The singer says that at the start of her career, she was told to lose weight to "compete with" women on magazine covers

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated June 17, 2020 11:45 AM

Kelly Clarkson has always been open about her body image and dealing with the pressure to lose weight — but she says that pressure was the worst when she was thin.

Early on in her career, Clarkson was at her slimmest, but not slim enough for some people in the music industry who would show her photos of naked women on magazine covers to motivate her to lose weight, she told Glamour U.K.

“I felt more pressure from people actually when I was thin, when I was really thin and not super healthy because I just was worn out, just working so hard and not keeping healthy habits,” she said in a new interview. “But I felt more pressure. It was more of magazines shoved in front of you and, ‘This is what you're competing with and we've got to compete with it.’ I can't compete with that. That's not even my image. That's not who I am. That's who they are.”

And Clarkson clarified that the women on the covers were “Naked! There would be a chick naked on the cover. I’m not joking, literally naked.”

Kelly Clarkson on American Idol
| Credit: Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/Getty

The Voice coach said, though, that she held her own against industry people who tried to get her to lose weight.

“I fought more when I was thinner than I do now, because now I just walk in and I just look at them like, ‘I dare you to say something. I'm happy in my life. I'll work on me in my time!’ ” she said.

Clarkson said that her biggest career moments have come at her heaviest, after she had her two kids, River, 6, and Remington, 4.

“Honestly, at my heaviest point, I was hired to be on The Voice. I got on the number one television show at my heaviest point, because it was right after I had kids and it was like they didn't care,” she said. “Paul hired me from NBC because he loved my personality, he loved that I connect with people and I'm really raw and real. It had nothing to do with my sex appeal or my look aesthetically. It had to do with me as a person. I think it's really up to artists to force people to have that mentality.”

Clarkson said that weight should not have any bearing on a singer’s abilities, and spoke specifically about the recent focus on Adele’s weight loss.

“I met Adele a long time ago and that girl is like a goddess. I don't care what kind of weight she's holding down; you walk in the room and she's like a force, just physically captivating,” Clarkson said. “If someone wanted to do it [lose weight] for themselves and for their health but that doesn't change how many times I listened to her record.”

Clarkson previously told PEOPLE that her positive body image has kept her from being too bothered by her body shamers.

“Even on American Idol I was really thin, but I was bigger than the other girls on the show, so people would say things to me,” she told PEOPLE in 2017. “But luckily I am superconfident, so I’ve never had a problem with shutting people down and saying, ‘Yeah, you know, that’s just what I’m rocking. It’s fine.’ ”