Lauren Alaina's New Songs Are Proof Her Heart Has Healed: 'I Can Officially Say I Am Over Him'

After a broken engagement and another public split, the singer-songwriter is celebrating her new EP and her newfound independence

lauren alaina
Lauren Alaina. Photo: Alysse Gafkjen

As Lauren Alaina herself says, it's obvious she's been on quite a "breakup roll" with her new music. But then she's had lots of inspiration. Last year she endured both a broken engagement and another romantic split.

Still, Alaina also wants it to be known that her new EP, titled Getting Over Him, could just as well be called "Gotten Over Him." The 25-year-old Georgian says she wouldn't have released this collection of breakup songs — four of the six tracks address the subject — if not for the fact that her heart has healed.

"I can officially say I am over him or them or whatever you want it to be," Alaina tells PEOPLE, coyly making sure she doesn't talk specifics about her two exes. "And I get to celebrate it with this music and share that with my fans."

Lauren Alaina
Lauren Alaina's Getting Over Him. Katie Kauss for Universal Music Group Nashville

Her victory has been hard-won. In January 2019, she and her boyfriend of six years, Alex Hopkins, called off their engagement six months after he'd proposed. "We kind of just outgrew one another," Alaina says. "It was a really hard thing to move on from, and it was really painful, but the closure was better there because I think we both knew we needed to split."

By that May, she was involved with Christian comic John Crist, but that relationship was over by September. "I got my heart broken, which was very different, and also still painful, but in a different way," says Alaina.

Just two weeks later, she was leaving Nashville for Los Angeles to compete on Dancing with the Stars, wondering if she could get through it. "It was so hard!" she says now. "It was one of the hardest seasons of my life because so many things had happened, and my emotions were all over the place."

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko on Dancing with the Stars. Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty

But the months of competition soon became a turning point in her healing. "I got to reset," she says. "I was away from my life, which I really dreaded at first ... And then I was so busy. It was almost like I was distracted from it."

Among the distractions: four fractured ribs during the rigorous practices. "Oh, the ribs hurt worse than the heart, for sure," Alaina says with a laugh. "I'm kind of glad I broke those ribs, because I forgot about the broken heart!"

Lauren Alaina
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko.

Happy that she and partner Gleb Savchenko were among the four couples who reached the show's finale, Alaina headed back to Nashville last November eager to put the heartbreak to music — and then put it to rest. In the months during the show, she sat down to write only once, and the result, "What Do You Think Of?," is a poignant ballad that addresses all the painful unknowns after a breakup.

"I was so sad when I wrote it," Alaina reveals.

Initially, she didn't even want it on the EP. "I had a creative meeting, and I said, 'I'm just not ready to put this song on there,'" she recalls. "There was a part of me that was like, I don't want this person to hear this song and think I'm not over it, you know? There was a little bit of a sassy part of me not wanting anyone to think I'm not healed from it, because I am completely healed from that breakup, and I'm so proud of that."

Alaina says she's now glad the song is on the EP. "It makes me really sad to hear it, but it also doesn't make me sad," she says. "It makes me hopeful."

lauren alaina
Lauren Alaina. Alysse Gafkjen

A lot of that hope, she says, comes from putting out music that "can be a source of comfort and healing for other people who may be where I was a year ago."

Alaina explores more breakup emotions on other EP cuts. "If I Was a Beer" is served up with a honky-tonk-ready feistiness ("If I was a beer / I'd be cold, cold, cold / after what you've done"), and "Bar Back" takes an uptempo stand for reclaiming what's hers after a breakup ("You can have any bar that you want / but not this one in midtown / find a new place to hang out").

Intriguingly, the title track, a throbbing duet with Jon Pardi, is really only fleetingly about what "Getting Over Him" suggests. The lyrics reveal Alaina's true fixation: "My last call, first call, no falling, just my 'getting over him' guy."

Alaina confirms there's a real-life inspiration behind the song, but she's otherwise mum. "That's a whole different character in this story who shall not be named, either," she says. "I really don't like to name the people that I write my songs about because I think it keeps it interesting."

Indeed, after enduring two failed romances so publicly, Alaina says she's decided to stop being open about her love life. That hardly means she's giving up on love.

"It's difficult, but it is worth it," she adamantly says about matters of the heart. "In both of those relationships [that ended], there were really beautiful, amazing times that I'm really thankful that I had. And I'm actually thankful for the bad times, too, because look at this music! I'll take it."

lauren alaina
Lauren Alaina. Alysse Gafkjen

Alaina says she still believes "there is a guy out there that is going to be the perfect guy for me."

So consider it a sign if she ever starts naming names again. "I'm going to be 100 percent sure that it's going to work out before I go broadcast anything," she vows. "I've been joking that I'll be pretty much walking down the aisle before I'm going to tell people about him!"

For more from Lauren Alaina on her life now, her new home and her latest EP, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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