandon is the EP of her show as well as her manager. Also, Kelly has always brought up wanting more children, which Brandon doesn't," the source added.

Another source close to Clarkson's show production told ET that many on staff were "in the dark" about her divorce. "Everyone loves Brandon," the source said. "He's an integral part of the show. Everything is run by him and he's a hands-on decision maker, not just Kelly's husband-manager."

Following their split, Blackstock also departed his role as an executive producer of The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Called Out

Since the split, Clarkson has taken several sly shots at her ex in song.

In July 2023, she revised the lyrics while covering Gayle's "ABCDEFU," singing, "F**k you and your dad and the fact that you got half / And my broken heart, turn that s**t into art / F**k you, and your view from the valley I bought too / Everybody but your dogs, you can all f**k off!"

The following month., Clarkson debuted new lyrics to her own hit, "Piece By Piece," which was originally written as a tribute to Blackstock for being the opposite of her own deadbeat father.

"This song I initially wrote just super hopeful, right? And well, sometimes hopeful turns into hopeless, so here we go, ‘Piece by Piece,'" Clarkson told the crowd at her Las Vegas residency before singing the anthem.

In the original song, she sings, "But piece by piece, he collected me up / Off the ground, where you abandoned things, yeah / Piece by piece, he filled the holes that you burned in me / At six years old."

But in the new version, Clarkson changes many of the "he" lyrics to "I."

And instead of singing, “He never walks away / He never asks for money / He takes care of me / He loves me,” Clarkson now sings, “I just walk away / when they ask for money / I take care of me / ’cause I love me.”

She also seemingly makes a pointed reference to Blackstock as a father, tweaking the lyrics to read, "I will never leave them like you left me / They never have to wonder their worth because unlike you, I'm gonna put them first / I never walk away. I never break their hearts / I take care of things when you leave scars / Piece by pieces I restored my faith that a heart can still beat even when it breaks."

Staying Friendly for the Kids

Just a few months after their divorce, Clarkson revealed that she and Blackstock had taken a trip to their Montana ranch together, as a summer vacation for their young kids.

"It’s obviously been a rough couple years so it was really important to me to, like, shut down for a minute," Clarkson said during an appearance on the Today show, noting how lucky she was to have the opportunity to take a summer off work. "I literally four-wheeled in the mountains, and I have a lot of water on my property so my sister, my nephew and I, and a couple friends just spent the whole summer in the mountains, just hanging out in nature."

"The kids were with me and with their dad," Clarkson added. "It was nice because they usually have to travel a lot because of our separation, so we were both in Montana, so it was the first time I think my kids felt more centered as well."

Settling Up

The couple's divorce was officially finalized in March 2022, with Clarkson securing the highly contested Montana ranch in the settlement. She also retained ownership of the family pets, several cars including a Ford Bronco, a Ford F-250, and a Porsche Cayenne, as well as an unexpected possession -- a flight simulator.

However, as part of the divorce agreement, Clarkson was ordered to pay Blackstock $1.3 million and contribute $45,000 per month in child support for their two children. Additionally, Blackstock was granted $115,000 per month in spousal support, set to conclude in January 2024.

A source told ET at the time that Clarkson was more than ready to move on with her life.

"Kelly is thankful for her relationship with Brandon, she learned a lot about herself and had two perfect kids," the source shared. "Kelly is looking forward to moving on and successfully co-parenting with Brandon."

Relocation

In early 2023, Clarkson announced that she would be relocating her family and eponymous talk show to New York City from Los Angeles. Months later, she told ET that it was exactly the change that her and her kids needed.

"We have more of a life," she shared. "This is what my goal was, for us to actually engage outside our house. And you have to in New York."

Clarkson's talk show now films in the legendary Rockefeller Center, alongside mainstays like the Today show and Saturday Night Live.

"I think the energy of the people ... we're finishing 30 minutes early every day at the show," she marveled. "We're just so on top of it and life is good."

The move also forced Clarkson to step away from The Voice, which she told USA Today felt like the right decision, as she needed to make some changes in her life.

"Full disclosure, I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life," Clarkson said of the past four years. "I've learned a lot about what I'm capable of handling, and also what you should not handle. That was me saying 'bye' to The Voice and having this big move."

Clarkson served as a coach on The Voice from season 14 through season 21, returning for Blake Shelton's final season in season 23.

"I love that family, but I was like, 'I'm struggling. I can't smile anymore. I don't feel like smiling,'" Clarkson admitted.

Moving On

In June 2023, Clarkson said she was feeling much more optimistic about her life and relationships -- an energy she credits to therapy and taking antidepressants during the worst of her breakup.

"I am gonna be very honest right now and I have not owned this ever... I looked at my therapist and I just couldn't stop sobbing, and I was like, 'I actually had to cancel something the other day because I couldn't stop crying. I cannot do this,'" Clarkson shared on the Las Culturistas podcast. "It was one of those things where I really had to put my pride aside and like all my childhood issues of whatever. I was on Lexapro for like, I think two months."

She continued, "My thing was, I just can't smile anymore for America right now – I'm not happy and I need help, and it was one of the best lessons, because she kept trying to convince me, 'Girl, you're doing a lot,' and having to balance a lot and trying to put my best foot forward in front of my kids, I was like, 'I can't do it.'"

"It was, honest to God, the greatest decision ever. I wouldn't have made it [without]. And then by the time you wean off of it, it's like 'OK, I handled what I couldn't handle then, and now I have time and space.'"

Clarkson dropped her 10th studio album, Chemistry, in June 2023, with many of the songs seeming to reference her relationship with -- and split from -- Blackstock.

As for her romantic future, Clarkson got candid with her former Voice co-star, Carson Daly, during an appearance on the Today show in that same month.

"I'm not that way at all," she said. "I'm not in a bitter place. I love love. I know I have a song on the album called 'I Hate Love.' It's a moment. I wrote about it. Whatever. But, I love love."

"I'm not closed off, but I'm just not looking at all either," she added.

Evening the Score

In November 2023, Clarkson won a legal victory, when a California labor commissioner ruled that Blackstock overstepped his role as a manager when securing various lucrative gigs and deals for Clarkson.

Legal documents obtained by ET revealed that Blackstock went beyond the bounds of his position by booking gigs and finalizing contracts for the star on platforms such as The Voice, Norwegian Cruise Line, Wayfair, and as the host of the Billboard Music Awards.

The commissioner's decision indicated that, with few exceptions, only agents are permitted to lawfully secure such roles for talent. As a result, Blackstock was been ordered to hand over commissions totaling $2,641,374 to his former wife.

Continuing the Fight

After being ordered to pay back the $2.6 million to Clarkson, Blackstock subsequently filed an appeal to the order. Clarkson argued that, in order to appeal, Blackstock should be obligated to place a bond of twice the amount -- so $5.2 million -- before the appeal is heard.

In March, 2024, Blackstock's legal team filed a complaint denying that Clarkson "has been damaged in the sum alleged or in any other sum" at all. Clarkson filed a cross-complaint arguing against the claims made by Blackstock, seeking to have the court uphold the decision made in November.

Clarkson's lawyer, Ed McPherson, released a statement to ET about the latest legal development, sharing, "The California Labor Commissioner awarded Ms. Clarkson $2.6 Million. We want to make sure that the Superior Court affirms that amount (and more)."

Reaching a Settlement

After some legal back and forth -- with Clarkson claiming that Blackstock was never licensed to work as a talent agent-- a judge scheduled a trial for the former couple for August 2024, however, in May 2024, both Clarkson and Blackstock's company, Starstruck Management Group, filed a request to dismiss the case.

Clarkson's attorney, Ed F. McPherson, confirmed the news to ET, announcing that, "The case has been settled in its entirety. It is a confidential settlement."

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