July 11, 2018 10:00 AM

Kacey Musgraves has been writing more and more love songs, and that’s all thanks to the love of her life, husband Ruston Kelly.

“It was the last thing I’d expected. I wasn’t gonna date,” Musgraves, 29, tells music journalist Holly Gleason in an interview HITS Daily Double about falling in love in 2016.

“I met Ruston at the start of [latest album Golden Hour], and everything changed. People were saying, ‘You even look like a different person. You’re beaming,’ ” said the country star, who wed Kelly in October 2017 after they got engaged on Christmas Eve.

“I’ve never had love songs or relationship songs. I write about other things, other people’s stories or perspectives. When you’re with someone you truly love to the core and they feel that way about you, there’s no sense of panic — or that it’s going to come apart,” Musgraves shared. “I’m living in a much more positive light now. It’s maybe opened my heart a little. If your personal life isn’t crumbling, you can tackle anything with joy and light. I never felt like this. I was always fearful of putting myself too much out there. And I realized maybe I’ve been a little over-[self]protected. Maybe I can let loose a little more, trust more in the songs, what I have at home and out here.”

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Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly
Rick Diamond/Getty

Musgraves, who previously dated her former guitarist Misa Arriaga, also opened up about why she was hesitant to get back into the dating game.

“I lived with this fear [this person] is gonna break up with me all the time, or walking on eggshells. If you stay in it, it wears you down and makes you this thing that you’re not, trying to be what someone tells you is right,” she said. “It leaves you in a shambles, and I feel like for many years I have not really understood what love is. I built walls I didn’t know I was building, and I was in a place I didn’t understand.”

But an unexpected encounter with Kelly was the turning point in her love life.

“I decided to go to the Bluebird one night for a writers’ round, which I never do because it’s so touristy,” she recalled. “I didn’t go with anyone, and I was sitting by myself at a table. Ruston played his first song, and I was just stunned by everything in it—the words, the melody, what he was saying. I was just sitting at this table, crying.”

RELATED: Watch Newlyweds Kacey Musgraves & Ruston Kelly Breathe New Life into Johnny Cash’s 1970 Love Letter

His moving song inspired Musgraves to step out of her comfort zone and take a chance.

“When it was over, I went up and introduced myself. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t really ever do this, but here’s my number; I really wanna write with you.’ That was March 2016. A few months went by, and we were supposed to write on May 11,” she remembered. “I almost canceled. I just didn’t wanna go through trying to write with someone I didn’t really know.”

And their songwriting meeting actually turned into the couple’s unofficial first date.

“The second Ruston walked into my house, I felt like Dorothy when the colorized part happens in The Wizard of Oz,” she said. “We didn’t even write a song. We just talked, and talked, and talked. He didn’t leave until like 3 a.m. It was the easiest, most natural thing in the world — and I didn’t want it to stop.”

And their romance shows no sign of slowing down.

Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly
natalie with nbarrett photography

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In October 2017, Musgraves and Kelly tied the knot in Tennessee. “I married my best friend … barefoot and surrounded by the deepest kind of magic and love that exists. I’ve never felt so tranquil and happy,” she wrote on Instagram.

“We made our promises to each other under the trees and then drank and danced into the night. We couldn’t have done any of it without the help of our wonderful families and amazing friends. The best kind of magic. Best day of my life,” Musgraves added.

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