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“I was married before, and it was a huge wedding and everything was very public. So was my divorce,” says Miranda Lambert, getting candid in this week's issue

By Janine Rubenstein
October 30, 2019 08:00 AM
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Miranda Lambert is happy, in love and ready to set the record straight.

The Grammy-winning country superstar, who’s set to release her seventh studio album Wildcard on Nov. 1, gets candid with PEOPLE in this week’s issue, revealing details of her secret wedding to N.Y.P.D. officer Brendan McLoughlin and how they’re making marriage work on the road and in the spotlight.

“I feel like I’ve been through enough in my life to know what I don’t want, so when I know what I do want I snatch it right up,” says Lambert, 35, of falling fast and hard for McLoughlin, 28, after meeting the handsome officer outside of Good Morning America last November, while visiting the show to promote new music with her band the Pistol Annies.

Asked if it was love at first sight she says, “I guess so. If that’s a thing,” before joking, “I have eight dogs and had love at first sight with them, too. Must be easier than I thought!”

miranda lambert
Miranda Lambert
| Credit: Mei Tao

Three months after meeting McLoughlin, Lambert took to social media to reveal that the two had tied the knot in secret on Jan. 26, at a farm just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. As for why they chose to keep their happy day under wraps, Lambert says that after the scrutiny her love life has received over the years, that decision was a no-brainer.

“I was married before, and it was a huge wedding and everything was very public. So was my divorce,” Lambert says of her previous marriage to Blake Shelton, which lasted from 2011-2015. “I learned then that it’s not for everybody else. This is my actual life. With Brendan, I made it a point to keep it as private as I could for as long as I could.”

Miranda Lambert Wedding
Miranda Lambert and Brendan McLoughlin on their wedding day
| Credit: Courtesy Miranda Lambert

She remains mum on most of the details of her big day, but does reveal that it was even more private than people thought. Asked whether her close friends and Pistol sisters (who were actually the ones to set her up with McLoughlin) served as bridesmaids she says matter-of-factly, “I didn’t have nobody. That was mine and his moment.”

Of course, the pair weren’t able to fly under the radar for too long, but she says they’re doing just fine being in the spotlight, even if that’s not her favorite place to be.

“I’m literally so normal,” she says, describing her love of making Target runs in a t-shirt and cutoff shorts. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘Why are y’all so interested?’ I’m thankful, but I’m never going to get used to the public eye in that way.”

miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert
| Credit: Mei Tao

As for her husband, “To pull him into that world, I was like, ‘I’m sorry, this might be a shock,’” she says of how she reassured McLoughlin, whose personal life, including the fact that he’s father to a baby boy and had ended a previous engagement before meeting Lambert, made news as well. “He just takes it like a champ,” she says. “He’s better at it than I am.”

Miranda Lambert and Brendan McLoughlin
Brendan McLoughlin and Miranda Lambert
| Credit: Miranda Lambert/Instagram

And now with him on leave from the force and joining her out on the road as she prepares to release her decidedly upbeat new album, the pair are just focused on one another.

Says Lambert, “I’m really happy.”

miranda Lambert wildcard (2019)
Miranda Lambert‘s Wildcard

Lambert’s new album

Wildcardwill be available Nov. 1 on all streaming services. For more on Miranda Lambert’s new music and happy newlywed life, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.