Kelly Clarkson Opened Up About The Moving Family Struggle That She’s Had To Endure

Pop-music icon Kelly Clarkson recently opened up to the world about an adversity faced by her family. She and ex-husband Brandon Blackstock noticed something amiss about their son Remy, who’s four. And the revelation of what was really happening came as a huge surprise to them. “We didn’t know,” Clarkson admitted to People magazine.

Clarkson married talent manager Blackstock back in 2013, and they had two children together: River Rose, born in 2014, and Remington “Remy” Alexander, who arrived in 2016. Their household also included Blackstock’s two kids from a previous relationship, Seth and Savannah, and their blended family unit often appeared together at public events.

Clarkson’s relationship with Blackstock was a whirlwind romance from the moment they saw each other in a different light during Superbowl XLVI in 2012. As Clarkson explained to the Daily Mail that year, “Brandon is my manager’s son. I’ve known him for six years, but he was married for most of that time. Then, suddenly, there he was at the Super Bowl – and he was single…”

ADVERTISEMENT

Blackstock proposed to Clarkson after less than a year of dating and, a few months on, they wed at a Tennessee farm. Fittingly for their relationship, marrying the way they did was a spur of the moment decision. Clarkson subsequently explained why they’d eloped on her chat show, The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Frustratingly, in fact, the details of their planned wedding leaked to the press, and organizing the event became difficult due to their schedules. So, they simply abandoned those arrangements altogether. “We had this big plan, and then we just took our kids and then got married with this person we didn’t even know,” Clarkson explained. “But it was the most amazing thing – under a little barn on a river. It was so beautiful.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson initially rose to fame when she won the first season of American Idol in 2002. She’d previously made an unsuccessful attempt to break into the music business in LA after leaving her home state of Texas following high-school graduation. A pal then informed her about the series and Clarkson auditioned.

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson went on to achieve huge success, with 100 Billboard number-one records and global sales of over 25 million albums. In 2007 American Idol judge and music-business mogul Simon Cowell spoke glowingly to Entertainment Weekly about Clarkson. He said, “She has one of the best pop voices in the world right now,” adding that he expected her career to thrive for decades.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What she sold in the U.K., Europe and Asia had nothing to do with American Idol,” Cowell continued. “It had everything to do with the fact that she made a great record and she’s got an incredible voice. She’s not a girl who got lucky in a talent competition; we got lucky to find her.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Outside of music, Clarkson has also been a mentor on The Voice for four seasons, as well as a talk-show host and children’s book author. Through HarperCollins, she released River Rose and the Magical Lullaby in 2016, followed by River Rose and the Magical Christmas a year later. Each of them came with an original track and was named in honor of her daughter.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition, over the years Clarkson has built up a reputation for being extremely frank about her parenting experiences. For instance, she’s been fiercely honest about her pregnancies, which left her with some negative memories. In a 2016 SiriusXM chat with Jenny McCarthy, she admitted, “It’s horrible. Nothing is beautiful, nothing is magical.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson has also revealed that she fought through constant nausea and dehydration while carrying her second child. And in the course of her earlier pregnancy, she was sick on a daily basis. “Whatever, you’re that person that gets that pregnancy, good for you,” Clarkson continued. “But I will remind my children every day of their lives what I [went through].”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson’s experiences were so difficult, in fact, that she demanded that Blackstock went for a vasectomy. “I was literally pregnant with Remy, and I was like, ‘You are getting fixed. This will never happen to me again. If something happens, it’s a miracle of God.’ I literally told my OB-GYN on the table while open, ‘If I get pregnant again, I will find you!’”

ADVERTISEMENT

Later in 2016 Clarkson spoke in New York at the SHE summit, an event promoting community leadership. This time, she was refreshingly honest about her conflicted feelings on balancing her life as a mother with her thriving career. “I have a lot of mom guilt,” she admitted. “If you’re a mom, you want to be with your kid every day.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“You don’t want to miss a moment,” Clarkson continued. “You want her to need you and want you and not want somebody else. But I think it’s really important not only for my little girl and our 15-year-old girl and our boys to see that a woman is capable of kicking ass while also being a kickass mom.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite wanting to reinforce this confidence in her children about the capabilities of women everywhere, doubts do still creep in to Clarkson’s mind from time to time. “I’m not gonna BS you, that’s hard,” Clarkson said. “There are days when I cry like and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I can handle all this or get it all done!’”

ADVERTISEMENT

Nonetheless, more often than not Clarkson is able to overcome such doubts about her parenting and her status as a role model to her children. “But at the end of the day, 99 percent of the time, it’s awesome and it’s worth it. And that’s what I say to myself,” she explained. “I try to just be a confident female for her – and I believe actions obviously speak louder than words. It’s an old saying, but it’s very true.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Moreover, regarding her ex-husband, Clarkson always believed he’d been attracted to her power. “It’s a turn on that I’m a pretty badass female,” she said. “Boys that I dated before, they got intimidated by it. That’s not fair to me, because I work very hard.” And she feels that this sets a good example for their children.

ADVERTISEMENT

“So I’m glad our boys and also our girls have a man to look [up to], who shows them, ‘This is how to treat a woman. This is how you respect a woman,’” Clarkson continued. She concluded by highlighting that Blackstock makes it a point to go on mock dates with their daughter to personally show her how a man ought to act around women.

ADVERTISEMENT

The topic of Clarkson’s “mom guilt” also came up during a 2017 Facebook Live interview with Hoda Kotb from Today. “When you work, you miss things,” Clarkson said. She then revealed that, at that point, she hadn’t yet heard Remy say “mama,” even though family members excitedly told her he’d said the word at home.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s challenging when you’re a working parent,” Clarkson added. “I don’t want to be one of those pop star moms that doesn’t see their kids. I want to hang out with them and be there. It’s hard to be a really good mom and a really good person at your job.”

