Kelly Clarkson Says 'People Could Be Bad for You in a Certain Time' While Reflecting on 2020 Lessons
"Even at 38, I feel like I'm always changing and progressing — in a good sense, in a good way," said the singer, who filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock in June
Kelly Clarkson is speaking about surrounding herself with people on the same page as her, five months after filing for divorce.
On Tuesday, the "Mr. Know It All" singer, 38, reflected on what she learned in 2020 during a segment on her talk show. Clarkson filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock, with whom she shares daughter River Rose, 6, and son Remington Alexander, 4, on June 4. She is also stepmom to Blackstock's children from a previous relationship, Savannah, 19, and Seth, 14.
"Even at 38, I feel like I'm always changing and progressing — in a good sense, in a good way — and I always want to make sure I'm being the best version of myself," said Clarkson. "My mom's been telling me since I was a kid: 'You are who you surround yourself with.' "
"You want to make sure you're surrounded by people that also want to be the best versions of themselves and also want a good common goal for everyone, not just themselves, right?" she continued.
"People could be bad for you in a certain time," the TV host added. "And I think that everybody just goes, 'Oh, well that means they're bad.' Well it doesn't necessarily mean that, it just means that you're on different paths. And I think that that's okay. Everybody's on a different learning curve, and everybody's learning something different at different times."
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In October, Clarkson reflected on the ups and downs of 2020, saying "the past few months have been horribly sad."
"The thing that's been kind of hard to navigate is I am an open book, but at some point I'm a mama bear more than I am a person in the public eye. So I care 100 percent more about my children than I do anything else on this planet," she told Entertainment Tonight at the time.
"So that's been the hard thing of, like, yes, I'm willing to share my experience and, yes, it is the worst," continued Clarkson. "I mean, the past few months have been horribly sad. But at the same time, I have to think, 'Hmmm, like, what I say has a domino effect in other people's lives.' "
The Voice coach further explained how social media and being in the public eye complicates a divorce for the entire family.
"Having kids that run the gamut of 4 to 19 is a really tough thing. And, you know, I've had conversations with one of our eldest about how difficult it is in the public eye when your parents are so ... you know, one of them is so prominent and having to navigate that for them is hard on their hearts," Clarkson said. "I'm just careful also while being real."
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Clarkson went on to say of the split that "nothing's wrong with anybody" and that "it happens, and that's why there's nothing to hide about it in that sense." She said, "You know, it's just, divorce is a really s---ty thing."
A source previously told PEOPLE that Clarkson would make it a point to put her kids first in her divorce from Blackstock, 43. "She had to work through a lot of hurt from her childhood," said the source close to Clarkson, whose emotional 2015 song "Piece by Piece" was written about her father's abandonment and the stability she found in Blackstock.
"Her priority is making sure her children grow up in a stable, loving environment," added the source. "... She's always thought of Seth and Savannah as her own too, and she has a special relationship with both of them. Kelly wants to remain close with her step-kids."