Kelly Clarkson Thought Leaving ‘The Voice’ was a ‘Horrible Decision,’ But She Wanted to Smile Again

Leaving The Voice after coaching hopeful new artists for nine seasons wasn’t easy for Kelly Clarkson. In fact, during a recent interview with USA Today, the singer admitted that she thought it was a “horrible decision.” But bouts of personal struggles that arose during her time on the show meant that she was often putting on a front for the cameras, and that was worse than making the hard decision to move on.

“Full disclosure, I put on a smile a lot of those times because I was struggling a lot in my personal life,” Clarkson shared, detailing the last 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.”

With her focus set on the wellbeing of herself and her two children — 9-year-old River Rose and 7-year-old Remy — Clarkson relocated to New York. But that wasn’t her first choice either. “I knew I needed a fresh start and couldn’t be in L.A. I really wanted to be in Montana, but you can’t really do a show from there quite yet,” she explained, referring to her daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show. “So I was like, ‘The only other option would probably be New York.’”

Clarkson completed her final season of The Voice earlier this year alongside Niall Horan, Chance the Rapper, and Blake Shelton, who also exited the show after 23 seasons. She joined during season 14 and coached every year apart from 2022. Throughout her time on the show, she worked alongside the likes of Ariana Grande, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, and more.

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“I love that family,” she explained. “But I was like, ‘I’m struggling. I can’t smile anymore. I don’t feel like smiling.”

Heading into the fifth season of The Kelly Clarkson Show, she continued, “I feel like a weight has lifted. That move was very needed. 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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