"It was literally a week after my surgery so I was freaking out," says the star in this week's cover story

By Janine Rubenstein
August 28, 2019 08:30 AM

Kelly Clarkson takes knowing how to grin and bear it to a whole new level!

The star, 37, who will be kicking off her new NBC syndicated talk show on Sept. 9, opened up to PEOPLE in this week’s cover story—and shared that after pulling off the major feat of hosting the Billboard Awards with a burst appendix back in May, she suffered yet another painful health scare, and again on live TV!

At the Billboard Awards, “I just didn’t want to leave people hanging,” she says of how she managed to belt out numerous hits with a smile throughout the live show on May 1.

RELATED: Kelly Clarkson Insisted on Having Time in Her Talk Show Schedule to Take Her Kids to School: ‘Prioritize and Don’t Feel Guilty’

Kelly Clarkson on the Billboard Music Awards in May
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

With her doctors aware of her condition and standing by at the ready, she pushed forward. “I was just thinking about trying to relax,” she says. But in reality, “I was in so much pain!”

After undergoing emergency surgery right after the show, Clarkson healed quickly and was back onscreen just a week later, filming live shows for The Voice. But the superstar singer reveals pain struck again as the cameras rolled.

RELATED: Kelly Clarkson Undergoes Surgery to Remove Her Appendix Hours After Hosting Billboard Music Awards

Blake [Shelton] was talking to me and all of the sudden, everything he said just went away and I had to grab his arm and I was like, ‘Something is wrong.'”

And that something, she later learned, was a cyst bursting on her ovary. “That was more painful than the appendicitis,” she says. “It was literally a week after my surgery so I was freaking out!”

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Kelly Clarkson, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Kelly Clarkson on the cover of PEOPLE
Jim Wright

RELATED: A Moment Like This: Kelly Clarkson Recalls How American Idol ‘Wasn’t Fun’ in the Beginning — but She ‘Wouldn’t Change’ a Thing

After another trip to a busy E.R. (“I was like, ‘Anyone a fan? can someone help me get a hospital room?’”) Clarkson now says all is well. But the random back-to-back health scares did throw her for a loop.

“I was hysterically laughing and crying at one point in the E.R. like ‘What is happening?’” she says. Thankfully, “I’m great now. I’m totally great now.”

For more on Kelly Clarkson’s journey from American Idol winner to the new face of daytime, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

The Kelly Clarkson Show premieres Monday, Sept. 9 in syndication on NBC-owned television stations. For more information visit KellyClarksonShow.com.

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