Kelly Clarkson Talks Leaving ‘The Voice’ and L.A.: ‘I Thought I Was Making a Horrible Decision’


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Kelly Clarkson needed a reboot, so she did what a lot of people do when they feel like shaking up their lives: she moved. But in her case, the Burleson, Texas-born singer and talk show host who lived and worked in Los Angeles for 20 years pulled up roots and moved as far away as possible and is rebooting her life in New York.


With a new Rockefeller Center space for her eponymous daytime talk show — which kicked off its fifth season on Monday — the divorced mother of two young children is now closer to her extended family in North Carolina and fully into living her best life in the city.

“At this point, I’m 40 years old. Mama rented something nice!” Clarkson told USA Today. “I was like, ‘I’m not living here unless it’s right by the park and really nice for the kids.’” And though Clarkson has been doing all the New York things, including cheering for her Dallas Cowboys as they stomped the N.Y. Giants last month and watching her friend Chelsea Handler do standup at the Beacon Theatre.

And as much fun as she’s having, the singer, 41, told the paper that after finalizing her divorce from ex-husband Brandon Blackstock last year she wasn’t sure the mid-life time zone refresh was a great idea. “I’ll be real honest: I thought I was making a horrible decision,” Clarkson said of her nerves before pulling up stakes. “I knew I needed a fresh start and couldn’t be in LA. I really wanted to be in Montana, but you can’t really do a show from there quite yet. So I was like, ‘The only other option would probably be New York.’”

But after a couple of weeks, she said she realized she “genuinely” loves New York, “and I love that my kids love it,” she said of daughter River Rose, 9, and son Remington, 7. She immediately leaned in on the show, spotlighting some quintessentially N.Y. apartment/hotel door people during a taping last week in her new space, which was formerly home to David Letterman’s late night talk show.

Clarkson also talked about learning how to dial back her over-busy calendar, which included leaving her spot in a red chair on The Voice last spring after exhaustedly grinning and bearing it for the first four years of her talk show. “Full disclosure, I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life,” Clarkson said. “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. I love that family, but I was like, ‘I’m struggling. I can’t smile anymore. I don’t feel like smiling.’”

Now, with the move and season five of the show on the air, Clarkson said she’s in “such a great place,” with her kids, her new home, the show and in her personal life. “I feel like a weight has lifted. That move was very needed,” she said. “I think the thing I’m most excited about with Season 5, on a selfish level, is just showing up to work smiling and actually meaning it. That’s a beautiful gift that you don’t realize until you’re out of it.”

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