ADVERTISEMENT

During another 2017 interview, this time with the Refinery29 website, Clarkson acknowledged that, partly due to her celebrity status, she has a large amount of support in her family life. “Girl, we have a village,” she joked. “No one can do it alone. The kids have grandparents who are awesome, and we both have great assistants.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“And then we have two nannies who help us tremendously, they’re the greatest gifts ever,” Clarkson added. “We have our little village that helps us keep everyone’s head above water and also aren’t afraid to say, ‘Hey, you guys are taking on too much.’” Moreover, having such strong support has helped Clarkson make peace with sharing the parenting load.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the Facebook Live chat, Clarkson addressed this very issue. She said, “I have to release control and just say, ‘I’m not going to be able to be there for everything, and it’s OK, because I’m showing my daughter and my son and our kids that you can do both and achieve great things.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A November 2017 interview with Redbook magazine saw Clarkson address the anxieties she sometimes feels as a parent. “Literally, having children has brought fear to my life,” she admitted. “That sounds horrible, I know, but before kids I was fearless. Now I go to bed and I have nightmares of someone just grabbing my little girl and running.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson went on to explain her bad dreams in more detail. “It’s always about me not being able to protect my kids somehow,” she revealed, touching on a common fear held by many parents across the world. She then shared an anecdote about how protective she sometimes becomes over her children.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m a mama bear,” said Clarkson. “Just recently our nanny told me that an older kid was mean to my daughter at the park and that she just crumbled. I’m glad I wasn’t there, because I wouldn’t have handled that well. I totally went off on that six-year-old in my head!”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson’s mama-bear instincts kicked in again when, in May 2020, she revealed to People how she and Blackstock had noticed there was something wrong with Remy. “He had a speech problem, because he had this ear problem when he was a baby,” said Clarkson. She then went on to explain how the development made them believe Remy may have been deaf.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We didn’t know,” Clarkson revealed. “But way deep down in his ears, he got clogged up with a ton of wax where we thought, almost, he was deaf because he spoke as if he was underwater.” Receiving the diagnosis of a wax build-up subsequently eliminated the possibility of Remy having a serious hearing defect, but it did still affect his development.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We found it was something simple, but it pushed him back almost nine months,” Clarkson revealed. “So, we’ve been working really hard with his speech and he’s still doing his speech therapist via Zoom. The big milestone for us is Remy getting to really find out his own personality and his identity, because it’s been frustrating for him to not be able to really vocalize his emotion.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson went on to praise the progression in Remy’s communication abilities, as well as the positive effect this had on their family life. “It’s a really important thing and it’s very frustrating for them and us because we can’t communicate all the time,” she said. “The fact that he’s making full sentences now and full-on engaging with us is really a blessing.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson’s children have every advantage in life, but she’s admitted to worrying about the perspective they have on their privilege. Indeed, Clarkson spoke about these worries at the SHE Summit in 2016. “That’s my fear with my kids, especially my younger two,” she said. “That they won’t experience some of the hardships that helped mold my husband and I into these very independent beings that can handle quite a bit.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“But I try to show them how to be appreciative and respectful and take them to things where they can see other people that don’t have the benefits that they have right now,” Clarkson continued. Her children’s lives are certainly a far cry from how Clarkson grew up, when she resided in a small apartment with her two siblings and mother. However, Clarkson feels these experiences made her who she is.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Well, to start with, every time I see my mom, I’m just, I’m in awe of how she did it,” Clarkson revealed. “We were so poor – I mean, living paycheck to paycheck – and it was a very hard thing for her. I think it was very good for me to see that, in a sense, because I am really appreciative of what I have and what I work for.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In January 2018 Clarkson again spoke about how bringing up children is no easy task. “They are challenging. Wine is necessary,” she told Television Critics Association reporters. “They’re great, though. Out of the mouths of babes. They say stuff where you’re like, ‘Damn.’ They call you out. They teach me.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“I know it sounds silly, but kids teach you to be a better human,” Clarkson continued. “They’re watching every moment, not only me at home but me sitting here with y’all.” She then added, “I hope with our two boys and our two girls that they see their parents as successful, loving and respectful people, because that’s what we want for them.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In December 2019 Clarkson spoke with Condé Nast Traveler about the realities of being in transit with her children in tow. As a working mom with a hectic schedule, Clarkson admitted that catering for her kids as they jet across the globe isn’t easy. She also felt that she often became consumed about their needs when making her travel plans.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m going to be real with you,” Clarkson promised. “I know there’s a lot of hippy dippy moms out there who don’t approve of iPads, and I think that’s great for them. More power to you. But we definitely have iPads, because at some point travel can be total hell. Not just with kids, but in general.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Clarkson expanded on this idea by explaining, “A flight gets delayed, things happen, weather. Just having something they can escape with, play little games, watch movies on it.” She recognizes that every family handles their children’s time in front of screens differently but maintains that her approach is essential for her family and even for her career.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I wrote a song on my last flight,” Clarkson revealed. “Because my kids were like, ‘We want to watch a movie!’ Flying is my ‘me’ time. We’re in our own worlds.” Interestingly, Clarkson sees such journeys as an opportunity for her to be creative or to address the logistics of the various aspects of her career.

ADVERTISEMENT

“[Do I] like traveling so much? No, it’s not the best, especially with children,” Clarkson explained. “It can be difficult. But you go, ‘Well, at least I have time to read and go over my schedule, or work on the next Voice rounds or write some songs. There’s always stuff to be done. It’s kind of like my office.”

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT