"The relationship I have with my father is what I always wanted," the singer tells PEOPLE

By Jeff Nelson
October 17, 2018 03:00 PM
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Credit: Michael Schwartz/WireImage

Elle King is opening up about her complicated relationship with dad Rob Schneider.

After a strained past, “now the relationship I have with my father is what I always wanted,” the rocker tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue.

Born Tanner Elle Schneider to the comedian, 54, and model London King, 52, the “Shame” singer grew up in Ohio with her mom and stepdad Justin Tesa.

“My whole childhood, my dad was a workaholic,” says 29-year-old King, who once even had a small role in his 1999 movie Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.

Elle King at home
| Credit: Chloe Aftel

But the singer recently reconnected with her father after a difficult year in which she left a “destructive” marriage and struggled with substance abuse, depression and PTSD in the aftermath of a breakup.

The reason they got close? Her half-sisters, Miranda, 5½, and Madeline, 2.

“We both have grown up a lot. And you realize what’s important,” she says. “Him having children — I wanted my sisters to have good memories of me from their childhood when they grew. Family really is so important. So through that, me just kind of showing up and trying to be good for them, really made it easy because there were no bad motives. When it’s about the kids, the bulls— kind of goes away. I love him.”

These days, King says, her father is her No. 1 fan as she prepares for the release of her sophomore album Shake the Spirit (out Friday).

“Honestly, he’s probably my biggest supporter,” King says. “Like, every other day I’ll get texts in all caps of like, ‘Your record’s gonna change the world! I can’t wait for your fans to hear what you’ve made! I love you! I’m so proud of you!’ And that’s a beautiful, wonderful thing.”

For more on Elle King, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

Furthermore, King has a new perspective on the pressures of life in the spotlight since she skyrocketed to fame in 2015 with her breakout single “Ex’s & Oh’s.”

“This business is hard. It’s hard to find any balance in it. My dad just put everything into him — his success and trying to be successful,” she says. “And I’m a lot like that. So my work, work has always come first. But my family life is where I want it to be.”